MLS and EA have announced the schedule and details for the 2022 eMLS season, the official esports league of Major League Soccer.
The season is set to kick off in January and will feature 27 top FIFA competitors, each representing a club, battling it out on a virtual pitch for their share of a $75,000 prize pool. This season will hopefully see the return of live, in-person events should the on-going pandemic situation allow it. The events will begin with eMLS League Series 1, then onto eMLS League Series 2, culminating with the eMLS Cup.
Camilo Durana, the Senior Vice President of Properties and Events for MLS, said: "“eMLS continues to enhance and build our relationships with fans through accessible, exciting, and intense competition, which is why we’re thrilled to expand our coverage and return to live events this upcoming season.”
New for this season is Charlotte FC, bringing the total eMLS count up to 27 clubs. All participating MLS Clubs will be set to stream each of their qualifying matches on their official social channels, so fans will have more opportunities to stay connected with their favorite players.
The 2022 season will start with League Series 1 in Cincinnati, hosted by FC Cincinnati. All 27 eMLS players will play in qualifiers at FCC’s TQL Stadium on Jan. 15, 2022. The top eight players will advance onto the League Series 1 live event held on Jan. 16. Fans can RSVP for this live event for free.
The second eMLS tournament will be League Series 2 in Chicago, hosted by the Chicago Fire FC. On Jan. 29, eMLS players will compete in qualifiers at Soldier Field. The top eight players then advance onto the League Series 2 live event held on Jan. 30. Fans can RSVP for this live event for free.
The final showdown will be the eMLS Cup in Austin on March 13 as an official event of SXSW 2022. The top 12 eMLS players will compete to be crowned the 2022 season champion. The top three eMLS Cup finishers will also receive direct seats to the EA SPORTS Global Series Playoffs on the Road to the FIFAe World Cup.
The first 11 competitors will be determined by the total season qualifier points from the League Series events, while the 12th will be plucked from a Last Chance Qualifier tournament on March 12. The event will be open to SXSW badge holders as well as the general public for free. Registration will open at a later date.