Keeping Up with Kongen
September 18 2017
With the Fifa Interactive World Cup recently concluded, it's the off-season for our Fifa player, Lasse "Kongen" Baekkelund. However, he's been practicing for the upcoming year, and he recently broke 1500 wins online. We spoke to Lasse about his goals, his education, and his admirable desire to become a teacher.
Maleok: First and foremost, you mentioned before that your mother played football semi professionally which is how you found your interest in sports. How then did you start playing, and getting into, video games?
Lasse: I believe my first gaming system was a Playstation 1 for my birthday when I was eight or nine? Although it wasn’t until four or five years ago that I really started going into it competitively. I participated in the Fifa Danish Championship for fun because a few of my friends were going. That’s when I realized I was actually pretty good at it. I went home and bought a Playstation 3 and quickly became very interested.
Maleok: You mentioned in your last interview with TL that you were interested in becoming teacher! Tell me a little bit about where that interest came from.
Lasse: Well half a year ago I was going to become a journalist. However I realized rather quickly that I didn’t actually want to study to become a journalist I just wanted to be a journalist. That’s not the way it works though. So I started thinking of other things I could be good at, and I realized that I was good with kids and I’m a great person to learn from. That being said, it’s not definite that I will actually become a teacher but that’s what I’m going to school for.
Maleok: That’s interesting, because most pro players from other titles gave up schooling in order to play professionally. How do you plan to balance both your education and professional play?
Lasse: Since I’m contracted I have to make Liquid and Fifa my first priority. So I do still need to see if mixing my education in is even possible. I think it is though, because I’ve heard that for my particular program you only go to school three or four times a week then I have the rest of the week to practice Fifa. Also this isn’t the first year I’ve had to do both. I was playing professionally while I went to high school and that went fine.
Maleok: You’re one of the minority of players who have worked with both a traditional sports organization and an esports organization. What are the major differences between how both types of team operate and support their players, and could you elaborate on your experience?
Lasse: The football club I was a part of was not really into esports to begin with. They only signed me to try, and didn’t help me much beyond that. I’m not sure I’m the right person to ask about this because it was just an all around wrong match. The reason I can see that people would want to sign with a football club is that the fanbase would be bigger and also because they already know football and can relate to Fifa. Compared to an esports org like Team Liquid who have large fanbases in other games. I think that’s the biggest difference is there are more football supporters, and therefore Fifa supporters, in traditional football clubs.
Maleok: Compared to the other Esports juggernauts like League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike, do you feel that Fifa is truly a growing esport? And do you feel that the viewership will come now that a major orgs have picked it up?
Lasse: Yea I actually think so. I feel that in just a few years there will be leagues for all the different countries as well as a champions league with the major football clubs. The fans of which I think will support the club’s Fifa players in tournaments as well. I just think that the better the promotion and the bigger the prize, the more people will watch.
Maleok: Fifa rides a very unique line between traditional sport and esport interest. What are your thoughts on the fact that much of the gaming community consider esports to be just as viable as traditional ones?
Lasse: Well as you said, Fifa is very comparable to traditional sports because it’s football but it’s on the Playstation. I really don’t know about the comparison between the two though. Esports can be a job for people now, it’s competitive, and rich investors are entering into it. I’m not saying it will become as popular or “good” as traditional sports but it is certainly moving in the right direction.
Maleok: Further down that train of thought, there is a lot of misunderstanding between traditional sports and esports communities. What would you say to convince a sports fan to watch an esport?
Lasse: I would start by saying that every competitive sport (of both kinds) is fun to watch because of the competition. It’s always exciting when something is on the line, which there is in both cases. So if I were talking to a traditional sports fan I would tell them to just watch and do their best not to let their hate get in the way of experiencing it. Say, if my mom’s boyfriend were to watch esports he would just say “Well that’s just bullshit.”, so I would tell people to just give it a chance and see if it stirs any kind of emotion within them. Let yourself see if you feel any of the excitement. Try and forget for a minute that it’s just a videogame.
Maleok: So as far as your personal progression, you mentioned before that there were two championships that you wanted to win, and that was your goal. Now suppose you were to finish your studies to become a teacher and win these tournaments. Do you feel like you would be more inclined to remain in esports or go down a path of a more traditional job?
Lasse: Well I actually hope to combine those two jobs at some point. There are many schools in Denmark that both accommodate and encourage esports within them. That’s of course the dream, to both become a teacher and teach esports. Either in a club or perhaps even in a school. Of course in my studying right now you have to follow some lines: English, Geography, Math, whatever. You can’t study to become and esports teacher, yet. *laughs* So the only conflict I can see is that I will never be a specifically educated "Esports Teacher".
Maleok: So to wrap up I want to ask you, what are the marked differences between practicing and playing on your own and then with Team Liquid backing you?
Lasse: Well there are a lot more expectations placed on me. That suits me though because I love to practice with some direction. If I was just alone without I team it might be hard to motivate myself to sit down and play for 2 or 3 hours a day and practice for no reason. When I have Team Liquid at my back, and I know they want me to win and get better, it’s way easier to motivate myself and use my time well!
We're excited to see what Lasse does next, and we'll definitely be following up on his journey to becoming a teacher. Maybe we'll even ask him to teach us a thing or two.
You can help support Lasse by snapping up one of our special edition football kits.