Over the past few years the eSports has exploded on to the pop culture scene. Far gone are the days when playing video games was just a hobby - now, for some, it's a career. This holds true for the Colorado Rapids first-ever eMLS signing, Connor Buckley or 'Buck' for short.
Here are three things to know about the 23-year-old…
1. Soccer has always been a passion…
The Tempe, Arizona native has always been intrigued by the 'beautiful game.' He grew up playing club soccer which provided him the foundation to become a four-year varsity starter at Marcos de Niza High School. There he earned Tempe All-City, First Team All-Section, Frist Team All-South East Valley, and Second Team All-State accolades.
The midfielder earned a scholarship to play at Menlo College in Northern California after spending two seasons at Scottsdale Community College. In his two years at Menlo, he appeared in 36 games (23 starts) scoring six goals and five assists.
"I had the option to play semi-professionally but streaming and YouTube was what I wanted to do," said Buckley. "I'm so happy I found my way back to it."
Though Buckley hung up his boots, he knew that he would want to be involved in working with a professional club in the future.
"Being a FIFA streamer, my goal was always to stay involved with the sport and joining a club was my ultimate dream," Buckley said. "Becoming a professional eSports player and playing against a ton of my friends who have also signed for teams is an extremely exciting challenge that I'm ready for."
2. This isn’t his first rodeo…
Buckley's passion for film and content creation has ignited his career. He got started in the industry by uploading videos of soccer trick shots off mountains and across lakes to YouTube. As his following grew, he began landing features on local news stations, ESPN and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
"When I'm not playing eSports, I like to create YouTube videos and stream on Twitch," Buckley said.
Since joining in 2015 his YouTube channel Buck TV has taken off. With over 30K subscribers, Connor Buckley has opened up his journey to his eSports-crazy fans. He reviews FIFA players, covers all things FIFA Ultimate Team, participates in 'Search and Discard' challenges against other players and stays true to his roots with IRL (in real life) soccer challenges. Not to mention he has close to 79K Twitch.tv followers that tune in to watch him play each day.
3. If you do something you love…
During Buckley's final summer of college, he landed an internship at an investment firm. Working there gave him clarity that he wanted to become a Twitch partner and content creator above all other career paths.
"I really enjoyed streaming, so I thought eSports would be an awesome next step," Buckley said. "I gave myself a time table on content creation. I told myself that if I wasn't partnered on Twitch by December 1, when I graduated college, I would stop."
That timeline was just long enough for Buckley's dreams to come true. On November 9, he received an email that would change his foreseeable future.
"I got the email from Twitch that I was accepted to become a partner, and it was the best feeling in the world," Buckley said.
Following graduation, he moved home and asked his parents to give him six months to make a career out of Twitch full time to see if it could sustain his lifestyle.
"[In college] I would only come home maybe twice a year, so Twitch was the easiest way of my parents still seeing me," Buckley said. "They learned how awesome this site is and how passionate I am about it. They thought I had what it took when I asked for the six months and are both extremely proud of how far my channel has come."
Over the past 14 months that he's been with Twitch full-time he has become the second most subscribed FIFA streamer in America. In 2017, he was voted Red Bull's Favorite FIFA Streamer and captained Team Twitch at the inaugural Twitch Kappa Cup in London.
"All of it is owed to the amazing audience that I have," Buckley said. "They're unbelievably supportive of me in every aspect and have made the last 14 months incredible."