On Feb. 3, 2020, Fresno State officially introduced its esports program with a launch party in the Bulldog Zone.
Students, staff, faculty and others were in attendance for the unveiling of the first two esports rosters in history. Coordinator of the esports program, Jerry Gomez, opened up the party speaking about the history and his excitement creating the program.
“We are really excited. I think our players got the energy from the Fresno State community,” Gomez said. “I think that this is really going to pump them up to perform very well in their next matches.”
Not only were both the League of Legends (LOL) and Overwatch rosters and coaches were revealed, but the team’s jerseys were also revealed to the public. LOL and Overwatch’s head coaches both spoke on the team and their journey together since the initial formation of the teams.
Standing out in the Overwatch roster are two women players. To some, this came as a shock, and the audience gave a great round of applause once the players were shown on the introduction video for the Overwatch roster.
Syndey Ruppert, a support player on the Overwatch team, said that she expected some backlash but noted that people have been accepting when it comes to being in the male-dominated world of esports.
Yet, she noted that neither one of them are focusing on the sexism in the community but instead are eager to play and improve on themselves.
Other speakers from the launch party included Fresno State President Dr. Joseph I. Castro, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Carolynn Coon and Athletics director Terry Tumey.
Castro said he is looking forward to the future of the esports program.
“This program is going to enable Fresno State to tap into talented students who love esports for years to come,” said Castro. “Students who may not have looked at Fresno State as an option will now do that because we have esports here. I know that our players will be great ambassadors for Fresno State in order to get students from around the valley and beyond.”