A Quick Look
New York City FC’s first eSports player Chris Holly travelled to London for the first-ever FIFA Interactive Club World Cup (FICWC), a FIFA tournament made up of players who represent pro soccer clubs.
Holly, one of only two non-European players at the tournament, defeated some of Europe’s toughest competition to finish as runner-up in the Playstation Division and returns to the U.S with a prize fee of $2500.
The Playstation division was split into two groups of six and Chris topped his with an impressive points tally of 10 from a possible 15.
His relentless flurries of intricate attacking moves left European players reeling, they weren’t used to Chris’ style which he believes worked in his favour.
Holly told NYCFC.com: “Europeans love to play down the wings compared to Americans who try to be more tricky and play down the middle. Both are very good styles.
“Their defenses were very hard to break down but what really helped me win my games were my long-shots. The Europeans don’t take long-shots that often and maybe they didn’t expect that, so I made us of that.”
Chris settled in quickly with a 1-0 win over Nicolò ‘Insa' Mirrà of Italian soccer giants, AS Roma, but what followed would be a true test: former FIWC champion and one of the favorites to win the tournament, PSG’s August ‘Agge’ Rosenmeier.
Unfazed, Chris continued to put Agge’s defence under immense pressure and his attacking play was rewarded with two goals in quick succession to mount a sensational comeback, bringing the score to 3-3 after he was 3-1 down.
That result gave Chris a huge confidence boost. He cruised through to a pair of 3-0 victories over Sporting Lisbon’s Francisco ‘Quinzas’ Cruz and Schalke 04’s Lukas ‘Idealz’ Schmandt despite stumbling in-between those games with a 2-1 defeat to Dutch club Heracles’ Bryan Hessing.
It didn’t get any easier for Chris either as next he had the Playstation semi-final against Ajax’s Dani Hagebeuk; one of the best players in the world who was in-fact the only player at the tournament who had already qualified for the FIWC.
Following a tight cagey first leg which Chris won 1-0, the second leg was a very open affair with plenty of goals. As usual, Chris took an early lead but this time Dani responded with two goals to make it 2-2 on aggregate and put the momentum in the Dutchman’s favour.
However, Chris again showed nerves of steel and responded with two more goals himself, bringing the second leg score to 3-2. Dani found a late equalizer but Chris still had the advantage with an aggregate score of 4-3.
Sadly, he couldn’t replicate that form in the Playstation final, losing 4-2 against the impressive Marcus ‘ExpectSporting’ Jørgensen of Brøndby IF who went on to win the entire tournament.
Chris’s tight loss was still impressive considering ExpectSporting dispatched Agge 6-1 in his semi-final and became grand champion with a staggering 8-5 result against Lyon’s Fouad ‘Rafsou’ Fares.
Although he missed out on qualification for the grand finals, Holly’s amazing display in his first season as a professional FIFA player suggests that he has a very bright future ahead of him and he will be hoping to finally win a title once FIFA 18, the next instalment in the series, releases in just under two months’ time.