Starting tomorrow, the eWorld Cup will hit the stage. The biggest tournament to date, it see's players from all over compete for a huge cash prize. Propelling their names onto the stage, it is perhaps time to rid any stigma and step into the future where gaming is considered a professional sport. Getting an insight ahead of it's kick off, we spoke to eMLS Player Alex Betancourt about his mindset going into an event like this.

What’s the big strategy for this tournament? Anything saved under the sleeve or is everything out in the open this late in the game?

That’s one thing I worked on over this last weekend of preparation: Plan B and Plan C. I already know what I’m going with, so strategy-wise, it’s just play my game and be confident in my tactical ability. But, also, generating a couple backup options just in case.

Tell us about the tweet you sent out after the Global Series...

That was a joke. I actually did play like that, but really I just played bad. It wasn’t like I purposely did bad in that formation. So then I switched my style and it worked! It was mostly for my fans, for the people that watch the competitive games – they understood.

esports portraits_0009_70510009.jpg
esports portraits_0001_70560006.jpg
esports portraits_0003_70550001.jpg
esports portraits_0004_70540009.jpg

Who are your big time FIFA rivals?

My two biggest rivals didn’t make it! PSG Fiddle is one of my big rivals and Ajax Joey. Neither of them made it. They are my two best friends that play FIFA, so we just play each other the most. They are both really good. But, for the eWorld Cup Grand Final, it’s probably Nawid (GoalMachine). He’s from Canada, so I’d say, he’s my biggest rival in this competition because we’re the only two from North America.

What are you most looking forward to in London outside of the competition?

Trying Nando’s, some of the older guys on KC love that place. I think it’s because Dom Dwyer used to rave about it being from England and all.

When you win, what will you spend the $250K on?

[Laughs] I have NO IDEA! I have been asked this question so many times. I’m just concentrating on one thing at a time. And right now, my focus is on winning my first game.

esports portraits_0010_70510006.jpg

How do you hype yourself up for these events?

I actually have a playlist. It’s a bunch of rap music.
i. 21 Savage
ii. Gucci Mane
iii. Drake
iv. Some of it is a little embarrassing, so we’ll stop there.

I actually named the playlist: 3.12, the date of the G-Finity event and I never used it and I lost to Fiddle. Then I used it for Amsterdam and I got third seed. I only used it at one event so far, but now that’s the rule. These are the only songs I will listen to now. You know how there’s that research study: if you chew a certain flavor of gum to study and then you crew it during your test, that’s how I use the music.

Are you superstitious?

I am VERY superstitious. I have to play Weekend League in jeans. If I don’t have jeans on, I play terrible. It’s like a 12 hour endeavor too. You have the whole weekend to do it, but if I don’t have jeans on, I don’t win. If I play with shorts, automatic L. The pair doesn’t matter as long as it’s denim. The other big one is when I play qualifiers to Weekend League, because sometimes Weekend League is just to practice but sometimes it’s to qualify for the events. So for qualifiers, I have to wear this Ralph Lauren jacket that I have. I have to have it on. It’s big and wintery. When it’s hot, I completely sweat in it, but I have to have it on. That and jeans, those are the big two. It’s a huge winter jacket.

The FIFA eWorld Cup™ Grand Final 18 takes place at The O2 in London on 4th August 2018. You can pick up tickets here.

Photography by Cole Wilson for SoccerBible