Atlanta United announced today it has signed elite Brazilian esports athlete Paulo Neto to represent the club as its eMLS player for the 2020 season. The 16-year-old is currently the No. 4 ranked PlayStation FIFA player in the world on the EA SPORTS ™ FIFA 20 Global Series PlayStation leaderboard after finishing as a console finalist in the most recent FUT Champions Cup Stage 2 tournament in Bucharest, Romania.
“Research shows that esports is one of the fastest-growing sectors in all of sports, and FIFA in particular is one of the most popular avenues for new fans to learn about Atlanta United and Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” said Atlanta United’s Vice President of Business Operations Catie Griggs. “Not only does Paulo Neto immediately put us into the elite tier of esports on a global level, he also follows our first-team model of finding the best up-and-coming talent in the world to represent Atlanta United. We are thrilled to have him as part of the team for the 2020 season.”
Neto joins the club from Brazilian esports powerhouse SPQR, and is one of the most exciting young athletes in esports. On top of his most recent performance in Romania, he finished in the top 4 in the 2019 FUT Champions Cup in Atlanta and was a finalist in the Gothia e-Cup in 2018. He is also a three-time Pernambuco champion and a two-time Paraíba champion, both regional tournaments in Brazil, and was selected to the Brazilian national team after being crowned the PlayStation champion of the country last year.
Neto will represent the club in the 2020 eMLS season, as well as in ensuing Global Series events, the inaugural e-Copa Libertadores, the Global Series Playoffs and the FIFA eWorld Cup, should he qualify for the event. Due to his prior registration with SPQR, he will compete for SPQR in the eClubs tournament and as a free agent in Global Series events through February 2020, then will fully represent Atlanta United. He will compete as Atlanta United, however, for the entire eMLS season, starting with eMLS League Series One in Philadelphia on Jan. 10. Click here for more information on the upcoming eMLS season.