On Sunday, Avila will be competing in eMLS League Series Two (7 pm ET | MLSsoccer.com, MLS app, Twitch, Twitter), which is taking place at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas, in front of the FC Dallas faithful where Alan will get to show off his skills to his home fans. League Series Two is played on the virtual pitch, but just a few years back, Avila’s hopes and dreams of becoming an MLS pro were very much a reality.
Growing up in Midland, Texas, Avila picked up the game at a young age. Showing great promise as a youngster, Avila joined the FC Dallas academy, where he shined as a midfielder. From 2010 to 2014 Avila and his family took the five-hour roundtrip drive so that could continue to compete at a high level. It wasn’t until 2013 when everything began to go downhill. Avila suffered back-to-back ACL tears in both knees in 2013 and 2014.
“It was a very difficult time in my life,” Avila said. “I missed out on playing my senior year of high school, which was unfortunate because I didn’t get to finish things off with my best mates.”
Avila eventually recovered and received a scholarship to play at Division II University of Texas of the Permian Basin. In preseason of his freshman year, though, the injury bug struck again. Avila tore his ACL for a third time. It was then he decided to call time on his career on the field and pick up the controller.
“[After the third injury] I started picking up FIFA, playing it more, and if it wasn't for those injuries, I probably wouldn't be where I’m at today.” Avila said. “I was honestly always the best, it got to the point where my friends just didn’t want to play me.”
Avila began succeeding in the FUT Champions Weekend League, the competitive game mode within FIFA, where he has achieved a perfect 40-0 record. It wasn’t until last March when Avila received the opportunity of a lifetime, an offer to represent FC Dallas as their first-ever eMLS player. Avila ran with the chance and finished top four at eMLS Cup in his first season.
Avila currently sits in second place in the Western Conference standings. With eMLS League Series Two this weekend, Avila has a chance to win his first trophy in front of his home supporters.
“Bring your friends, your family, be energized. It’s going to be an amazing event and I want to see all of the red flags, with everyone there supporting the FC Dallas colors.” Avila said when asked about the upcoming event.
“You already know, Dallas till I die.”
Cincinnati native Jake Barford is the eMLS correspondent for FC Cincinnati. He's also the owner and operator of the popular YouTube channel, BFordLancer48, creating daily EA Sports FIFA content. Over the course of three years he’s gained over 200,000 subscribers and 50,000,000 views. Barford is also a member of the EA Game Changer program in which he assists the game development process for the FIFA video game franchise.