We’ve all had the dream of representing our club, smashing in that last-minute winner to pick up three massive Premier League points. Well, thanks to the ePremier League, this has become a reality for football fans up and down the UK.
Over the past few months, qualifiers have been held at all 20 Premier League clubs, as they look to find two FIFA 19 representatives, one on PlayStation 4 and one on Xbox One, to compete at the ePremier League finals. The tournament takes place on the 28th and 29th of March at the Gfinity Arena in London as we look to find the ePL’s best FIFA 19 player.
The two representatives for Brighton & Hove Albion are as big fans of the club as you can get, with both Dan Hilliard and Ryan Caister season ticket holders for the Seagulls. RealSport sat down with the pair ahead of the ePL finals this week.
Pulling on the jersey
Brighton’s PS4 champ Dan Hilliard said: “It means literally everything to represent Brighton in the ePremier League. I have followed the club from a young age and now to represent them in any way is a blessing, let alone something I’m passionate about like gaming.
“I’ve had a season ticket for four or five years and I have been going to matches for the last 10 years. Unfortunately, no Brighton players will be in my starting 11 for the ePL but a couple will certainly make an appearance on the bench for sure.”
Xbox One man Ryan Caister added: “As I have supported Brighton my entire life it is exciting to represent the Seagulls in the first ever ePremier League. I have had a season ticket for the past three seasons, but I’ve been going to 15+ games a season since 2005 when we were relegated to League One!”
Against the odds
The pair are not renowned FIFA 19 players by any stretch of the imagination, but the platform supplied by the ePremier League has allowed them break into the top tier of FIFA players in the country.
Dan said: “I’ve been playing FIFA for as long as I can remember, and I think my first copy was 99 on the PlayStation 1. I’ve been following the competitive scene for a while and thought I’d just give it a go.”
Ryan spoke of the competition expected at the ePL finals: “During the Brighton playoffs, there were players who have qualified for FIFA Global Series events this year, so the competition was super tough. The player I beat in the final, George Baconn, is ranked 151 in the Global Series rankings.”
Of course, the ePremier League is the first tournament of its kind. With recognised FIFA esports professionals going up against new-name dark horses, no one knows what to expect. The group stages have been drawn, and soon all the focus will be on the Gfinity Arena.
“It’s hard to pick a certain player as a favourite, as everyone has done fantastic to get this far. Obviously, F2Tekkz, the number one ranked player in the world, will be the favourite with the year he’s had,” said Dan, who meets the professional Damie Augustyniak of Crystal Palace in the group stage.
Ryan had the last say on what the ePremier League has added to the FIFA competitive landscape: “With every successful event, more players, sponsors and media will want to get involved in the FIFA competitive scene. The more they can get involved, the more FIFA esports can grow, and be lifted into the mainstream.”
The ePremier League runs this Thursday and Friday, the 28-29 March from the Gfinity Arena in London and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League. To find out more about the ePL head to premierleague.com/epl.