Four-time Pro Bowl running back and Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame inductee Ahman Green has a new job: esports coach at Wisconsin’s Lakeland University.

While this may come as a surprise to those only familiar with his professional football career, Green has been a long-time advocate of gaming and esports, building on a love of video games he had since he was a child playing Madden and Tecmo Bowl. Currently, Green’s personal game of choice is Halo 5: Guardians, and he is eagerly anticipating the release of Halo Infinite.

ESPN Daily newsletter: Sign up now!

“The tournaments and competition have always been there,” Green said through email of esports’ recent growth. “In the last decade, big business has learned enough about Esports to understand how to make money in different ways and with that interest, the growth has multiplied exponentially.”

After his retirement from the NFL, Green hosted an esports talk show, True Game Fans Network. His favorite professional esports to watch are Counterstrike: Global Offensive and Madden. The industry has ballooned since Green began talking about it on the radio, with many traditional sports athletes and teams becoming investors or more directly involved in esports, particularly in franchised leagues like the League of Legends Championship Series or the Overwatch League.

“More people and places are talking about Esports and making it a focus of discussion and making more content about esports everywhere,” Green said. “The NFL, NBA and other business industries are paying attention to the popularity of esports and with that attention esports will continue to grow.”

Lakeland University is a liberal arts school in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Their esports program will cover several competitive games, including League of Legends, Overwatch, Paladins, Rocket League, Smite, Fortnite, CS:GO and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. As coach of the entire esports program, Green hopes to instill some of the values and infrastructure he learned through his years in the NFL.

“As a former NFL Pro I can bring the skills like preparation, leadership and sportsmanship, which all can help you get better at your craft,” Green said. “Also, skills like practicing and reviewing game film and learning from your mistakes and getting better. We’ll also focus on becoming better at communication amongst the teams that we have at Lakeland University, and learning proper sportsmanship as an Esports athlete.”

As for skills that translate from traditional sports to esports, Green echoed the sentiments of other professional athletes that have moved into the esports space: hard work, dedication, and accountability are all key factors to success.

“Hard work in football & Esports mirror each other,” Green said. “Out-working your opponent can help win more games overall. Dedication is a skill that means you will do anything and everything to help your team win in a positive way. Hold yourself to be accountable. Individuals don’t win games … teams do. You must learn how to be accountable to the people around you.”

Source link