MLS clubs are gearing up for the upcoming 2019 season — and in the past week, two Eastern Conference teams have looked toward the upcoming eSports season as well, locking players into contracts for competitions to include the 2019 eMLS Cup

For the Montreal Impact, it's a return of one of the best players from this past season. Lyes Ould-Ramoul, better known as LyesMTL, signed a contract extension for the FIFA 19 season which extends until November of 2019. 

Atlanta United, meanwhile, has signed their first eSports player — Hugo Hernandez, known as ratedhugo, who will represent the club in eMLS and FIFA 19 gaming events.

LyesMTL reached the final of the first ever eMLS Cup and participated in the EA Sports Global Series Playoffs, the last qualifying phase before the FIFA eWorld Cup. In the FIFA 19 edition, LyesMTL has already achieved the status of FUT Champions Verified, allowing him to attempt to qualify for numerous tournaments in person, and is ranked in the first division of the new Division Rivals format. He also finished fourth in the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2015, and was ranked first in FUT Champions in America in January 2018 in FIFA 18.

“I’m very happy to continue this adventure with the Montreal Impact,” said LyesMTL. “I’m determined to continue progressing, while being more successful in the game’s new version. My objective this season is to participate in the FIFA eWorld Cup and win the most tournaments possible.”

LyesMTL is a Master’s student in business intelligence at HEC Montreal, born in Algeria and raised in Montreal. 

The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based ratedhugo was selected to join Atlanta United following a number of standout performances in FIFA tournaments. He first caught Atlanta United's attention after reaching the finals and the semifinals in the two qualifiers for the eMLS All-Star Challenge held in Atlanta prior to the 2018 MLS All-Star Game. He solidified his spot as Atlanta’s first esports competitor with a strong showing during MLS’s FIFA 19 launch event in Atlanta in September, which provided Atlanta United the opportunity to find its first eMLS representative.

“I don’t have the words to describe how excited I am,” said ratedhugo of the signing. “It is an amazing feeling to represent the biggest team in MLS and I feel really honored.”

He has achieved a top-100 rating in FIFA while attracting more than 17,000 followers on Twitch. He started playing FIFA in 2005 and began playing competitively in January 2017.