Loudoun United FC’s new signee, midfielder Brandon Williamson, won’t be able to step onto the pitch again at Segra Field for a while. He played in one match against Philadelphia Union II before social
But he’s taking the field online—in the video game Rocket League, against players from other United Soccer League teams across the country, raising money for charity in games aired on ESPN. It’s the USL eCup: Rocket League Edition.
He alone will represent Loudoun in best-of-three, one-on-one competitions in a game described as “soccer, but with rocket-powered cars.” And the tournament will help raise money for charities—in Loudoun, the Loudoun Tourism & Hospitality Relief Fund created by the Visit Loudoun Foundation and the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. That will support employees in the hospitality industry who have been laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know it’s hurting everybody pretty bad,” Williamson said.
The relief fund will solicit donations from fans tuned into the broadcasts and the tournament over the next month.
Williamson said he was chosen in part because he happened to be playing the game when the team captain asked if anyone plays.
“I’m like, ‘yeah, I’m playing right now’—thinking he wants to play with me,” Williamson said. He didn’t realize at the time he was signing up to play in a nationally-broadcast tournament.
On the soccer pitch, Williamson is a formidable player and a little bit of a hometown hero—a product of D.C. United Academy, he went on to train at Inter Milan Academy in Italy and then played at Duke University, where he scored four goals and notched four assists. He was recognized as ACC Offensive Player of the Week, scoring two goals in a 2-1 victory over Notre Dame, named to the All-ACC second team and the All-South region third team, and was voted Duke’s most valuable player.
He signed with Loudoun United in February.
In Rocket League, he is cautiously optimistic going into his first match.
“I’m so interested to see the level of people,” Williamson said. “I’m guessing there are some people who are going to be really good. I’d say I’m decent. I got into it from my friends that play, and they’re all way better than me.”
Williamson’s first match will be Thursday, April 2 at 5 p.m., which will be aired on the ESPN app and EPSN.com.
The USL on ESPN Game of the Week broadcast team of Mike Watts and Devon Kerr will provide commentary for every game of the tournament. The tournament’s broadcasts will be produced by USL Productions, the league’s state-of-the-art broadcast production, broadcast and distribution facilities with VISTA Worldlink in south Florida.
“We are excited our first esports venture will be brought to fans on ESPN’s digital platforms,” stated USL Sr. Vice President, Digital, Emerging Technology & Strategy Lizzie Seedhouse. “While we can’t wait to see our teams return to action on the field, this tournament will serve as a fun diversion that does a tremendous amount of good in communities across North America.”
Learn more about the USL eCup: Rocket League Edition at uslchampionship.com/ecup.