The stage has been set for the 2021 E-MLS Season, with qualifiers beginning tomorrow ahead of the League Series One knockout tournament on January 16-17. All 27 Clubs will commence in private online qualifier games with the top 8 Clubs in points making it to the respective League Series knockout tournament matches. Below, we looked back and spoke with eMLS athlete RemiMartinn to get his thoughts on re-signing with the Club, the first season, the challenges of 2020, and his goals moving forward in 2021.
Los Angeles Football Club first joined the fray of eMLS, the dedicated esports league with professional EA SPORTS™ FIFA players representing MLS Clubs, in advance of the 2020 Season. The Club signed its first-ever eMLS athlete, LA native Martin “RemiMartinn” Oregel, shortly thereafter. What ensued in in the first season of LAFC Gaming though, was something no one could have scripted.
The eMLS competitions commenced in January, first with the League Series One, then followed by League Series Two in February. RemiMartinn fared well in both competitions, advancing to the live streamed portion of the events before falling to Vancouver Whitecaps’ Exraa in the quarterfinals in Series One, and a defeat to FC Cincinnati’s Fiddle in Series Two. With two top-eight League Series performances, Remi was on a strong digital footing moving towards eMLS Cup slated for March.
Then the 2020 as we now all know it struck, the MLS Regular Season was suspended indefinitely and LAFC’s First – Team was relegated to the sidelines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, because of the nature of his craft, RemiMartinn was now the only Black and Gold athlete that was able to compete in live competitions. Remi leaned into the responsibility, participating in seven LAFC Charity Gaming Challenges, exhibition competitions with other MLS and global clubs created to raise money earmarked to support the fight against COVID-19 through the LAFC Foundation’s Black and Gold Community Fund. Through the Charity Gaming Challenges, Remi helped raise over $10,000 in charity and gave the LAFC community something live to cheer for in tough times.
Ultimately, the eMLS Cup was rescheduled for late June, giving Remi one last opportunity for a 2020 LAFC trophy. He went on through to the Semifinals before a defeat to eventual eMLS Cup Champion New York Red Bulls, finishing the eMLS season in 5th place with a 14-5-5 record.
Before we get further into our Q & A, which can be found below, he had a message to the LAFC Community.
RemiMartinn: “I’m going to give it my all. There isn’t one bit of me that isn’t trying to win, bring back a trophy. Even if we lose a couple of games, it’s not the end of the world. We’re going to come back stronger. One setback isn’t going to bring down all that we’ve been able to accomplish. At the end of the day, I’m going to try my hardest, and we’re going to win a couple of trophies down the line.”
Q&A with Martin “RemiMartinn” Oregel:
To start, I wanted to do a little look back on your first year with LAFC. You had the opportunity to be the Club’s first – ever eMLS player and really set the stage for the program moving forward, how was that experience?
RemiMartinn: “It’s been a great experience to be able to represent the Club. The first year was a little crazy in terms of what’s been going on outside of the Club and in the world with everything pretty much coming to a pause. Being able to represent the Club throughout those months was a great experience to be given the opportunity to share some smiles even if through a video game. It’s exciting and hopefully I was able to put a LAFC in a good spot as far as providing some content and entertainment while the rest of the sports world was on pause. I just feel super privileged be have been able to be a part of that.”
Shifting to a little more of your on-pitch exploits, the 2020 Season was full of challenges, and that included re-scheduling of e-MLS events as well. You still qualified in the top 8 for each of the two League Series events and lost in the semifinals of eMLS Cup to eventual champ NY Red Bulls. Talk a little about your year on the digital pitch.
RemiMartinn: “Looking back, especially given that it’s been a number of months since my loss against the Red Bulls in eMLS Cup, it was a great year for LAFC Gaming. I think we laid the roots for the future to be bright. We did so many great things throughout the year. For it to be the first eMLS Season it was pretty decent.
Obviously, we wanted to finish it off with a trophy, but to make it to the broadcast portion of League Series play [made only by top eight overall players], to make that, and the eMLS Cup Semifinal final, was great. So, I’m excited for what’s to come, and this past year was incredible as well.”
I already alluded to some of the challenges 2020 has brought, how did that affect how you’ve been able to prepare and train this season?
RemiMartinn: “Not specifically. With the rescheduling of eMLS Cup at the beginning there was a lot of uncertainty and we weren’t sure if all the events were going to happen. I was scared because I had done so much in the League Series One and Two, and for that little bit of doubt that crept in, it was definitely unnerving. It was going great, and now this happens, was it for nothing?
When the reschedule was announced though, it was just back to the basics. Go at it again. Do the same as I was doing before.”
Not only did you have a full e-MLS League competitive schedule, but you also participated in a number of LAFC Gaming Charity challenges to raise money for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, talk a little about those.
RemiMartinn: “When LAFC approached me with the idea of doing these charity events to help people affected by COVID-19, I immediately said let’s do this. COVID-19 is really serious. We’re all doing our part, and to be able to help anyone that is less fortunate and needs it, that was something I had to be a part of.
Personally, ever since being a professional, I wanted to one day be able to give back to the community, give back to those that need help in general. So, when I got the opportunity to take part in these charity challenges it was something really exciting. “
Tell us a little about your feelings on resigning with the Club.
RemiMartinn: “I always wanted to re-sign with the Club, I just had in the back of my head that I needed to run it all back. The way the first year ended, and the work that went into launching LAFC Gaming, I just knew I had to run it back for a second season. Especially because I have that bittersweet feeling of, yes we did good, made top four in eMLS Cup, but we want that trophy. That’s something I know that all of the LAFC community, gaming community, LAFC fans and 3252, everyone is craving that trophy. So, season two, I personally feel confident in what we’re going to be able to do, both on the gaming side and the community side.”
What needs to happen for RemiMartinn to be crowned 2021 e-MLS Champ?
RemiMartinn: “At the end of the day, if I put in the work and master everything there is to master in this game, there’s no reason for me not to win the championship. I’m confident in my talent and how far it could take me. So, as long as I’m able to do the stuff that I need to in the game, everything else will take care of itself.
Obviously, I need to put in the work. It’s going to take a lot of grinding, crafting, mastering, but I’ve never been more ready in my life. Signing for LAFC was the first step, that was just the beginning. Now, it’s time for my career to take off. “
Moving forward, what are some of your goals both on and off the digital pitch for next year?
RemiMartinn: “The first one, on the digital pitch, would be the eMLS Cup Championship. Off the pitch, really anything I can do to help the community, whether it’s from MLS, LAFC, anything that comes my way, being a part of these community activities really helps out others and myself. Those are my plans."
Follow Remi on Instagram @rmartinnnn_, on Twitter @RemiMartinn, and tune in to his Twitch stream twitch.tv/RemiMartinn.