Toronto FC signs Canadian FIFA 18 player Philip Balke to eMLS team

Toronto FC GM Tim Bezbatchenko posing with new TFC eMLS athlete Philip Balke (@torontofc/Twitter)

Having won the Supporters’ Shield, Canadian Championship and MLS Cup Toronto FC capped off its 2017 season with a historic treble.

In 2018, however, they’ll be challenging for even more.

This coming season, TFC won’t only be in the running for the overall MLS league championship, the Canadian championship and Champions League. The club will also be competing on the virtual pitch of EA Sports FIFA 18.

On Tuesday, TFC announced the signing of its first-ever esports athlete, Philip “FilthyP94” Balke.

Balke is a former semi-pro footballer who is already a signed Red Bull esports FIFA player. This past summer, he was a semifinalist in the 2017 FIFA Interactive World Cup as Canada’s representative.

The Woodbridge, Ont., native will represent TFC in the eMLS, a new competitive EA Sports FIFA league that was announced in mid-January.

Nineteen of the 23 existing MLS teams will participate in the eMLS, with the inaugural eMLS Cup to take place at gaming convention PAX East in Boston from April 5-8.

This league is similar to the forthcoming NBA 2K League in that it’s an officially sanctioned esports league setup by an existing sports league, but it differs in that it’ll just be an individual player representing one team as opposed to five players each playing an individual position as it is in the 2K League.

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