Cooper Earns eSports Scholarship
Senior Jacob Cooper is the first student from McDonald
High School to receive a scholarship for eSports.
He received a $15,000
scholarship from Missouri Valley College
in Marshall, Mo.
Senior Jacob Cooper is the first student from McDonald County High School to receive a scholarship for eSports.
He received a $15,000 scholarship from Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo.
He said he found out about the scholarship offer at the beginning of the year.
He said, “eSports being a passion of mine, I wanted to try out.” Cooper is the president and founder of the eSports team at the high school. eSports is playing sports electronically.
Cooper visited Missouri Valley College, a five-hour drive from McDonald County, he said. But for the tryout for the college’s eSports team, he worked from home.
“The beautiful thing about eSports is you don’t have to go wherever they are. You can always get on the Internet and just try out on there,” he said, adding it is a luxury of gaming not to have to be in front of each other.
“You just have to be online and have a good Internet connection,” he said.
Cooper said he was going up against kids “from everywhere” during the tryout. The coach gave him the captain role.
“He said I was excellent. He asked about my analysis afterward. He was impressed with my knowledge of the game. Even though I’m not as high of a rank as the other kids, my game knowledge and mechanics match theirs, and that impressed him, and he enjoyed watching me play,” he said.
Cooper will be playing League of Legends, a popular eSports game, for Missouri Valley College.
“It was honestly a gift from God,” he said. “I didn’t think I would do anything with eSports past high school but, having prayed about it, I’m going to compete with the varsity this upcoming fall.”
The scholarship covers only half of his college expenses, Cooper said, but he has faith the rest will be covered one way or another.
“God blessed us with scholarship opportunities. If God doesn’t supply in that realm, he’ll definitely supply somewhere else.”
Cooper plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism, which can also apply to the world of eSports.
“Since eSports is very new, there’s been a high demand for commentators. Coming from a four-year college and a four-year team and hopefully a master’s degree, I’ll be able to commentate on the sidelines and live my dream,” he said.
Cooper’s love for eSports dates back to two years ago when, on a bus trip back from a debate team event, teacher Kamireon Douglas showed him a League of Legends game he was watching, Cooper said.
“Now, two years later I’m on the road to play for a four-year college in the game that I love,” he said.
Cooper said he wanted to start the eSports team both his sophomore and junior years, but his efforts were denied. He tried again his senior year with success. He talked to Douglas and teacher Jody Richards about being sponsors.
“We had a bunch of kids wanting to do it, submitting petitions. We definitely have a strong crowd who are wanting to play, not only League of Legends but other games, and I feel there’s going to be nothing but growth for this,” he said.
He said his dad has been supportive of him as well. At first, his dad thought he was spending too much time on a video game until he realized it was like a sport.
“He’s been behind my back, trying to coach me the best that he can, and I love him so much for it,” Cooper said.
He added, “The stereotype about video games is that we sit at home and couch potato for five hours a day. The other side is there are kids earning scholarships because they are good at what they love.”
Cooper is a son of Shawn and Melinda Cooper.
Jacob Cooper, founder of McDonald County High School’s eSports team, earned a scholarship for eSports at Missouri Valley College.