On May 12 and 13 in Moscow in Yota Arena the Russian Cup on interactive football will be held - 64 of the country's best cyber football players will play one million rubles. In this regard, we asked cyber players about how football clubs “sign them” and why the boundaries between interactive and real sports have long ceased to exist.
A. Kushnirenko (left) and V. Gusev
- Despite the fact that the number of people who play e-sports is now quite large, few become professionals.
In Russia, there are only 15-20 people who are really good players, and in the world there are about two hundred of them. So those who begin an e-sports career understand that the chances of achieving serious success and even less getting rich are minimal.
If you want to become a professional interactive soccer player, you need to understand: just to play well is not enough. It is necessary to develop yourself not only mentally, but also physically - professional football clubs, signing a contract with new players, want interactive football players to look sporty, able to play not only sitting in front of a computer, but also on a real field. Players must also be active in social networks, blogging: this will bring additional revenue to organizations.
A chance to sign a contract appears only after winning a prestigious tournament. A player who wins matches against difficult opponents at home is of no interest to anyone.
For a wide audience, interactive football is the most attractive game. In it - unlike other eSports disciplines - there are practically no age restrictions. In addition, football is the most popular sport, and its rules are familiar to many.
Using interactive football as an example, it’s much easier to explain to people that computer sport is not evil, and the guys playing in such a major tournament as the Cup of Russia are quite capable of entering a real field. For the most part, all interactive football players in the past played football at least at the junior level.
Photo: Press Service of the FCC of Russia
If a person is under 12 years old, starting to seriously engage in interactive football does not make sense: to show a good result just impossible. Until this age, I advise you to play on the field and learn football. It is better to start participating in the competitions from the regional stage - to select the region’s national team for the All-Russian competitions.
After winning the student league, you can get into the semi-professional team, and then strive to win the championship and the Russian Cup (there is a real chance to sign the first contract). Of course, everyone dreams of making a hobby a profit - the salary of a professional interactive player in Russia can be 70,000-80,000 rubles a month.
Despite the fact that in interactive football the match lasts 12 minutes, the game itself is more dynamic than the game on the real field - the interactive athlete needs to have a high concentration. It is impossible to win at competitions without analysis of the game and tactics of opponents - you need to constantly review the records of your matches. Playing big football, the athlete concentrates only on himself, and interactively - on 11 players at a time.
In general, you need to be able to respond quickly. A game day in a tournament can last up to twelve hours, and eight of them the player will be on the court (as you know, stress resistance for an interactive football player is also very important).
A cyber-footballer needs to know all the schemes that are in the football simulator, know all the opponent’s players, know what to expect from them, how to counteract, how to calculate all possible moves and at the same time to press the keys. In a way, this can be compared to coaching. To win, you need to constantly disassemble the game, show them to someone.
In Russia, even among professional players, few people do this - you can play hundreds of matches and make the same mistakes.
Photo: Press Service of the FCC of Russia
There is a myth that eSportsmen are very reserved, taciturn people, as if their hobby greatly affects mental health. Interactive football is struggling with this problem. Coming to tournaments, playing in teams, people are better socialized. For example, there are tournaments where eleven athletes play together, each of which controls one football player.
In the end, they should show a single result.
The Cup of Russia is one of the most significant tournaments in the career of any Russian interactive football player. If he wins this tournament, he is already a professional - with a high degree of probability he can be “signed” by a professional football club or e-sports organization. To do this, from all over the country, through online and offline tournaments, we select 64 applicants.
Real players are also interested in interactive football, they come to tournaments to support the guys.
This erases the boundaries between interactive and real football and proves once again: all this has long been a common area of activity and a sport beloved by all. And the involvement of professional commentators only contributes to this. For some guys, the fact that their game in the grand finals is commented by Victor Gusev is a fulfillment of a childhood dream.
- If you include interactive football competitions and a simple football match in front of the average person, he can only be distinguished by the picture. Although I think that in a couple of years these differences will not be noticeable.
- I played football since I was five, I played for all the youth teams in my native Ufa But at 13, I broke my leg and, in order to keep busy with something, while I was at home and recovering, I started playing Fifu. Over time, I learned that interactive football is a great competition, guys travel around the world. I lost my first major tournament, leading 2-0 in the first minutes. After that, I realized: playing on amateur sites and on a professional level are two different things.
In the first year of my professional career, I entered the top 3 interactive football players in Europe.
I tried to combine Fifu with regular football training when I recovered from a fracture, but as soon as I started to show cool results, I thought - why should I run twice a day in the heat, when I can sit at home, win different tournaments, get prize money and ride on to the whole world? A friend of mine in Ufa had a computer club, in it I started organizing tournaments and inviting players from all over the republic to take part in them.
The coach told me that it’s stupid to quit training at the age of 14-15, when there is just a bit left to understand if there are chances to reach a high level. But I chose a different path for myself: for a year I signed a contract with Ufa, and in August 2017 my full transfer to the Lokomotiv football club took place.
Photo: press service of the FCC of Russia
I always dreamed of being in the “Locomotive”. My brother and I were a fan of this club since childhood, and when I signed the contract, he immediately called me and said: "Remember, you said that you would definitely play in Loko? That's it! It came true!" Now, when I put on the Lokomotiv T-shirt and come to the game, I feel a huge responsibility to the club and the fans.
I go to away matches with Loko players, I see people who work in the club, and I understand how much they love the team.
No matter what happens in the tournament, it’s better to stay calm, otherwise you’ll hurt yourself. All emotions - joy from a goal or annoyance after a missed ball - affect you and the opponent: he sees that you are vulnerable. Offline tournaments are harder for a novice player: online you sit at home in comfortable conditions - the chair you are used to has no cameras, nobody distracts, you can adjust the light and height of the monitor yourself. Offline, you meet face-to-face with an opponent and see those who come to support you.
Offline is very stimulating: what is sport without fans? Whatever the audience, you always play for someone, not just for yourself.
When I was just starting to play, they told me that offline, many matches are won before the start. Many times, when I saw a player before the match, I already understood how he was feeling. So in interactive football there is also a psychological struggle.
Photo: Press Service of the FCC of Russia
In FIFA, as well as in football, there are many different tactics and schemes.
Beginners often think that if they take the champion’s strategy, they will immediately begin to win. Previously, it seemed that top players had some secret tactics, but it all depended on the footballer - he should feel what tactics it is more comfortable for him to play and develop this scheme. A player should always have several plans. All tactics and settings are 5-10% of success, the most important thing is just to play with opponents who are stronger than you. Now all the championships are broadcast, anyone can go in and see what interactive football players are doing on the field.
You simply adopt all the best from each player and try to develop your own style.
I think it’s better to engage in real football until the age of 15-16, and leave Fifu as a hobby. If everything is fine with football, it’s better to go into it, because you can return to Fifu at 19-20. We must not forget that you can just run around, play football at least a couple of times a week to keep fit. This is very important, after physical exertion it is thought faster and is played easier.
If you play for hours without getting up, you won’t win. In interactive football, the advantage is always those who, in addition to excellent command of the game, are strong both psychologically and physically.