Florida Southern esports is making its return this year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As all other on campus activities on campus have been cancelled, gaming at FSC is taking off running for its third year.
The esports program was founded in 2017 and has four varsity teams: Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League and Hearthstone. FSC became the first college in Florida to have an official varsity esports team.
All teams this year are composed of both remote and on-campus learners. Due to the sport’s presence in the online world, they are able to operate under mostly normal circumstances.
The program was set to have a record season last semester, with both the Rocket League and League of Legends teams having successful runs in their respective tournaments. The League of Legends and Overwatch spring 2020 seasons were cut short due to the pandemic.
Typically, all esports endeavors are conducted in the arena on campus. This year, the Snake Pit has become the new and improved esports arena. The arena will be the home of all future esports related events once campus activity returns to normal. For now, only a limited number of students are allowed entry at a time and only set materials are provided.
This year the teams are optimistic they’ll have an amazing season despite the challenges facing them. Caelus McKeel, a senior at FSC and varsity player on the Overwatch team, is confident that they’ve got a strong group for this season.
“We have an amazing coach backing us as we enter this season’s tournaments and are putting in effort every day to grow as individuals and as a team,” McKeel said.
The coach of the League of Legends team is the program’s head, esports director, and alumni Nate Carson, who has been with the program since 2017. This year, the Overwatch team has gained a new coach who hopes to take them to the next level.
“Rek” is the newest addition to FSC’s esports team, and an experienced coach and player in the gaming scene. With over 10 years of coaching experience for both League of Legends and Overwatch, he’s ready to help the school bring home some wins for the teams this year. Rek is very passionate about growing interest in the sport and helping to mentor the next generation of professional players.
“Being able to shape the future on a bigger scale for esports growth has always been a hope and dream. Fostering growth is essential for the industry and having a large, competitive talent pool available only improves the chances of those wanting to break into the esports scene,” Rek said.
To kick off the new season, the program recently hosted tryouts for Rocket League and Overwatch, with some still ongoing. With esports rising in popularity, FSC is eager to improve its program and welcome new students looking for an opportunity to play on a varsity team.
“Go hit up your club and esports team for your game right now and get friendly. At the very least, getting noticed and being a part of the team will allow you not only to learn your respective game, but build up all of your team-related skills that will help you in the long run.”
The team and clubs are always looking for new members, and even support from fellow students that aren’t players is always appreciated.
“It means the world to us when people watch our games on Twitch,” McKeel said. “Following our social media accounts can help the student body have a greater understanding of what esports on our campus is and the sort of programs we offer for anyone, casual or competitive.”
Tournaments for all teams are available to watch at twitch.tv/floridasoutherncollege, and to keep up with the latest news and events, follow the team at @MocsEsports on Twitter and Instagram.