Atlanta United announced today it has re-signed elite Brazilian esports athlete Paulo Neto to represent the club for the 2021 season. The 17-year-old finished last year as the No. 1 ranked PlayStation FIFA player in South America on the EA SPORTS ™ FIFA 20 Global Series leaderboard after winning the FIFA 20 Summer Cup Series – South America. The Five Stripes are also adding local esports player Enzo Dominguez, who will compete in the opening eMLS League Series event.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, eMLS will be conducting all events virtually for the 2021 season. To achieve a level playing field for all competitors, all players will need to be physically located in North America to compete using regional servers. Due to current travel restrictions, Neto will be unable to participate in the initial eMLS competition. Atlanta United has signed Dominguez to compete on behalf of the club as necessitated by pandemic-related restrictions.
“We were very pleased with Paulo’s first season with the club last year,” said Atlanta United’s Vice President of Business Operations Catie Griggs. “He reached the final four in a couple of eMLS events and teamed up with Franco Escobar to win the inaugural eMLS Tournament Special this past summer. Once it is safe for Paulo to travel from Brazil, he will resume his role as Atlanta United’s eMLS competitor. In the meantime, we look forward to Enzo representing our club and competing at the highest level.”
Neto will continue to represent the club and compete as Atlanta United in the FIFA 21 Global Series events, including Regional South America Qualifiers (starting January 23/24), the e-Copa Libertadores (February 2/3), the South America Playoffs (date TBD) and e-Nations Cup (date TBD). The young phenom joined the club from Brazilian esports powerhouse SPQR last year and continues to be one of the rising stars in esports. He finished in the top-2 in three Playstation events in 2020, including eMLS League Series Two and the first South American Qualifier for FIFA 21 Global Series.
Dominguez is a local esports player from Lawrenceville, Georgia. The 22-year-old came onto the club’s radar back in 2019 when he won the FIFA Launch event in Atlanta. He has continued to excel in the domestic esports scene and will now compete in the eMLS League Series for Atlanta United.
The 2021 eMLS season will be comprised of three live-streamed tournaments that each take place over the course of two days, doubling the content hours of the 2020 eMLS season.
The season will kick off in January with eMLS League Series One presented by Coca-Cola, continue in February with eMLS League Two presented by Coca-Cola and conclude in March with eMLS Cup presented by Coca-Cola. Ahead of each League Series, all 27 Clubs will play in online qualifier games with the top 8 Clubs in points making it to the respective League Series knockout tournament. After League Series concludes, the top 11 Clubs in total points will automatically qualify for eMLS Cup. The remaining 16 Clubs will compete in a Last Chance Qualifier tournament to battle for the final 12th seed of eMLS Cup. The New York Red Bull’s eMLS competitor, George Adamou, is the reigning eMLS Cup champion from 2020.
2021 eMLS Season Schedule:
- Jan. 16-17 – League Series One
- Feb. 13-14 – League Series Two
- March 20-21 – eMLS Cup
Fans can tune in to all three competitions (detailed below) on Twitch.tv/MLS, Twitter.com/MLS and MLSsoccer.com.
eMLS is an Official League Partner of the EA SPORTS™ FIFA Global Series – the global competitive FIFA ecosystem – whereby players can advance from the FIFA 21 Global Series Playoffs to the FIFA eWorld Cup. The Global Series shifted to a completely online format and will be region-based in 2021. eMLS is a Tier 1 League Qualifier for the North America region which enables the top three finishers at eMLS Cup to receive direct seats to the PS4™ Global Series North America Regional Playoffs.
New this season, JLab becomes the official audio and microphone partner of eMLS and competitors will wear JLab Play headphones and use Talk Microphones. eMLS competitions will also feature SCUF Gaming controllers. Specializing in high-performance customized gaming controllers and accessories, SCUF controllers enable gamers to improve their gameplay by completely redefining control.
Cheez-It® & Pringles® are returning as the Official Snack Partner of eMLS and will be the presenting partner of eMLS Player Lounges and eMLS Player Profiles, a digital series highlighting the player’s personal stories. PlayStation® continues its partnership as the Official Console Partner. Coca-Cola continues its partnership as the Official Carbonated Beverages and Water Partner and will be the presenting partner of eMLS League Series and eMLS Cup.
For more information on eMLS, including participating clubs and player signings, visit www.MLSsoccer.com/eMLS.