There's a new eSports league coming, and it's ready to kick some digital soccer balls. With 19 US teams ready for competition, Major League Soccer announced today that it will be launching eMLS, a new league made for competitive play with EA Sports' FIFA 18. Boasting the best FIFA players from throughout the U.S. and Canada, the league will debut this spring at PAX East, which takes place from April 5-8.
Todd Sitrin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Competitive Gaming Division at EA, said that the company was "honored" to partner with MLS in their efforts to promote both competitive gaming and soccer in North America. "We engage millions of soccer fans daily through FIFA and attract many more who view our competitions around the world. With the eMLS we accelerate our growth as players compete on the road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018."
Gary Stephenson, President and Managing Director of MLS Business Ventures, called the league a "step forward" into competitive gaming for the MLS. "This step forward ... is a key component in our partnership with EA SPORTS to promote deeper engagement and connections between MLS supporters and the millions of FIFA players around the world, said Stephenson.
The program will launch with a total of 19 teams, including: New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Minnesota United FC, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The eMLS cup will take place during the league's debut weekend, giving teams a shot at instant entry into the Global Series Playoffs, which are set for August of this year.
FIFA '18 is available now for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Android, and PC.