By Jason Parker
March 25, 2020
Fans of United Soccer League is teaming up with the USL Championship and League One to square off in a brand new arena of sport! Today, the USL announced the inaugural edition of the USL eCup: Rocket League Edition! This will have 32 teams across the organization’s professional ranks, to meet in a month-long tournament.
One of the most successful online games of all time will be the battlefield for these all-star soccer players. Lizzie Seedhouse, USL’s senior vice president of digital, spoke about it. “We just wanted to create something fun and entertaining. More than anything, this tournament will be a great way to give clubs and supporters the ability to come together, compete and have some fun.”
Rocket League began back in 2015 and has become a premier game in the esports scene. It features a head-to-head mode that is quite similar to soccer in a variety of ways. Players navigate their vehicles to drive massive balls toward a net and aim to score goals. It claimed Best Sports Game at E3 in 2015, and that’s no mean feat.
How will the USL eCup Rocket League tournament work? The 32 clubs will square off in a one-on-one fuel format, and each team will be represented by a team captain. They will serve as the primary player, with two alternates, available to each team over the course of the tournament.
The USL clubs will be drawn into eight groups of four teams, which will be revealed later on today. The tournament’s group stage is set to run between March 31-April 10. Each group stage match will be a best-of-three between the two players. Each team will play once during Week 1 of the group stage, and then twice in Week 2. The winner of each best-of-three series will receive three points in the group standings while the loser departs empty-handed.
The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage held between April 13-25. These matches will be a best-of-five series through the fateful Round of 16, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals. The Final will be a best-of-seven to ultimately crown the winner of the inaugural tournament.
If that’s not enough, the tournament will also offer the opportunity for each club to have a charitable tie-in locally. Each club nominates a charity and will have a donation link for their fans to chip in and support. This is done through Twitch streams and the club/league websites. So not only do we get awesome Rocket League action from real sports stars, but it gives back to charities in need.
The USL eCup: Rocket League Edition matches will be streamed live on Twitch, and will let fans interact with the teams and players through the action. Daily coverage will also be available on the USL Championship and USL League One websites. They will follow the teams and players throughout the event.
Now, this is the kind of thing we like to see. It brings fans together who might not be familiar with Rocket League, and gives Rocket League (hopefully) some new fans. Seeing Rocket League get this kind of support from a major traditional sports league is brilliant.