MLS expansion club Charlotte FC has signed Khaled Ali as its first esports athlete, who is already scheduled to compete for them in the 2022 eMLS season this winter. Ali, who currently competes under the gamer tag “kmali97”, burst onto the competitive FIFA scene in 2021, finishing the year, based on FIFA regional leaderboards, as the 13th best PS4 player in the United States. He also ranked 27th across all of North America during the same timeframe.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play FIFA at the professional level and I look forward to competing for Charlotte FC in the upcoming eMLS season,” said Ali. “Being able to represent the Carolinas, the place I call home in the United States is an incredible honor. This is an exciting chance for me to show my skills to a wider audience and I hope to bring as much success as possible home to our amazing fans.”
Ali, who was born in New York, grew up in Jordan where he found a love for soccer at an early age. He moved back to the United States to attend college at North Carolina State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. While in Raleigh, he began focusing on excelling at FIFA during the pandemic, leading to his breakout 2021 season.
The eMLS has been a premier North American esports league since its launch in 2018. Players representing clubs from across Major League Soccer compete in a series of three tournaments – League Series One, League Series Two, and eMLS Cup – to crown a champion. Depending on performance in both eMLS and general online FIFA competition, players can qualify for regional Global Series Playoffs with the ultimate goal of reaching the FIFAe World Cup and being crowned the best FIFA player in the world.