Twitch streamer Kacey Anderson takes the stage at the eMLS Cup

On March 12, thousands of fans tuned in to the eMLS Cup, a FIFA tournament held live at the Moody Theater during the South by Southwest (SXSW) arts and technology conference. Top FIFA players competed in front of 1,500 live participants for a chance to win the $20,000 grand prize.

Kacey “Kacee” Anderson, a Twitch streamer with over 40,000 followers and the first female player and content creator of the eMLS, attended the Cup as the main correspondent. Ahead of the event, she spoke to Passionfruit about her experience with the eMLS.

In case you don’t know, one of the most popular sports franchise games is FIFA, a football simulator that lets you pick your dream list and send it onto the field. the latest iteration, FIFA 23, was a resounding success with over 10 million players in its launch week. With its popularity, several esports leagues have emerged, allowing those who are gifted to score virtual goals to prove they are the best.

“When you look at FIFA, it’s so easy to get into the game,” Anderson told Passionfruit. “When you turn it into a FIFA game, it looks like football. So if you’ve ever seen a football game that most people have seen at least once, you understand the game pretty much straight away.”

Anderson worked in marketing for Chicago Fire, one of the teams in Major League Soccer (MLS), North America’s premier soccer division, for six seasons. When the pandemic struck, she began streaming FIFA in her free time and built an audience watching her play.

Eventually transitioning into content creation full-time, she approached the MLS, who entered esports in 2018 with their own league, the eMLS. Anderson is the first woman to be signed to an eMLS club and is now one of the top content creators in the league.

“We have created this brand new position, which is that of eMLS Principal Correspondent,” Anderson said. “So I’m behind the scenes, making videos, TikTok, appearing on shows, doing my own livestreams and reacting to content.”

How does the eMLS work?

The eMLS is divided into two conferences: League Series One and Two. Each of the 26 teams selects a squad player who takes part in a series of matches, playing each other team at least once. The top eight players from each conference compete in a knockout format to determine the winner.

Then it’s time for the eMLS Cup, the live streamed finale of the 2023 eMLS season that took place on March 12th at SXSW. The top 11 players from both conferences competed in front of 1,500 live attendees for a chance at the $20,000 grand prize. The 2023 winner was that of St. Louis City Niklas “NR7” Raseck.

“I think if you live in North America, you should talk about MLS,” Anderson said.

Do you want to become a FIFA pro?

But how exactly does someone become a pro FIFA player? According to Anderson, it’s about understanding the game, but there’s no harm in being an interesting content creator.

Each club has its own way of selecting players. Some do extensive scouting and look at the top ranks and leaderboards. Others are looking for local players in their cities, leveraging them for content and integration with the main MLS roster.

“It depends on the goals of the individual club, whether it’s the commitment or whether it’s really the best it could be,” Anderson said.

But the most important thing you have to be is to be good at FIFA. Controlling a roster of 11 players and matching their real-life counterparts by collecting cards that can be earned through play or by spending real money is the best way to victory. When you compete at the highest level, you need to be able to fight back or shut up.

“The best players are the ones who are consistent from year to year and can really adapt to the individual patches, individual game updates that come out regularly,” Anderson said. “Getting out to games, creating content, using those individual MLS player cards and making that connection with the league because they’re potentially going to reach.”

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*Initial publication: March 16, 2023 3:01 pm CDT

Steven Arch

Steven Asarch is an internet culture reporter living on Twitch and YouTube. After graduating from Baruch College, he wrote for IBT Media, Newsweek and Insider. In 2021 he was Executive Producer of the documentary series “Onision in Real Life” on Discovery+.

Steven Arch Twitch streamer Kacey Anderson takes the stage at the eMLS Cup

Jaclyn Diaz

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