NDSU esports team combines competition with friendship

rocket league

At NDSU, everyone can find their niche as they explore new, exciting opportunities.

The recently-organized Rocket League Team of NDSU is a great example. This fall, the team joined about 270 student organizations at the university, giving students a thrilling way to take part in the rapidly developing world of esports.

Rocket League is a video game played on a consoles and personal computers. Tournaments are held online in three-on-three competitions, along with recreational play and intra-campus games.

“It’s essentially a virtual soccer game played with jet-propelled cars in a box-type arena. It’s cool stuff, played either alone or with teammates,” said Hunter Klaes, the team’s president. “I love it. The competition level is intense, and the game is designed for everybody who enjoys video games.”

The student-led team is looking for new members, ranging from beginners to experienced gamers. While the competition factor is key, other important priorities for the group are team building and nurturing lasting friendships.

“Most of these guys search for other people to play with, and our team members gain access to an entire community of other players,” said Klaes, a sophomore from Rochester, Minnesota, majoring in strategic communication. “In the evening after our classes are done, we get together to practice, play and get ready for the next tournament. We’re seeing people clicking at every level – players eating together in the dining center or meeting to just hang out. They can go back to play Rocket League in their residence hall, but still be talking with each other in a chat room. When they see each other walking on campus, they smile and wave.”

In the years ahead, Klaes hopes the team becomes a more formalized group, with a long range goal of offering scholarships to attract esports enthusiasts to NDSU.

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