FC Cincinnati will be one of 22 league teams that have committed to compete in the 2019 newly expanded eMLS season, which Major League Soccer launched in conjunction with EA Sports in 2018.
As FCC enters eMLS, it will do so with one of the world’s top FIFA players – Oxford, Ohio product Gordon Thornsberry, 21 – as the club’s first eMLS signing.
Thornsberry, who will use the gaming handle “FCCFiddle” while competing for FC Cincinnati, formerly represented Paris St. Germain on its esports platforms and has signed with Cincinnati on a free transfer. He formerly played as “PSGFiddle.” Thornsberry finished one win shy of the Grand Final at the 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup, and was the second-highest finishing American in the entire 2018 FIFA Global Series and eWorld Cup tournament.
Fiddle was the 2018 Gfinity North American Champion and the 2017 Coca-Cola eCopa USA Champion. He qualified for all three of the 2018 Global Series playoff events last year: Barcelona, Manchester and Amsterdam.
“I grew up here in the greater Cincinnati area, so I couldn’t be any prouder to represent FC Cincinnati as we’re joining MLS and eMLS,” Thornsberry said. “I’ve been playing FIFA now for about nine years, competitively for about two years and have just joined Cincinnati from PSG. I’m excited to represent the team, especially in eMLS against the other 22 clubs and be part of the growth of the club.”
FC Cincinnati enters eMLS as the second-year league continues its rapid growth and expansion. FCC is one of three new teams to join the fold this year, entering with D.C. United and Atlanta United FC, bring the total number of participating MLS sides to 22 of league’s 24 club in 2019.
“We’re so excited to not only come into MLS in 2019, but also jump right into eMLS competition in our first year, as well,” FC Cincinnati Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Products Amir Shemony said. “The power and influence that FIFA gaming has in growing MLS and its clubs’ profiles is amazing, and it’s a really immersive, engaging way to get into the league.
“We’re also thrilled to welcome Gordon to FC Cincinnati. Much like the first-team players we’re building our roster around, he has experience at the highest levels and has competed in the world’s biggest FIFA competitions. That fact that he’s a Cincinnati-area native and one of the world’s top FIFA players made signing him as our first eMLS player a no brainer,” Shemony said.
In addition to eMLS’ two anchor events in eMLS Cup and the eMLS All-Star Challenge, the 2019 eMLS League Series will be introduced this year, adding two more standalone events to the eMLS calendar.
League Series One will be hosted by the LA Galaxy in January, while League Series Two will be hosted by FC Dallas in February. Each of these eMLS League Series events will include participation from all eMLS professional FIFA players and will result in their own distinct prizing opportunities. eMLS player performance across the two eMLS League Series events will determine seeding for the 2019 eMLS Cup presented by PlayStation.
eMLS is an Official League Partner of the EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series and eMLS players competing in eMLS Cup will receive points for the EA SPORTS Global Series Playoffs.
MLS announced eMLS, its competitive gaming platform, in January 2018. eMLS activates via competitive events linked to the EA SPORTS Global Series Playoffs, crossover events in tandem with MLS Big Events (e.g., MLS All-Star Game and Rivalry Week), and content tailored for the casual FIFA fan. The 2018 eMLS Cup presented by PlayStation was held in April at PAX East, one of the nation’s largest gaming conventions.
In 2018, MLS had six competitors qualify for the Global Series Playoffs (behind only the Virtuelle Bundesliga, who had seven players qualify), with Sporting Kansas City’s competitor advancing to the FIFA eWorld Cup.
Last August, the eMLS All-Star Challenge presented by Wells Fargo featured a 2-v-2 tournament with celebrities like Landon Donovan and Waka Flocka. The event won the inaugural Tempest Award for “Best New Event Stream” at the Esports Business Summit in Las Vegas in October.
For more information on eMLS, eMLS League Series and eMLS Cup, visit www.MLSsoccer.com/eMLS.
The next time Cincinnati takes the field, it will be as MLS’ 24th team in 2019 when the club debuts in the top professional league in the U.S. and Canada. Season tickets for the 2019 season are now on sale at fccincinnati.com/tickets.
For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. For more information about FC Cincinnati tickets - including 2019 season tickets - call 513-977-KICK (5425) or visit fccincinnati.com/tickets.