One former Philadelphia Eagles player is taking his game off the field and onto the screen.
Jay Ajayi, who joined the Eagles in 2017 and helped take the team to Super Bowl LII, signed with the Philadelphia Union as a pro gamer for eMLS, the esports and gaming property of Major League Soccer, the team announced this week. Ajayi played with the Eagles for part of the 2019 season and is currently a free agent.
Ajayi will represent the Union during the 2020 eMLS Cup campaign, beginning with eMLS League Series One in Philadelphia on Jan. 10. The event will feature 25 of the best professional FIFA 20 gamers in the world representing different MLS clubs. The winner will get the Series One trophy and $7,500 in cash. The Union took every eMLS league series title in 2019.
Ajayi’s move to esports is the newest in a long string of gaming developments in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Fusion broke ground on its 3,500-seat arena at the Philadelphia Sports Complex this summer, a project aimed to be completed in 2021.
In October, Comcast Spectacor announced a partnership with Korean telecomms giant SK Telecom to launch a joint esports organization, T1 Entertainment & Sports, which will operate in Philadelphia, Seoul and Los Angeles.
And through the end of 2019, NBC Sports Philadelphia ran a 10-week series on the growing industry.
“Representing the Philadelphia Union for eMLS combines two of my greatest passions outside of football, soccer and gaming,” Ajayi said. “I’m a competitor, so you’re going to see me give my all for the Union at every eMLS event this year.”
Ajayi is an avid FIFA video game player, and has been featured on YouTube show “FIFA & Chill.” He’s also played against former NFL player Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Men in Blazers host Roger Bennett.
“Jay has the fight, grit and winning mentality that Philadelphia is known for, and it quickly became clear to us that his love of the city, soccer, and gaming made him a great fit for our esports team,” Doug Vosik, the Union’s chief marketing officer said. “Signing Jay is another groundbreaking move in eMLS and we are excited to see what he can do.”
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