Lama offered UCLA scholarship for E-Sports

Lama offered UCLA scholarship for E-Sports

Daniel Gonzalez-Arevalo, Newtonian Sports Manager

Video games have often carried the stereotype of being for children and serving no purpose other than to pass time and interact with friends. In recent years, more attention has been placed on the competitive aspect of video games which led to the creation of the Esports community. Gamers are now able to join teams through contracts that can lead to exposure, a steady income and an opportunity to do what gamers love with no distraction. For young gamers who are still in school, there are numerous opportunities to play the games they love while at the same time receiving an education. 

Senior exchange student Matias Lama actively participates in Esports competitions and is a member of an Esports team that plays a game called Rocket League. According to Lama, his passion for video games originated from a condition called cataract which causes clouding in the lens of the eye. 

“I once was forced to sit in front of screens because I was born with cataracts,” Lama said. “So I started playing video games, and it was the easiest way to just make the scar better. Then in 2015 Rocket League came out. I liked the game and so I started playing it.”

Rocket League is a game that involves players driving around cars in an attempt to score goals with a ball in a soccer goal. It was not until quarantine in 2020 that Lama really started to take his Rocket League participation seriously. 

“You know, quarantine kicked in and I spent a lot of time playing it and got a couple of mates from Spain to play too,” Lama said. “We would all just play everyday and keep getting better and better. We got the chance to compete in a really big tournament in Sweden and we won.”

Through their participation in the tournament, Lama and his friends were able to gain attention from other players and Esports teams. However, once Lama came to the United States for school, he received an unexpected offer. 

“When I came here, I wanted to keep playing so I didn’t lose my level,” Lama said. “So when I go back, I’m still able to compete. One day I just received a random call from UCLA because one of their players knew me and they saw that I was here in America and that I was ranked. And they said hey, do you want to try out with us? You know, we’re willing to give you a scholarship or whatever.”

Lama is currently under contract that expires in August of this year with his current Esports team. After the expiration of the contract, Lama will make the decision to resign or head to California for a new opportunity. 

“I gotta figure out if I want to stay with a team or if I can go to UCLA,” Lama said. “I have to decide what’s going to happen. [I’ve received] no other offers by anyone because everyone thinks I’m staying on the team.”

Despite being a part of a competitive Esports team and attending school, Lama still takes the time to host casual livestreams and showcase his skills for viewers. Those interested are able to view his streams on Twitch via the username extra_rl.

“When I’m in Spain I stream on Twitch, and it’s nothing crazy,” Lama said. “I think I average 50 or 60 people.”