NOTE: This was originally published on Tucson Local Media and can be found here.
If you’re craving sports right now, you might be surprised to learn that some are still going – in a more virtual format.
Now, after weeks of bouts and climbing up the brackets, FC Tucson has taken its place in a head to head finalist round for the USL eCup Rocket League competition.
If you’re not familiar with Rocket League, it’s an online video game of soccer with some twists. Instead of people on the field, there are cars being controlled by the players. These cars also have rocket boosting ability (thus, the title of the game) that is key to getting in place at the right time to score or block a goal.
See the highlights from last night’s semifinal match between FC Tucson and Tacoma Defiance, including the 200th goal of the tournament from FC Tucson.
If you’re a fan of FC Tucson or just soccer/football in general, you know that this isn’t FC Tucson’s normal go-to way of play. However, they picked up Rocket League player Trent Wieland to play for the team during this esports break from the physical game.
Jon Pearlman, Director of Soccer Operations for FC Tucson said, “This is a historic signing for our club. FC Tucson prides itself on talent identification in all facets of our illustrious club. Trent Wieland is a champion brought here to bring us a championship.”
Wieland is a senior at the University of Arizona and was picked up by the club to represent the club in its virtual play. He has been playing and winning matches since he started Rocket League in 2016. Earlier this month he answered a few questions via the FC Tucson Facebook page. He’s confident, and with good reason. He’s good – and his eyes are on the prize.
Not only are they playing for the cup, but they’re also playing for the good of our community.
USL and FC Tucson have chosen not to take a pause, but to persevere and continue in a different format to enrich and engage their fans. Additionally, during the tournament, FC Tucson has partnered with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, and ask their fans to also contribute to their efforts.
Tomorrow they head into the Finals against Union Omaha to hopefully take home the championship for FC Tucson.
You can watch it live on ESPN3 at 4 p.m. tomorrow, April 25. Or, you can stream it online live here.