West Ham Esports' FIFA 22 Global Series explained
There’s a good chance that, if you’re a regular in picking up your controller and blasting out a few virtual football games in your downtime, you’d back yourself in a game of EA SPORTS’ FIFA 22.
Playing online is a fun way to unwind for many casual FIFA players - until, of course, the game’s servers match you up with a player from its professional sphere.
West Ham Esports have two such players on their roster this season – teenagers Alfie ‘AC RedLac’ Calder and ‘Tjardo’ Paliama – competing at the highest level of FIFA gaming.
And while in professional Esports, less physical emphasis is placed on elite players, there are certainly a myriad of high-pressure mental demands which separate the best from the rest.
As any casual FIFA player can tell you, it’s a simple enough feat to win three or four online games in a row. It is considerably harder to win ten, fifteen or twenty back-to-back.
So with FIFA 22 now several months old, let’s take a look at the global circuit that the young Hammers, RedLac and Tjardo, are competing on this season, which is split this season into Solo (1v1) and Duo (2v2) tournaments and played exclusively on PlayStation5.
As always, the Global Series remains open to every player who formally registered before 31 December… so if that’s you, and with the right slice of luck, you too could theoretically join them on the grand stage!
Becoming an Elite player
Ultimate Team’s Division Rivals mode is the chosen mechanic for Global Series eligibility this season, with players needing to be in the Elite Tier of the game mode – and earn enough points each season – to enter the FGS Open and FGS Qualifiers.
That in itself requires competitors to rack up a significant number of victories online, admittedly in a non-time pressured environment, against the best players on the continent – professional players can expect to play into the hundreds of Division Rivals games alone, requiring tens of hours of dedicated playtime each week.
The Solo Global Series
To reduce lag or latency between players, each competition this season will first be played within regions, with RedLac – based in England – competing in ‘Europe West’ and Tjardo – in the Netherlands – in ‘Europe East’.
The culmination of the Solo Global Series is the FIFAe World Cup, a 1v1 competition which takes place every summer and, attracting the top performers from across the globe, one which requires consistent excellence across qualification events all season to reach.
Due to the global pandemic, the last two iterations of the tournament finals have been cancelled, with German PlayStation player Mohammed ‘MoAuba’ Harkous the most recent champion, in 2018.
This season, four online ‘qualifier’ tournaments from each region will take place, at which players will earn Global Series Points towards their regional rankings.
At the end of the season, the top-ranked players in the leaderboard – plus those who perform well in partner leagues including the eChampions League and ePremier League – will go into 128-player FGS Play-Offs, which take place 1-3 July, before the top 32 performers in that competition advance to the FIFAe World Cup.
The Hammers have already played their first Qualifier of the season: RedLac attained a Top 32 finish in Europe West and picked up 75 valuable FGS points, whilst Tjardo was eliminated narrowly before he entered a point-scoring placement in Europe East.
The remaining three Qualifier tournaments take place on 12-13 February; 16-17 April; and late May-early June (date TBC).
The eChampions League online qualifiers took place last month, with both RedLac (reaching match seven) and Tjardo (reaching match four) eliminated on the opening day of competition as just 16 players advanced from each region.
ePremier League qualification, meanwhile, is ongoing, with any player still able to sign up for the chance to represent West Ham United – so go ahead!
The Duos Global Series
This season, with FIFA 22 offering a renewed focus on co-operative play, 2v2 competitions have been introduced to the Global Series to run alongside the traditional eClub World Cup competition.
The FIFA Global Series Open is a series of 16 online tournaments which took place in mid-December 2021, with West Ham Esports qualifying as one of 128 teams to enter the Paris Open courtesy of RedLac’s strong Division Rivals record as team captain.
There, the Hammers won three of their five opening games to advance to the second day of the competition, picking up particularly impressive wins over the likes of Esports teams Go Forward and AS Monaco, and only losing to renowned team PSG Esports on penalties.
In the knockout rounds, however, RedLac and Tjardo found it harder to resume their prior form, falling to successive defeats to Team Respect and FUTWIZ to suffer elimination from the 2v2 Global Series events.
That does not end West Ham’s participation in 2v2 events, however; the 16 winners from these Global Series Open will go on to compete for the Team of the Year Cup later this month.
The winners of this regional tournament, in turn, will qualify in turn for the inter-regional Team of the Season Cup – as will a specified number of qualifiers from an open tournament later this season, through which RedLac and Tjardo may yet qualify in-person.
Continuing to ramp up, the winners of the Team of the Year and Team of the Season Cup will advance to the ultimate 2v2 stage: the FIFA eClub World Cup 2022, the pinnacle of team play in FIFA... but that's not the only route through which West Ham Esports might reach it.
eClub World Cup qualifiers
With RedLac based in Europe West, and Tjardo in Europe East, West Ham Esports – in partnership with Team Bundled, our Esports partner – are entering separate teams into each region’s 2022 eClub World Cup qualifiers.
RedLac will partner with close friend Joseph ‘Royal Funky’ Crown, a Royal Mail postman who represented Southampton in last season’s ePremier League Finals.
Tjardo, meanwhile, will team up with Leroy Miggels, a rising Dutch talent who represents RKC Waalwijk in the Netherlands’ eDivisie, and who finished 119th in Europe in Season 1 of FIFA 22 Division Rivals.
The online qualifiers for the eClub World Cup consist of separate ‘Conferences’ in each of the regions, with a maximum of three ‘Divisions’ per ‘Conference’ – clubs able to be promoted and relegated between these divisions each week.
Seeded, RedLac and RoyalFunky will start their eClub World Cup qualifiers in February, initially placed in Division 2 of Conference 1 where they will compete with seven other sides, including the Esports divisions of Danish sides Lyngby BK, Aalborg BK and FC Midtjylland. Tjardo’s team has yet to be allocated a Division.
Throughout four weeks of qualifying mini-tournaments, clubs can be relegated or promoted from their division based on their performance in weekly double-elimination brackets.
Teams in the lower divisions will be eliminated before week 3 and 4 – so it’s important to remain in the upper echelons of your Conference to retain a chance of qualifying.
As per last year, Consistency Points will be awarded for each team’s performance in their Division each week, meaning that to qualify for the next round – the FIFA eClub Playoffs – West Ham will need to perform consistently well each week, or finish highly in the final round of games.
From the FIFAe Club Playoffs, only the top clubs qualify for the pinnacle event: the FIFAe Club World Cup 2022, taking place in summer 2022. There, they will be joined by other clubs, qualifying from the FUT Team of the Year Cup and the FUT Team of the Season Cup respectively.
It’s a long road ahead, with many FIFA matches to be played between now and August…
… but with hundreds of thousands in prize pools waiting to be won, and armed with two top-class FIFA players, it may yet be West Ham’s year to lift the World Cup once more.
The journey to global glory for the Irons has already begun.