Like a lot of people in March 2020, Kacey Anderson was bored at home.
The stay-at-home orders had gone out at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Anderson, who works in marketing for the Chicago Fire, was about to make a decision that would change her life.
She started streaming video games on Twitch.
“I was like, well, I’m home all the time,” Anderson tells Hot Time in Old Town. “I bought like the bare minimum stream and I was streaming from my couch for a while. I think it’s really fun. I actually started streaming Animal Crossing, with like three people watching me.”
Eventually, Anderson says she “gathered the confidence” to stream the EA Sports FIFA game, and things immediately started to change.
“It was pretty quick.” she says. “I say within three months, I was averaging around 100 people, which in Twitch terms that’s pretty good. And then it kind of blew up from there.”
That’s an understatement. Within six months, Anderson was partnered on Twitch. She’s now the most-watched woman FIFA streamer in North America. She’s amassed thousands of online followers across her “CHI_Kacee” social media channels—nearly 30,000 on Twitch alone, and another 34,000 on TikTok—giving her a much larger following than many of the players on the Fire first team.
She’s now a Game Changer for EA Sports, basically an official ambassador, and the company recently featured Anderson in a commercial for FIFA 22, alongside some of the biggest names in the sport (you can see Anderson at 00:40).
HyperMotion Begins— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) October 1, 2021
Play #FIFA22 Now: https://t.co/R7FEg68oY7
Powered By @KMbappe, @WayneRooney, @VancityReynolds, @RobMcElhenney, @cpulisic_10, @samkerr1, @PhilFoden, @David_Alaba, @TrentAA, @AlexScott, and more.
“They reached out to me, and asked me if I wanted to film a couple pieces for it,” she explains. “It’s exciting, because I was with some of the big guns on that commercial—Son is in it, Mbappe’s in it, Neymar’s in it. You can see their faces, and then I’m in it for a short second, right in there with them, so I was really excited.”
“I will be honest, I didn’t understand what she was doing in the beginning,” says Anderson’s friend and co-worker, Justyne Freud, who handles communications for the Fire. “The world had just shut down from COVID-19 and she mentioned she was on Twitch streaming and I just laughed a little bit. To see her as the most streamed woman in North America this year is insane.”
Anderson is now sharing her love of the Fire with her growing number of fans all over the world.
“One of my mods is based out of Tunisia,” Anderson explains. “He watches every single Fire game because of me, which blows my mind. He didn’t know anything about MLS before that, but there’s people all over the world who are now watching the Fire because I love the Fire.”
The Fire noticed Anderson’s success as a streamer, and recently signed her as an official member of the club’s eSports team—making her the first woman to sign with an eMLS team. As a woman in a male-dominated field, she still faces sexism daily. Anderson says every time she streams, she deals with “Get back in the kitchen”-type comments, which her moderators are quick to silence.
Anderson wants her streams to be a space where everyone feels welcome, and she’s hoping her new role at the Fire will pave the way for more women in the eSports world.
“I’m excited for the day a woman is actually raising any sports trophy in FIFA, which hasn’t happened yet, which blows my mind because FIFA’s been around for a while,” she says. “But I’m super, super excited for the day. I’m excited that I’m the first, but I definitely won’t be the last.”