22-year-old David Bytheway has signed a contract with German football club VfL Wolfsburg to represent them in eSports gaming events thanks to his skills at EA’s FIFA series.
Bytheway began playing FIFA professionally five years ago and represented the UK in the FIFA Interactive World Cup championships in New York, Rio de Janeiro, and Las Vegas.
In an interview with the BBC, Bytheway said “It’s absolutely massive for me the fact that a team like Wolfsburg have gotten involved with gaming. It was just something I was doing at home to start with, just playing my friends and wanting to be the best out of them, and all of a sudden I’m a part of a football club.”
A Bundesliga team, Wolfsburg is owned not by shareholders or fans like most clubs, but by car manufacturer Volkswagen and also competes in athletics, handball, and badminton, among other sports. Players on the team are employees of the company and now Bytheway is as well. He’ll be given his own Wolfsburg number and jersey.
Bytheway says he plays four to six games each day against a small number of players, explaining that this is essential to avoid giving away his secrets by playing against too many people. The players he does go up against are of a similar skill level to himself in order to make the most out of his training.
He still lives in Wolverhampton, UK but says he’d like to see players such Dante, Julian Draxler, and André Schürrle in person during training. Bytheway added that he hopes it’ll be less than a year before an English Premier League side hires an eSports player.