Columbus Crew's Graham Ellix is back as the Black & Gold's Esports competitor for the 2021 season, the Club announced today in conjunction with Major League Soccer and Electronic Arts' release of the 2021 competitive schedule and new online format of eMLS, Major League Soccer's Esports league.
Ellix, who qualified for last season's eMLS Cup after winning the 2020 Last Chance Qualifier tournament, has been playing FIFA professionally since 2008. In addition to competing in eMLS League Series 1, League Series 2, and eMLS Cup last year, Ellix represented the Crew at eMLS Cup in 2018, at the eMLS 24-Hours of FIFA Kick Childhood Cancer Charity Fundraiser in 2019, and in a 2019 eMLS Heineken Rivalry Week event.
Ellix is ranked as an Elite 1 Player and has been amongst the Top 100 players for FIFA Ultimate Team Champions.
This year's event formatting is set to be all virtual and comprised of three live-streamed tournaments that each take place over the span of two days, with eMLS League Series 1 on Jan. 16-17 and League Series 2 on Feb. 13-14 marking the first two primary events leading up the 2021 eMLS Cup.
2021 eMLS Season Schedule:
- Jan. 16-17 – League Series One
- Feb. 13-14 – League Series Two
- March 20-21 – eMLS Cup
Ahead of each League Series, all 27 Clubs will play in online qualifier games. For League Series 1, each player will play 14 qualifier games, with the top eight players set to compete in the League Series 1 tournament the following day. It's a similar format for League Series 2, as each player will play 12 qualifier games, with the top eight players advancing to the League Series 2 tournament the next day. Each tournament contains a $15,000 prize pool.
Following the conclusion of League Series, the top 11 Clubs in total points will automatically qualify for eMLS Cup.
The remaining 16 Clubs will compete in the Last Chance Qualifier tournament, which will be held on March 16-17, to determine the 12th and final Club to qualify for eMLS Cup on March 20-21.
This year's eMLS Cup features a $40,000 prize pool as part of the two-leg, single-elimination format. Notably, the top three finishers receive direct seats to the EA Sports PS4 Global Series North America Regional Playoffs.