November was a trying month in so many ways I don’t even need to list them because they have been in our face every day. These circumstances that test our mettle and resolve have also made me grateful for the individuals I have met in high school and college esports and their willingness to help me grow and thrive as a professional and as a person.
At the heart of NAECAD is the desire to “Equip to Lead” and doing this in a way that helps each NAECAD member connect with other like-minded professionals that want the best for their student athletes and for their esports program. As we build this network of committed, enthusiastic, passionate, and talented individuals we need to be reminded each day that the best way to succeed is to help each other when they need it the most. So, as we celebrate Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays, know that NAECAD is your association, and we are here to help you in any way we can to prosper, even in the most difficult times. So, let us know how we can help you and your esports program!
All the best,
Executive Director, NAECAD
OMEN by HP has been a committed partner of NAECAD right from its inception. They saw the need for professional development of individuals committing to lead programs and wanted to be a part of an association that would “Equip to Lead!” The Omen series features laptops, desktops, and accessories targeted across different price ranges, from cheaper notebooks up to higher-end towers for serious esports programs with solid budgets. Their signature Omen laptop includes a unique design packed with all the necessary specifications so that your players can game from wherever they please.
Check Omen by HP out here - https://naecad.org/esports-program-development/
Each month, players are nominated by NAECAD members only and are voted on by the NAECAD Advisory Committee coaches and directors. One Player of the Month will be recognized each month (September – April). Nominations for October Player of the Month are due November 1st so make sure you nominate a well deserving player! Without further ado, we are happy to announce that Carson Fitzgerald of Baker University, Baldwin City, KS, has been named the college NAECAD Player of the Month for October 2020. Jonathan Trameri of Edgewood High School, Madison, WI, has been named the high school NAECAD Player of the Month for October 2020 the NAECAD national office announced Monday.
Okay first question: tell us how you got into gaming and esports? Coach Ebel talks very highly of you!
“I got into gaming by watching my older brother play. After watching him, I started playing myself and joined a team for league of legends in high school but not with my high school. Then, when I heard rumors about an esports program being created at Baker, I immediately reached out to coach and helped where I could to get the program going.”
Oh yeah, that's a win win for everyone and getting into a program early is always fun because you get to help lay the foundation. What was the team you joined in high school if you don't mind me asking? I'm always curious about early esports clubs or the like.
“Yeah, I was on League KC's team, Royal KC before it became Azio esports. I quit before then to focus on Tennis and Soccer, but they went on to do well in the pro scene. It was a big community, lots of fun, and we went to smaller tournaments. Then it combined with Rektgg or something from Oklahoma.
That’s awesome! If your good at something why not go all in right? Okay second question: So you play games for Baker University, what do you like most about the program?
“I’d say the best part is my teammates and the community. Everyone is always asking about esports, what we do and who we are playing. My teammates go out of their way to make twitch clips, record stats, and those on different titles step up to try and shout cast /prepare the twitch to look official for any matches!”
Your teammates are stepping up because of leaders like yourself so keep it up! What is one of the highlights of your esports career so far?
“I forget i think it was a one vs two or one vs three operator clutch where I got a collateral on Valorant to win a round. Or, a zero second aerial goal to win the series in rocket league. I wish I remembered against which team.”
Okay last question: What are you looking forward to the rest of the season and do you have any esports related plans beyond college?
“Plans wise, no. I have a full-time job lined up, but I’ve got a new desktop setup coming in Saturday. I cannot wait! Other than that, I’m just hoping we can make a good run to win a tourney and some cash in Rocket League or Valorant! I think we have a good chance.”
Aquinas College is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was started in the Fall of 2019. Aquinas’s 24-station esports lab makes room for 30 players as they participate in League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Adam Antor is the full-time Head Esports Coach at the college and his responsibilities include overseeing game coaches, recruiting and administrative tasks. They employ volunteer game coaches for each game and their responsibilities are more player oriented with team and player development.
In the Fall of 2019. Aquinas esports took a huge leap with some alternative coaching methods. Adam Antor said, “Our program's biggest challenge and accomplishment was the NACE Rocket League semi-finals in Fall 2019. We found ourselves down in the series, with our backs against the wall. Looking back at the training we did with a sports and performance psychologist earlier in the semester, our team dug deep and came back to earn a trip to the National Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.”
Aquinas keeps busy during the week. Antor outlines the schedule and said, “Our normal week during seasons of competition includes 2-3 practices for each team along with 2-3 matches. Our students have access to our on-campus esports lab and many use that space in their free time to unwind from their academic responsibilities.”
The Aquinas College esports program hopes to continue to be a part of the national conversation regarding collegiate esports by “continually pushing the envelope to showcase what it means to be an Aquinas Saint,” said Antor.
The NAECAD Certification Program (NAECAD-CP) provides quality and accessible professional development for competitive esports coaches and directors. The NAECAD-CP creates a context of professional development to assist organizations hiring high school, college, and professional level esports coaches and directors and formalizes learning levels to be recognized within the competitive esports ecosystem.
Since the launch of the NAECAD-CP in June 2020, over 420 sessions have been completed by NAECAD members. Seventeen members have completed the Learning Level 1 Certification, nine members have completed the Learning Level 2 Certification, 7 members have completed the Learning Level 3 Certification, 4 members have completed the Learning Level 4 Certification and two members have completed the Learning Level 5 Certification.
NAECAD members assist in curriculum and assessment development for courses offered in NAECAD–CP. The curriculum and assessments are created to help esports coaches and directors attain a level of learning and proficiency in competencies needed to be successful in their sport and with their student athletes.
NAECAD-CP courses are delivered on a state-of-the-art mobile platform allowing coaches and directors to learn any place and at any time. NAECAD members have exclusive access to this learning platform. The NAECAD also provides tools and resources for content developers to create quality professional development courses to be added to the list of topics available for coaches and directors to advance in the certification program and to provide current, relevant learning in the evolving world of competitive esports.
Credits for each session completed are stored on an electronic transcript and certificates are sent to each member after successfully completing a Learning Level. The NAECAD-CP provides members with an organized way to track their professional development and share that evidence of commitment when needed for career progress and opportunities.
Learn more about the NAECAD-CP - https://naecad.org/esports-certification-program/
The 4th Annual NAECAD Clinic, Hosted by Grand View University, and OMEN by HP will be held virtually on March 3-5, 2021. Please save the date and make plans now to register for this annual gathering to learn from the top coaches and directors in the country. This clinic will have over 40 sessions to help those that are just beginning a program to those that have well established programs at both the high school and university level.
The first member to @TheNAECAD on Twitter with the correct answer will win some FREE swag!
The Question: How many more college and university varsity esports programs existed in 2018 than 2016?