What you need to know about the eMLS Cup

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC are one of 19 Major League Soccer clubs who will be represented at the first-ever eMLS Cup, which begins today in Boston.  

Here’s what you need to know about the competitive gaming tournament.  

What is it?

The eMLS Cup is a tournament featuring some of the best FIFA 18 gamers in North America. Each of the participating MLS teams has selected an eSports athlete to represent them in the tournament.

Competitors will select their squad of 11 starting players, seven bench players, and five reserve players. But there are a few tailored rules for the MLS gamers to abide by. Each gamer must have at least three MLS players on the field at all times, including at least two from the MLS club they represent.

Who’s Vancouver’s representative?

The ‘Caps signed Erfan Hosseini as the club’s first official eMLS representative.

Hosseini, who goes by Skill Shack, was the winner of the Whitecaps FC FIFA 17 Tournament last August at the Sport Chek store at Metrotown in Burnaby, BC. The 17-year-old, who will be the youngest eSports athlete at the tournament, was also recommended by renowned FIFA eSports analyst and commentator ChuBoi.

“I obviously want to win the eMLS Cup. I hope I can win it for the ‘Caps. It’s going to be tough, but I know my abilities,” said Hosseini. “I know I can do it. I expect myself to win.”

Click here to see Hosseini’s squad selection.

Who’s the competition?

Some of the best FIFA gamers in the world will be taking part in the tournament.

New York Red Bulls eSport athlete Michael LaBelle might be the biggest name. LaBelle is a former Hashtag United FIFA Player and YouTube sensation. He has represented the U.S. in worldwide tournaments and is a former national champion in FIFA.

Labelle’s New York rival, Chris Holly, is another one to watch. Holly, who will be representing NYCFC, was the first eSport athlete to be signed by an MLS club. He also finished as the tournament runner-up in the PlayStation 4 division last year in London.

Phil Balke could be Hosseini’s toughest Canadian competition, as he will be representing Toronto FC in this year's tournament. Balke has already reached the FIFA World Cup tournament in London once before.

When are the games? 

The eMLS Cup will begin with preliminary rounds on Thursday, April 5 and Friday, April 6. Those who advance will compete in the knockout rounds on Saturday, April 7. The Conference Championships and eMLS Cup Final will take place on Sunday, April 8.

How can I watch?

Saturday and Sunday’s matches will be held on the PAX Arena Main Stage and live-streamed on PAX’s “PAXArena” Twitch channel and MLSsoccer.com. The eMLS Cup Final will also be live-streamed on MLS channels. Click here for all the latest info: https://www.mlssoccer.com/esports/emls/2018.

What does the winner get?

The eMLS Cup champion will receive a trophy along with a series of prizes. Both finalists will win berths in the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs on the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup. The top 32 competitors in the Global Series Playoffs will advance to the FIFA eWorld Cup in August, where the winner will be crowned the undisputed FIFA 18 World Champion.