Dutch football club Heracles Almelo announces esports youth academy

Heracles Almelo, a club that competes in the top tier of Dutch football, the Eredivisie, has announced a new esports youth academy. 

FUT Regional Final

The announcement will see six budding FIFA players, ranging from the age of 13-18 revealed on Friday 21 July at the Polman Stadium in Almemlo. The players will be trained by Heracles’ current FIFA player, Bryan Hessing. The youngsters will represent Heracles Almelo at FIFA tournaments and will effectively be the “second team” behind Hessing. 

The youngsters signed are: Gunnar Nieuwenhuis (16), Rik Weits (18), Melih Bingöl (19), Finn Mulder (13), Tim Slaghekke (16) and Sjors ten Tije (18). The release states that the Manager of Esports at Heracles, Arnoud Schonis, is responsible for scouting new esports talent for the future. 

It’s another expansion in the realm of FIFA but does the esport have a need for an academy with six players? It seems an impressive move to set up an academy and whilst it has grabbed mainstream news headlines it looks to have widely been misreported.

North, the Counter-Strike team owned by FC Copenhagen has already had an academy team for just over five months. Not only that — but the team competes in CS:GO and not FIFA, thus making the investment higher and the feat more impressive. 

FIFA remains an interesting prospect as an esport, and it continues to divide opinion. You can read my opinion on FIFA as an esport here. Nonetheless, football clubs tend to flock to it and it’s easily reported by traditional media sources as they don’t struggle to understand the very notion of FIFA. 

We will be discussing FIFA as an esport and why traditional football clubs are getting involved at the inaugural ESI Forum tomorrow, 20th July. There are VERY LIMITED tickets available at just £15 here.

Esports Insider says: Interesting move, but six FIFA academy players is a bit overkill. What are they going to do day in day out? They have one pro to learn from and six academy players plus a manager to scout more FIFA talent? From where? The leaderboards like the rest of the world? Slightly odd.