Mouad Zwed may have cut a brash figure when he entered the E-League, but the 27-year-old knows that the challenges of juggling ESports, the NPL and the real world isn't as easy as it looks.
Zwed is one of 22 gamers representing the 11 A-League clubs in the third iteration of the E-League in 2020, set to partner up Victory’s new PlayStation representative Rick Tran across the two match-days and finals.
A three-year E-League veteran, he entered the competition in its debut year as Victory’s PlayStation representative, partnering then-injured Victory A-League player Mitch Austin.
That entrance into the public eye was certainly a memorable one, with the then-25-year-old thanking Victory for signing him over higher-ranked FIFA players by bombastically declaring that “that person probably spends 16 hours a day in a dark room playing nothing but video games – I’ve got far more to offer than that and I’m going to represent the club in the best possible manner.”
And though there was no doubt there was a significant element of Conor McGregor like showmanship in his 2018 vocabulary, three years as an E-Athlete seems to have given Zwed a new perspective.
Preparing to fly to Sydney for the 2020 iteration of the competition, he was significantly less rambunctious in his observations of E-League athletes.
“Being an E-athlete from my experience takes a lot of hard work and dedication,” Zwed explained to FTBL.
“Not only you have to be mentally strong, but you have to have a good routine and be in good physical shape to be at your best game.
“Consistent and intense game sessions take a lot out of E-athletes with the amount of concentration needed. Its mentality draining so having a healthy lifestyle makes a good E-athlete.
“By a healthy lifestyle, I mean putting the hours of practice while having enough hours of sleep and eating right – it makes a massive difference in the long run.
“A lot of people lack the understanding of the hard work and dedication it takes to be a top E-athlete. To be honest with you, I don’t even consider myself one!”
Also a representative of Kingston City in NPL Victoria – Zwed is the only high-level footballer competing in the E-League in 2020 – Zwed played a key role as Victory secured the E-League’s 2019 Premiership, scoring the fastest ever 'El Tornado' goal in round four.
“I’m currently balancing football, FIFA and a full-time job, having a full-time job gives me a daily routine,” he said.