HARRISON, N.J. – The Red Bulls have signed Mike LaBelle as the club’s first eSports player, the Major League Soccer team announced Sunday.
LaBelle will represent the Red Bulls in the recently announced EA Sports FIFA 18 gaming league, eMLS, and in FIFA tournaments around the world.
LaBelle, also a Red Bull athlete, is one of the premier content creators in the eSports space. He has more 70,000 followers on Twitch and 285,000 on YouTube, and is a top-ranked player worldwide on both Xbox and Playstation. LaBelle is known for his game tutorials where he shares his tips for FIFA success with fans. He will be creating team-specific content for Red Bulls fans.
“We are excited to have Mike, one of the biggest personalities in eSports, join our team,” Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre said in a statement. “Mike’s experience and reputation in the eSports world make him the ideal choice to lead our club into this new space. We look forward to him representing the Red Bulls in eMLS competitions.”
LaBelle, a Houston native, played college soccer at McMurry University and is a graduate of Texas A&M University. He has won seven national titles in EA Sports FIFA and represented the United States at the FIFA Interactive World Cup and World Cyber Games, among others.
“I couldn’t be happier to join the New York Red Bulls organization and represent the club in eMLS,” LaBelle said. “When I started my competitive FIFA career, these opportunities in eSports, content creation, and social media did not exist yet. I have always taken pride in being at the forefront of the eSports community and can’t wait to get started in eMLS.”
MLS launched eMLS, a new competitive league for EA Sports FIFA 18 Friday. Nineteen MLS teams will participate, with each team selecting a FIFA player to represent them in competition.
The first eMLS Cup will take place at PAX East in Boston in April. The winner will get an automatic berth in the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Playoff and a chance to become the FIFA 18 World Champion at the FIFA eWorld Cup 18 in August. Labelle has already appeared at the eWorld Cup, previously known as the FIFA Interactive World Cup, winning the North American regional multiple times.