VBL pro Justin Kampmeier from SC Paderborn: eSport is much more than just playing video games
eSports is becoming more and more popular and professional. In 2018, the DFL became the first major league in real football to launch an eSports league. The Virtual Bundesliga Club Championship. Here, gamers from clubs in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga compete in singles and doubles matches within a league. One of them is Justin Kampmeier. The 17-year-old FIFA Pro has been playing for SC Paderborn in the VBL since this season.
Hi Justin, you've been part of the SC Paderborn eSports team since October 2020. How did you manage to become a professional eSports player?
When I saw that SCP was getting into eSports, it was of course my goal to represent the SCP in the VBL, as I also have a past in real football with the SCP. Shortly after that a talent cup was organized where I did very well and qualified for the offline final in the Benteler Arena. There I could reach the second place and was accepted into the eSport squad.
You start for SC Paderborn in the Virtual Bundesliga. After 9 matchdays you are in the lower part of the table with 31 points. How satisfied are you with the season so far and what are your goals for the season?
I don't think anyone expected us to have 31 points after 9 matchdays, so of course, we are very satisfied with the way things are going at the moment. For the rest of the season, we want to get as many points as possible. At the end of the season, we'll see where we stand.
Besides the VBL, the Weekend League is especially important for you. In order to be able to send a powerful team onto the virtual pitch, many gamers invest several hundred euros in the FUT mode. In the meantime, some FIFA pros have announced that they don't want to invest money in the FUT mode anymore. What do you think about that?
To be honest I think it's good that more and more pros don't invest money in the FUT mode anymore. In an eSports game, it's simply not acceptable that the one who invests more money has an advantage or a better chance to win the game.
How many hours a day do you train on the console?
Every week looks quite the same for me with the training. On Monday I usually train for 3-4 hours, because the next day is the VBL matchday. Tuesday is VBL. Wednesday and Thursday I always take a break and from Friday to Sunday there is the Weekend League again. Of course, there are also training days together with the SCP team, which usually take place 2 or 3 times a week for about 3 hours.
eSports are very demanding on your concentration. Do you also train things away from the console to improve your FIFA game?
No, I don't train on the side to improve my concentration because I'm generally a person who can focus on one thing for a very long time without a visible drop in performance.
A career in football is usually over by your mid-30s. Have you already thought about how long your career as a professional e-sportsman should last?
I haven't thought about that yet, because I want to finish school first, which is also clearly in the foreground for me. But my goal is of course to be able to continue as long as possible.
Every FIFA Game is a little different. Where do you see the strengths of FIFA 21 and where do you see room for improvement for FIFA 22?
The strengths of Fifa 21 are clearly in the offensive because there are several alternatives to play a deep opponent, which was unfortunately not the case in Fifa 20. For Fifa 22 the servers have to be better, but with the NextGen consoles, I have a good feeling that it will run better.
For some, eSports has a very negative image. Many claim that eSports is not a real sport or that eSports players are addicted and sit in front of the console all day with fast food and soft drinks. Do you often encounter such opinions and what do you respond to them?
If I'm honest, I haven't been confronted with such an opinion yet. But I can say that eSports is much more than "just" playing video games.
Real sports are suffering massively from the Corona Pandemic right now. How much has the new situation changed your everyday life in eSports?
Of course, we're lucky that eSports is mostly online, so when we couldn't host a face-to-face training, we could switch directly to online training. In summary, I would say that the new situation hasn't changed esports that much.
Finally, can you give our readers a tip on how to improve their "FIFA" skills?
What always helps me a lot is to record my own game and analyse it. Additionally, I would recommend to always play against better opponents and also to watch and internalize a lot of streams or videos of pros.
You can find more about Justin and SC Paderborn in eSports here: