Rocket League, the game of soccer with jet-powered cars, is joining the ranks of the varsity esports at USC. Welcome, Gabriel “Lacayo” Lacayo, Anthony “Wordy” Duarte, Alex “Hammertime” Hemmerlein, Max “Paco516” Elgart, and Jack “JKDriven” Kandell as the members of this semester’s Rocket League team.

USC has not had an official Rocket League team until this semester, but a few students have been competing in collegiate and amateur tournaments under an unofficial banner with mixed results, but this semester they look to take it more seriously with a practice regimen and outreach to increase the number of people on their team.

Lacayo is a junior at USC and a long-standing member of the amateur team that preceded this semester. When he came to the university in 2018 he joined the small Rocket League community at the school when it was nothing more than a messenger group chat. Soon they would change it into a Discord server where anyone who played Rocket League at the school could join, although it wasn’t widely advertised.

“I think compared to the other games, Rocket League seems to have a smaller community of players so it’s more difficult to find other Rocket League players at USC. We’ve also not done a good enough job in doing outreach which is something I want to change this school year,” he said.

The majority of their play together was during the Friday game-nights that the SC Esports club would hold every week. While it was a good place to make friends and play casually, limiting the amount they played together to once a week wasn’t conducive to winning.

The team competed in tournaments held by the Collegiate Rocket League, Collegiate Carball Association, Collegiate Star League, Electronic Gaming Federation, and a tournament held by UCLA last semester. However, the team hasn’t had great success, but Lacayo and the rest of the team are looking to change that.

“A new thing we’re doing this semester is weekly practices on Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday night to improve our overall skill and synergy with each other.”

The team will be competing this upcoming Sunday in the first qualifier of the Collegiate Rocket League season. There won’t be an official stream for the Qualifier but a member of our team will stream independently, so keep an eye out for the link to that stream on our Twitter.