Playing one of the most difficult schedules on the opening day of eMLS League Series One presented by Coca Cola and PlayStation, Philadelphia Union esports competitor and Super Bowl Champion Jay Ajayi had to adjust quickly to professional gaming.
"Definitely woke me up today and now I know what I need to do coming into Friday," Ajayi said. "I have to come in much better than that but it lets you know that level of difficulty that these guys play with and that this really is their craft. I was competitive in some games, some games I wasn't - so I'm definitely going to try and do better tomorrow."
While his place was automatically secured for the livestream knockout rounds that take place at Union Transfer Friday night - RSVP here - Ajayi took to the uphill battle without flinching and turned some heads in the process. In his first 12 matches as a professionally gamer, Jay Train’s squad found the back of the net in over half of his contests while experimenting to find the best mix of chemistry that matches his gaming style.
"You can tell everyone knows the ins-and-outs of the game and the nuances when it comes to the tactics. One of the things I noticed right off the bat was the importance of chemistry and how my ultimate team wasn't set up compared to other teams. I learned on the fly from watching all the other competitors and saw why their teams were set up in that way."
As he battled on the virtual pitch inside the Stadium Club of Talen Energy Stadium, Ajayi played numerous thrilling matches including a close affair with 2019 eMLS Cup finalist Godfather of LA Galaxy. While the result went 5-2 in the opponent's favor, Ajayi had the contest at a 3-2 scoreline with a strong goal from FIFA ICON and current Montreal Impact head coach Thierry Henry. Another offensive weapon in Ajayi's arsenal that was called upon often was Neymar. After starting off the competition on the former Eagles' running back's bench, the Brazilian maestro was inserted into the lineup and began netting goals and adding pace to Ajayi's squad as he focused on counter attacks.
Ajayi now turns his attention to Friday night's live stream and while he will be the heavy underdog taking on the No. 1 seed NYC Chris, his goals are represent the Union badge proudly.
"I want to have a good showcase and maybe get some wins. Have some pride and represent Philadelphia Union, I didn't have a good showing today so I'll try and shake back tomorrow."