The ePremier League is the competition that every UK FIFA player has been waiting for.
Professional (and casual) players of EA Sport’s FIFA 19 have been battling it out to represent their favourite Premier League club at the ePremier League final taking place at the end of March.
Currently in the Club Playoff stage of the competition, 11 of the 20 Premier League teams have already chosen their Xbox One and PS4 representatives.
Owen ‘Venny’ Venn, a professional FIFA player for Team Method, recently secured his place in the finals alongside Reece Rusher representing Southampton FC.
For Venny, it wasn’t so much about the team who he would be playing for, but the chance to compete.
“I chose Southampton due to it being the closest Premier League football club to where I live,” he said.
“I live in Oxford, so I wanted to make sure the club was easy to get to, due to the Club Playoff itself being held in Southampton.”
Although not a die-hard supporter, the club’s proximity to his home wasn’t the only reason for choosing the Saints.
“For me, it’s not just about who I represent, from what I have seen and experienced with Southampton, they seem to be very keen on the esports scene,” he said.
“I have always respected the way Southampton have placed emphasis on building from their youth team.
“That a club will trust the talent which has come from the youth facilities instead of going out and splashing millions on big players is appealing to see”
When it came to the actual playoffs where Venny would be competing against top tier players from around the UK, the pro was confident in his abilities.
“I knew I was the best there I only had to prove it,” he said.
“The only thing making me nervous was the mental side of it all, as I put super high expectations on myself.”
Having put in around six hours a day into FIFA 19 since its release, Venny had a strict regime when it came to training for the playoffs to ensure his place for Southampton in the finals.
Venny explained, “With this being my full-time job, I am able to practice as much as I want, so that was a big bonus for me coming into the Club Playoffs.
“I have just started to consider physical activity such as going to the gym as part of my practice.
“I believe being physically fit and mentally healthy helps a lot out in-game for myself.
“I would say on average my practice adds up to eight hours a day.”
Despite Venny having put hundreds of hours into FIFA 19 (or perhaps because of it), he said he often found FIFA ‘super frustrating’.
“You see crazy clips of people breaking stuff etc, which is super funny, but I know how that can feel at times.” He said.
“What really stands out to me this year is the addition of timed finishing and keeper movement.
“I am actually very good at controlling both of these features, but I think it adds an inconsistent factor to the game and also a very cheesy feel to it as you can completely destroy someone with a nice passing, attacking move which should 100% be a goal.
“Then your opponent just moves the keeper the right way and they save it.”
With nine more Premier League teams yet to field players for the grand finals, Venny has yet to scope out the competition however will likely come up against some familiar faces.
Having previously competed in the Elite Series in 2018 for team Method, Venny has faced off against virtually every single pro-FIFA player around but he’s ruthless when it comes to competing.
“There were a few lads who I met there who were nice enough to chat to, but I was there for business and to make sure I qualified for the grand finals at the Gfinity arena,” he said with a stoney look in his eyes.
Venny’s best FIFA 19 tip
“I think this is a tip not just for FIFA but life in general,” the pro said.
“If you’re passionate about something, work your hardest, put time into what you’re doing, and you will see results.
“Most importantly, enjoy what you’re doing, because if you aren’t enjoying it then it’s going to make everything a lot harder to do.”
To find out more about FIFA 19 esports, please visit the Gfinity esports website