Atlanta United today announced it has joined Major League Soccer’s eMLS platform and signed Hugo Hernandez, known as ratedhugo, as its first esports player. Hugo will represent the club in eMLS and FIFA 19 gaming events. A competitive EA SPORTS FIFA league, eMLS was launched in January of this year.
“Competing in eMLS has been an objective for our club for a while and we could not be more excited to welcome Hugo as our first eMLS competitor,” said Atlanta United’s vice president of business operations Catie Griggs. “We are excited about the opportunity to engage new and existing fans via esports and are thrilled to have Hugo representing our club.”
Hugo, 25, was selected to join Atlanta United following a number of standout performances in various FIFA tournaments in the city. He first hit the club’s radar after reaching the finals and the semifinals in the two qualifiers for the eMLS All-Star Challenge held in Atlanta prior to the 2018 All-Star Game. Hugo solidified his spot as Atlanta’s first esports competitor with a strong showing during MLS’s FIFA 19 launch event in Atlanta in September, which provided a scouting opportunity for Atlanta United to find its first eMLS representative.
The Chattanooga, Tennessee-native has achieved a top-100 rating in FIFA while attracting more than 17,000 followers on Twitch. He started playing FIFA in 2005 and began playing competitively in January 2017.
Starting this Friday, Nov. 16, fans can follow Hugo on Atlanta United’s Twitch account – twitch.tv/atlutd – where he will play regularly against other eMLS competitors and international esports players. Hugo will make his first in-person appearance for the club Saturday, Nov. 17 at Dreamhack, a worldwide gaming festival held at the Georgia World Congress Center.
“I don’t have the words to describe how excited I am,” said Hugo. “It is an amazing feeling to represent the biggest team in MLS and I feel really honored.”
The inaugural eMLS Cup was held in April as 19 MLS teams competed at the PAX East in Boston with the winner earning an automatic berth in the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Playoff which was in August. Hugo will represent Atlanta United in next year’s eMLS Cup.