Major League Soccer launches own esports league for Federation Internationale de Football Association 18 World Cup

MLS launches 'eMLS,' a new FIFA esports league with one pro gamer representing each team

MLS launching esports league for FIFA 18 World Cup

But if a player were to fall early in competition at eMLS, nothing would stop them from competing independently in an effort to qualify via FIFA Ultimate Team events.

MLS will engage fans of participating MLS teams to follow along as players are recruited and compete for the eMLS Cup in April at gaming festival PAX East in Boston.

MLS announced Friday the creation of "eMLS", a new competitive gaming league organized in partnership with EA Sports.

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Further details on the eMLS league's structure and player signings will be revealed in the coming weeks, but at least one MLS club has already gotten started. With only one esports athlete per eMLS club, rather than a roster of multiple players, it's unclear whether the league has a standard contingency plan in case a club's sole representative is unable to compete for some reason.

The Major League Soccer has 23 teams - 20 from U.S. and 3 from Canada but only 19 teams are taking part in the eMLS Cup. The league, named eMLS, will be tied to the upcoming EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs. The owners of the squads in those esports organizations are often billionaires or corporations, and they provide their athletes with salaries, benefits and housing.

The teams, including Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, will pit their own pro gamers against each other to determine an eMLS champion who will then represent the North American league in the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs leading to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 in August.

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Major League Soccer (MLS) is the professional football league sanctioned by United States Soccer and consists of professional teams from the US and Canada. "This step forward into competitive gaming is a key component in our partnership with EA SPORTS to promote deeper engagement and connections between MLS supporters and the millions of Federation Internationale de Football Association players around the world".

EA has already had great success with its competitive "Madden NFL" series, with its gaming circuit boasting a purse of US$1.153 million.

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