UNT students square off in intramural FIFA tournament
Down 3-1 with only a couple minutes to go, organization behavior and human resources junior Jesus Duran knew he had an uphill battle ahead of him if he wanted to defend his FIFA championship crown. As the clock dwindled down, Duran threw all of his team forward, hoping for a few last second goals.
He got one, but the equalizer never came.
As Duran looked on in agony, media arts freshman Ade Dina anxiously awaited the final virtual whistle so he could be crowned the new FIFA king of UNT.
“It’s kind of crazy because I talk a lot of crap and don’t really lose,” Dina said. “But I didn’t feel like I played the best people this tournament had.”
The championship match featured Arsenal and Juventus, with Dina opting for the Italian club. Both competitors exchanged goals early in the match, but Dina had the momentum on his side throughout and never relinquished it.
“In this FIFA you have to use a physical team,” Dina said. “There’s no way around it, and the team that stuck to me was Juventus.”
Hosted annually by the Pohl Recreational Center, the FIFA tournament is played on the PlayStation4, with 36 students coming out this past Thursday to battle for the title. To play, students had to sign up with IMLeagues.com before the start of the tournament.
Assistant director of intramural sport clubs Billy Mathew said the 36 students that showed up was a fraction of the number of people who actually registered.
“On IM Leagues there were about 70 people,” Mathew said.
Each game is single elimination with six minute halves. The camera is displayed with the Tele-Broadcast view and fatigue on. The majority of players opted to use powerhouse clubs like Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, but the two finalists opted for less popular selections in Arsenal and Juventus.
Mathew said these video game tournaments were originally started in hopes of bringing more people to the Rec Center.
“A lot of times it brings in participants who might not come to the Rec Center,” Mathew said. “So hopefully they get in here for this and know that they can use it for other things as well.”
For Dina and Duran, however, it was all about FIFA and claiming some bragging rights.
“We work together,” Dina said. “So when we heard about the tournament [Duran] mentioned that he was the defending champion. When we got to the [championship game] it was like ‘put your money where your mouth is and let’s see how good you really are.'”
Dina usually plays FIFA up to 15 hours per week, including weekend leagues where he plays upwards of 40 games so he can improve his numbers. After the loss in the finals, Duran said he believed the outcome would have been different if he passed better and had more possession.
He also said he had trouble moving the analog stick on his controller at times throughout the championship match, but did not place blame on a faulty controller.
“Sometimes I wanted to cut in, but the reception [of the controller] would be a second off,” Duran said. “By that time it was too late.”
Despite losing his title, Duran gave credit to Dina after the match.
“I believe we both have very similar styles,” Duran said. “He knew how to pass and knew when to adjust.”
In the semifinals, Dina won a tight match in overtime using the golden goal method, which meant that the first person to score wins. In regards to his game plan, Dina used a consistent approach for his opponents, which was to frequently go on the counter-attack and put them on their heels.
The strategy worked.
“I had to play faster than him,” Dina said. “[Duran] likes a lot of possession and I was able to have two counter attacks where I ended up scoring.”
After winning, Dina was rewarded with a PS4 copy of FIFA 17 and an intramural championship T-shirt. Even though he didn’t win back-to-back titles, Duran was glad he got the opportunity to compete.
And both Dina and Duran plan to be back next year to square off yet again.
“It hurts because I love sports and competitions and I do it for the love of competing,” Duran said. “I don’t get mad. I always shake my opponent’s hand before and after the game. In life you win some and you lose some, and I’ve been fortunate enough to win one.”
Featured Image: Students focus intensly as they play in a FIFA Tournament hosted by the Pohl Recreation Center Intramural Division on April 13. Sara Carpenter
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