UK FIFA player Sam "Poacher" Carmody, who plays for Fnatic/AS Roma, has spoken to Esports News UK about his chances in the upcoming Gfinity Elite Series.
London-based esports giants Fnatic announced they were joining the Elite Series late last year, and will be competing against nine other orgs across Rocket League, Street Fighter V and FIFA.
So what are Poacher's expectations going into the Elite Series, especially considering FIFA is one of the UK's strongest esports, with plenty of talented homegrown players?
"I feel like anyone can win it but I feel like we can win it," he said. "What we want to do is get out of groups.
"A few years back, there weren’t that many FIFA pros, but now there are bigger prize pools, more competition and so many players that are involved. I feel like the competition is really high now, but if anything, it makes you practice more and perform better."
On playing for an org with the heritage and history of Fnatic, he added: "There’s definitely pressure that comes with it, but if anything I feel like that also maybe makes you performs better. It’s great to perform under such a big organisation."
"I feel like anyone can win it - we can win it. What we want to do first is get out of groups."
For 18-year-old Poacher, it's his first time playing in the Elite Series, but not the first time playing in a Gfinity tournament.
"I’ve always been playing in Gfinity tournaments since I started playing competitively," he explained. "I’ve been playing in the Play Like A Legend competitions before, so I’ve been playing Gfinity for quite a while but this is a different format. In terms of competition, it’s around the same roughly so I’ll be used to it.
"There’s been a year break for Gfinity, so I’m excited to be back and to compete at the highest level again."
Fnatic's FIFA roster consists of Poacher, Insa, Rannerz, Zimme and Ralle, plus team manager Cojo.
With FIFA players focusing on either Xbox or PlayStation as their specialty, and Poacher playing Xbox, how will he fit into the rest of the Fnatic FIFA roster?
"There’s two Xbox players and two PlayStation players," he said. "I think I’ll be starting all the games except for one week, and then my sub will be playing another week when I have a tournament in Germany.
"I’ll be playing the Xbox matches then my other teammate Zimme will be playing pretty much all the PS4 matches as well, except for one week we’re out."
The first FIFA Elite Series matches kick off this Friday, March 9th from 6pm. Tickets are free and can be booked here.