Cooper Earns eS­ports Schol­ar­ship

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Dick­er­son

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.

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.

RACHEL DICK­ER­SON/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

Ja­cob Cooper, founder of McDon­ald County High School’s eS­ports team, earned a schol­ar­ship for eS­ports at Mis­souri Val­ley Col­lege.

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