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Concord Preps for Esports Varsity Team

Esports is competitive, organized video gaming that attracts players and spectators from around the world.  Concord was the first public college or university in West Virginia to offer varsity esports to its students.  University administration made the decision to pursue adding the teams after an overwhelming response to a survey indicated 80-percent of respondents showed interest in a program at the school.  The gaming arena will be built in the Nick Rahall Technology Center.   The funding to begin the Concord Esports teams was donated.  “Not only will starting a varsity esports team allow more students to compete on the collegiate level, the university hopes to use this as a springboard for future courses,” President Boggess says.   Only seven colleges and universities had varsity esports programs in July of 2016. By 2018, there were 63 institutions. 

Meet Esports Coach, Jake Neerland

Neerland-Headshot-(3).jpgJake Neerland will take over the formation and management of Concord University’s esports team in early May. Neerland has competed in esports for the past six years, coached multiple teams, and coordinated with big sponsors, including Blizzard and Twitch, to host a gaming  tournament.
“I’m incredibly excited to be part of this program,” Neerland says. “As a coach, my aspirations are to build teams capable of competing on any stage they step on.”

Neerland comes to Athens, West Virginia from Iowa. He has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a minor in Communication Studies from Iowa State University. In addition to esports experience, his professional background includes social media strategy, community management, marketing, and event management.

Concord officials are excited about the plans Neerland has for this new endeavor, and the expertise he brings to the table.

“I want to involve students as much as possible,” Neerland says. “If you’re interested in social media, photography, videography, graphic design, event planning, or just have a great idea, I want to talk about how we can work together.”

Follow Jake and CU’s esports program on our official social media pages for the latest on tryout information and updates on arena construction. 

Contact Jake Neerland

Concord's Varsity Esports Program is funded by donations. If you would like to support this opportunity for our students, please contact the Office of Advancement at, or call 304-384-5119. Our success begins with you.