Following the trend of European clubs and leagues, MLS is getting into eSports. The new eMLS FIFA 18 league, announced late last year, will have its inaugural run this spring. The eMLS Cup will be contested next month at PAX East, with most MLS clubs sending a representative to compete for a coveted international tournament berth.
Earlier today, the Chicago Fire announced their newest signing: Edhem Jukovic, known in gaming circles as HekTic_JukeZ. The 24-year-old local eSports competitor regularly features in the global Top 100 in online FUT play, and peaked at #20 earlier this year. JukeZ has amassed a strong following on Twitch, YouTube, and social media, with his YT channel nearing 1 million views.
Fire president Nelson Rodriguez said that signing JukeZ is a reflection of both his strong play and his commitment to the values of the club.
We are pleased to welcome JukeZ as our club’s first eMLS competitor,” Rodríguez said. “Following a worldwide search, we were impressed by his skill and convinced his passion and values matched those of the club and our fans. That he grew up a fan of the Fire and is ‘Homegrown’ in Chicago makes this signing all the more exciting. We look forward to supporting JukeZ in his quest to bring a championship to our club and city.”
For his part, JukeZ said watching the Men In Red play when he was a kid was what got him into soccer in the first place— and later, FIFA.
“I’m extremely excited to join the Chicago Fire and compete on behalf of the club in the inaugural eMLS Cup,” JukeZ said. “Attending Fire matches at Soldier Field was part of my earliest introduction to the game, so it will be a great privilege to wear the Fire badge in eMLS. I’m grateful to Nelson Rodríguez and (Fire COO) John Urban for this opportunity and I’ll do everything I can to bring glory to the club, Fire fans and Chicago.”
The inaugural eMLS Cup will be contested April 5th-8th. Fans can catch the action on PAX East’s Twitch channel and on MLSSoccer.com.