Tryouts for the UTA varsity esports team begin in a week and run the next three weekends on July 17 and 18, 24 and 25 and July 31 and August 1.
During tryouts, participants will be assigned to various teams and time slots, playing both against and with one another in various tournaments, said esports program director Drew Boehm in an email.
UTA offers three varsity esports teams, one for League of Legends, Overwatch and Rocket League, respectively. Tryouts will be held online this year, and students can register for a time slot here.
“[Students will] have the chance to show off their skills both in-game and in terms of teamwork and communication,” Boehm said.
After tryouts, if selected for the varsity team, students can expect several online practices a week as well as having to maintain good grades and represent the university well, Boehm said.
This schedule is something competitive director Emad Alturk knows well because before he took his current job, he was on the varsity team as a sub.
As a player, all he needed to focus on was competing, he said. But as a director, he takes it a step up, focusing on the teams and their behind-the-scenes action.
“Pretty much I'd make sure that they were practicing, that they were going to the games on time and that they were, you know, communicating well and meshing,” Alturk said.
For the last few semesters, tryouts have involved meeting in person during on campus events, said Fred Zirbel, League of Legends varsity member.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, tryouts will be held entirely online this semester. Beyond that and some in-person competitions, esports has evaded the postponements and cancellations found with nearly every other sport.
“We are in a unique spot with esports, being able to compete as relatively normal with what is going on right now,” Boehm said.
It may not be as physical as a traditional sports team, but esports — especially in the varsity team — require responsibility and dedication for the students involved.
Students wanting to try out should take the role seriously, not just for the sake of winning but for the awards, scholarships and recognition that come with it, Boehm said. A total of $91,000 are available in scholarships.
“The students on the varsity team are the best at UTA and in the state/country,” he said. “We take competition seriously as there is a lot on the line when it comes to winning.”