ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 10, 2020) — Orlando City SC has signed eSports Athlete Douglas “Maloney45” Bendeck to represent the Club in eMLS and the FIFA 21 Global Series, it was announced today. The Club has also retained former eMLS representative Abe Valbuena as a content creator and consultant.
Bendeck, 22, finished as a Top 4 PlayStation player in the United States in 2019, qualifying for both the Atlanta (FCC3) and Paris (FCC4) FUT Champions Cups. He currently sits 65th in the PlayStation World Rankings.
“I’m excited to join my hometown club,” Bendeck said. “I’ve always dreamt of playing as a professional footballer, but after three knee surgeries that’s not possible. Now I’m part of the biggest football Club in Florida and that’s God’s plan. I want to win eMLS cup and bring the trophy home!”
This year’s eMLS competition has expanded to include 27 teams with the addition of Inter Miami and St. Louis City SC. Full details about the eMLS 2021 season will be announced in the coming weeks.
Valbuena, who represented Orlando City for its first three seasons in eMLS, will now create FIFA and eSports related content and provide gaming-related consultation for the Club. Over his three year career with Orlando, Valbuena qualified for two eMLS Cup playoffs and won the eMLS All-Star Challenge in 2019, which included a $5,000 prize for the Orlando City Foundation.
"Being Orlando City’s first eMLS player was an incredible honor,” Valbuena said. “I’m happy to continue to be a part of the Club in a new role and excited to have Douglas on board. Douglas has experience on the global stage and I believe his skills are level with some of the world's best.”