Alex (Exraa) Gonzalez-Aldana will be playing for his job as the Vancouver Whitecaps’ resident pro gamer, thanks to a new esports talent search tournament.
The MLS team announced Thursday it has partnered with Alpha North Esports & Entertainment, to become the club’s official online esports tournament platform. Vancouver-based Alpha North describes itself as an “integrated esports company with competitive gaming at its core.”
They plan online and live tournaments to scout talent for eMLS — the league’s esports play in conjunction with the EA Sports FIFA franchise — and search for what they dub “the ONe.” At the end of the season, a final tournament will be held with the winner challenging Gonzalez-Aldana for his role as Whitecaps esports representative.
Details for the final tournament will be confirmed ahead of the fall, the club said.
“The esports sector continues to grow and we’re thrilled to be working with an industry-leading organization such as Alpha North,” Whitecaps CEO Mark Pannes said in a statement.
“During this difficult period fans continue to embrace, watch, and participate in gaming and esports and we love keeping them in the Whitecaps squad as they do that. Our scouting reach is spanning right across Canada. We’re looking forward to bringing the best competitors from our country together to challenge themselves to become the ONe.”
Gonzalez-Aldana will be a tough out. He was fourth in the standings heading into the eMLS Cup, which was slated for March 21 in Austin, Texas, as part of South by Southwest. The competition was postponed when the festival was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Gonzalez-Aldana was 18 when he was named the Whitecaps’ pro gamer last December after turning heads with top-10 performances at FIFA video game tournaments in Atlanta and London.
Gonzalez-Aldana grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, before moving to Vancouver, at age 12, and then Regina with his family. He started playing the EA Sports’ FIFA game in 2008 with his older cousins.
In his first competitive gaming season, Gonzalez-Aldana finished the FIFA 19 Global Series as the second-highest ranked Canadian and the fourth-highest North American.
He follows in the footsteps of Erfan (Skill Shack) Hosseini, the Whitecaps’ first esports rep.