eSports club welcomes casual, competitive audiences


Drew Coffey

Marcello Woltmann, a senior sport management major and president of the Eastern Illinois University esports team, finishes playing an Overwatch 2 deathmatch match Tuesday evening in the eSports Arena in the Student Recreation Center.

Drew Coffey, Reporter

At Eastern Illinois University, there are many clubs and organizations to join. Whether that be chess, Spanish, astronomy, or any of the other sports clubs.  

But what if there was a sports club where someone does not have to leave your chair?  

The answer to that question is short: eSports. 

The Eastern eSports club is a student-led organization where members get together each week to play various video games.  

The club started in 2018 and was temporarily inactive due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to the president of the club Marcello Woltmann, a four-year sports management major, the club is an opportunity for players to relax and connect with others who enjoy video games.  

“If you want to be competitive, we have that option for you, but our main focus is casual fun,” Woltmann said. “Getting together, building relationships, becoming better teammates, and better forming bonds with people that we play games with.”  

Woltmann said he joined the club his freshman year in 2019 and was immediately hooked.  

“I didn’t even know it existed,” Woltmann said. “I came up and I somehow came the day there was a meeting and I fell in love with the club right that day.”  

The group plays a variety of games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, Overwatch 2, Valorant, Rainbow Six Siege, and Minecraft. (Drew Coffey)

Magnus Gustafsson, a freshman digital media technology major and member of the eSports club, said that he also found the club early in his time at Eastern. 

“I wanted to join a group or something and what caught my eye during the Pantherpalooza was eSports,” Gustafsson said. “I like video games so I was wanting to try to get that competitive edge in them because I’ve always played them casually and I was like, ‘It would be really fun to join a group full of people who share the same interest and have a driving force and commitment to being in a club.’”  

Although Gustafsson is relatively new to the eSports club, he said that being around the same people and having fun are his favorite moments of the organization already this year.  

“I guess just someone makes a play or something doesn’t work out,” Gustafsson said. “It’s just funny because everyone makes mistakes and it’s just funny to see that we’re all human. Mistakes make [us] who we are.”  

While the club is primarily aimed at playing around the same people, it also offers the opportunity to play outside of Eastern.  

“Some of our teams play against other schools,” Woltmann said. “My sophomore year here I was on the “Call of Duty” team, and we competed against other schools like [University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign] and [schools in] Iowa so a lot of big-name schools.”  

Woltmann said that a big priority of the club is to encourage others on campus to join.  

“We’re doing social media, but we talk in our meetings about getting flyers with QR codes to join our discord server to promote and put them around school after we get them approved,” Woltmann said.  

According to Gustafsson, he is eager to see the eSports organization grow for the rest of his college career and in the future.  

“I really hope to kind of see this community grow because with regular sports, it’s obviously a physical ability and not everyone has that ability,” Gustafsson said. “eSports is a great opportunity for anyone to join and I really hope to see that opportunity for more people to make friends, hang out, and build a community.”  


Drew Coffey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].