Australian football club Melbourne City FC has announced the signing of their first esports player, FIFA player Marcus Gomes.
Gomes is also the first player to be signed by an A-league team, Australia’s top flight football competition.
Marcus will head to London for the FIFA Interactive World Cup Final from August 16-18, with the 20-year old representing Melbourne FC at the competition. Marcus is one of the world’s best players, rated as one of the world’s top 32 players.
Gomes is the third FIFA player picked up to City Football Group, a holdings company that owns Manchester City FC and New York City FC. Both of these teams also have their own FIFA players on the roster.
Melbourne City FC CEO Scott Munn said in a statement: “We know that many of our younger fans are playing esports regularly, and interest in the industry is growing in Australia and globally. With 16 million people playing FIFA worldwide, and the competitive FIFA scene taking shape, it is the right time for Melbourne City to move into esports.”
Talking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Gomes said: “I started playing FIFA 2006 when I was nine, and I never could have imagined that the game would be where it is today, or that I would be signing a professional esports contract with a club like Melbourne City. I have followed City for the last few years and I am really looking forward to wearing the City blue shirt at this year’s tournaments.”
It’s unlikely we’ll see Melbourne City FC move further into esports, as the charter for the City Football Group’s official charter only allows members to participate in soccer-related activities, so unless their team are planning to all play with Striker Lucian skins in League of Legends, they are limited to Football related esports. Whether or not this means we’ll see them pick up a PES player remains uncertain, as the scene is comparatively smaller than EA’s game of foot-to-ball.