Erfan Hosseini. (Whitecaps FC)

Vancouver Whitecaps unveil teenage gamer Erfan Hosseini as their eMLS Cup hope

Hosseini will be introduced to Whitecaps fans at Vancouver’s March 24 match

It seems only fitting that an MLS franchise that boasts a 17-year-old phenom in midfielder Alphonso Davies would dip into the high school ranks for its pro gamer.

On Monday, the Vancouver Whitecaps unveiled 17-year-old Erfan Hosseini as their first official eMLS representative. Hosseini is expected to be the youngest competitor at the inaugural eMLS Cup at the PAX East gaming festival in Boston in April.

“It feels amazing. It’s a dream come true to be able to represent your hometown team and be able to play the game that I love at the same time,” Hosseini said in an interview

Hosseini, a senior at Moscrop Secondary School, will be introduced to Whitecaps fans at Vancouver’s March 24 match at B.C. Place against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

“Vancouver is a major hub for the gaming industry, so we are very excited to be a part of the inaugural eMLS Cup,” Whitecaps CEO Rachel Lewis said in a statement. “Erfan is a young, charismatic local gamer who has grown up as a ‘Caps fan. We’re looking forward to cheering him on this April.”

Some 19 MLS clubs have committed to take part in the eMLS Cup with the winner advancing to EA Sports “FIFA 18” Global Series Playoff, and possibly the FIFA eWorld Cup in August.

Phil Balke will represent Toronto FC while Lyes Ould-Ramoul will carry the Montreal Impact colours.

Hosseini, who goes by the gaming moniker Skill Shack, was the winner of the Whitecaps FC live FIFA 17 Tournament last August. The team says he comes recommended by FIFA esports analyst and commentator Chu (ChuBoi) Morah, a former EA Sports community manager.

The successful “FIFA 18” franchise is developed in suburban Burnaby.

Born in Shiraz, Iran, Hosseini moved to Canada when he was eight. He says he has always been a fan of playing soccer, but found others outgrew him on the field. So he took his love for the game to the gaming console.

He found he had a knack for it.

A fan of Brazil’s Ronaldo, Hosseini says he favours a Brazilian playing style. His go-to player these days is Brazilian star Neymar.

Hosseini’s new gig as the Whitecaps resident gamer likely came as a surprise in the Hosseini home.

“My parents have been always against (video gaming),” Hosseini said with a laugh. “But as long as I get my schoolwork done, they’re fine with it. And now that I’ve told them about the Whitecaps contract and the signing, they’re actually very happy for me that I’m not actually wasting time any more and I’m doing something useful.”

Hosseini, who plans to study computer science at university, says he spends two to three hours a day practising his gaming skills. Full of confidence, he says he expects to go far at the eMLS Cup.

While FIFA is his main game, he says he relaxes by playing shooter games like “Rainbow Six” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.”

While such games help reduce his stress, he admits he’s not very good at them.

“My friends generally have to carry me,” he said.

The eMLS Cup will divide players in two conferences, with 10 clubs in the East and nine in the West. Competitors will select their squad of 11 starting players, seven bench players and five reserve players. Each team must have three MLS players on the field at all times, including two players from the club that they represent.

Hosseini says Whitecaps captain Kendall Waston will be on his squad.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Langley-based Stealth sold, moving to Vancouver

National Lacrosse League announces sale to Canucks Sports and Entertainment

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada issues a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

VIDEO: Simple memorial pays homage to founder of Langley rodeo

Will Senger was remembered as one of the creators of Little Britches Rodeo, 53 years ago.

Craft beer obsession profitable for Langley charities

The 17th annual Rotary Club Tip ‘n’ Taste attracted almost 500 and fundraised about $16,000.

This year’s Rachel’s Ride for Rwanda the biggest yet

To date, the fundraiser has garnered over $70,000

VIDEO: 89-year-old runner celebrates Father’s Day on the track

Spectators were on their feet Sunday morning cheering Langley’s Ike Thiessen across the finish line.

B.C. pledges $550 million for Indigenous housing

Aboriginal leaders say federal government needs to pitch in too

5 to start your day

B.C. is feeling the heat, NHL prospect expected to make a full recovery and more

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Blue Jay Roberto Osuna not expected to appear in court

The Blue Jays pitcher is charged with one count of assault by Toronto police

Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades

Over 30 years the world’s annual temperature has warmed nearly 1 degree according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Family separation policy starts dividing Republicans

Deep concerns arise over the child separation policy in the U.S.

Strong earthquake in Japan kills 3

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck the area early Monday near Osaka

Most Read