Game on! CPP students showcase esports skills in FIFA tournament

By Alexander Novoa, Dec. 12, 2023

The game room at Cal Poly Pomona buzzed with excitement Friday, Nov. 17, as ASI hosted a FIFA 23 tournament for CPP student gamers and soccer fans.

Five CPP students participated in a single-player bracket tournament to showcase their esports skills, competing for the top prize of a $25 Bronco Bucks gift card.

ASI has incorporated competitive gaming into campus culture by organizing various video game tournaments in the past. These events allow students to relieve stress from their busy school schedules and showcase their gaming talents.

ASI supervisor Anthony Shen emphasized the diverse range of esports competitions that go beyond the traditional sports tournaments held on campus every semester, catering to different interests and skill levels.

“We already had a Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. tournament,” said Shen. “We also had a variety of different non-traditional games like billiards and spikeball. Next semester, we usually have Madden and NBA 2K tournaments, so we try to cycle through all the games for both semesters.”

Matches were played on the Xbox console and consisted of the standard FIFA settings: six-minute halves, world-class difficulty with both injuries and offsides turned on. Players were allowed to choose any team with up to three player substitutions.

The first game started with computer engineering student Jeffrey Gomringer going up against business student Allan Stokes. Gomringer selected the French national team and Stokes went with England.

Gomringer confidently took charge of the game from the get-go, executing his strategy, scoring three goals in the first 18 minutes and securing a commanding 7-0 lead by halftime before ultimately ending the game 9-1 against Stokes.

“I have been playing FIFA since elementary school, but I started playing more of Ultimate Team around freshman year of high school, and I think that’s when I started getting better,” said Gomringer. “This game, I didn’t know how he was going play. I started scoring goals and became more confident, but I can’t be too confident throughout the tournament.”

Stokes earned a chance for redemption when he was moved to play against CPP student Johnny Quintana due to an uneven player bracket. Quintana chose Paris Saint-Germain Football Club while Stokes switched to Manchester United F.C.

Both players came out swinging early in the match, exchanging threatening shots back and forth. Quintana scored the first goal and took the lead going into the half, but Stokes made a comeback in the second half, tying the game 1-1 in the 51st minute. As the clock counted down to the final seconds, Stokes managed to score the winning goal, securing the victory with a final score of 2-1 and eliminating Quintana.

As the tournament went on, engineering students Samuel Kala and Ivan Guerrero played a game on the second console to determine who would play Gomringer.

Kala chose Arsenal F.C. as his team, while Guerrero selected Liverpool F.C. As the two teams took the field, the game was evenly matched, with both sides playing skillfully. Kala finally broke through Liverpool’s defense, scoring the first goal before the first half ended, followed by three more goals after the half, resulting in a 4-0 victory.

Kala highlighted that he found the game against Guerrero challenging because he does not play on the Xbox console.

“I’m not an Xbox player, I play on the PS5, so it was super difficult,” said Kala. “The layouts are pretty much the same, but there was a problem with the control settings, so it wasn’t that easy, but I managed.”

Only Kala and Gomringer remained to compete against each other to decide who would move forward to the final game against Stokes.

Kala scored twice in the first half, but Gomringer’s strategic substitutions and formation change tied the game 2-2 in the second half. Kala ultimately scored the winning goal in extra time, ending the game 3-2.

As the final game approached, Stokes and Kala remained determined to continue their winning streak. They stuck with their original teams for the final match: Manchester United F.C. vs Arsenal F.C., respectively.

Before the game began, both players adjusted their lineups, aiming to gain the upper hand against one another. The intensity grew as both teams went head-to-head, with neither side giving an inch at the start of the match.

The game remained goalless until the 19th minute when Kala finally broke through and scored the first goal. He went on to score two more by the 60th minute, taking a 3-0 lead. Stokes managed to score one goal as the game came to an end, but fell short in the final seconds, resulting in Kala winning the tournament.

“Everybody played very good,” said Kala. “I just tried to play like usual by waiting, adapting and taking my time. This was also my first tournament, so it was a fun experience.”

Feature image by Alexander Novoa

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