High school esports programs are gaining popularity all across the United States as the popularity of competitive video gaming continues to grow. We recently caught up with Matt James from Eastern High School to learn about his program and what it provides to students.
Eastern High School, a public school located in Washington DC, began its esports program about five years ago with a Smash Ultimate club. James, who has been the coach since the program’s founding, has watched it grow into its current format. Eastern High officially began competing in Fall 2019 and now has approximately 45 students participating on the esports team.
Popular titles that the team competes in include Rocket League, Overwatch, League of Legends, Smash Ultimate, Madden, and Splatoon. Through the PlayVs league, Eastern High School competes with a varsity team and a development team in Rocket League. They also have a varsity and junior varsity team for Smash Ultimate as these are two of the most popular games (and the two games in which they are most competitive.)
James shared that there are quite a few dedicated players on the team, noting that the program’s Discord is student-run. He added that they are great at moderating the channel and that they will soon be running the team’s social media accounts as well. Additionally, the team has numerous talented players who have helped lead the program. Freshman Rocket League player, Will, is a talented player who has helped to recruit other high-ranked players to the team. Another participant, De’Aire, is a senior Smash player who has quickly become one of the team’s best players.
Myles is a senior who wants what’s best for the team. James shared that he is easy to coach and that he has a very team-oriented mindset. He also helps make sure his teammates are on time to practice and ready for games, showing leadership skills that will continue to help him in gaming and beyond.
The team’s best Overwatch player is Jalani, but she isn’t just a great competitor, James shared that she has developed fantastic leadership skills in the two years that she has been on the team. She is an in-game shot caller and she has the confidence to help direct her teammates to the most advantageous locations.
Coach James noted that some of his students are interested in playing esports at the collegiate level and shared that some are even competing in Stay Plugged In’s Carry 2 College Recruiting Showcase this Spring to hopefully be noticed by collegiate recruiters. The team also has set the goal to make it to the playoffs this year, noting that some of their top competitors are Basis Charter School and the School Without Walls at Saint Francis. Recently, the Eastern high school program had the opportunity to visit and learn from the Washington Justice professional Overwatch team! They are looking to use the information they learned from The Justice to make a strong playoff push this season!
For more information about high school esports and how to be recruited, follow Stay Plugged In on social media. Plus, check out Eastern High School’s Twitter to learn more about the school and its esports program!