Not Your Typical Gamer: A Conversation With Doolsta

By Davey Shepherd (@daveytshep), host.

When you sit down with Cormac Dooley, or "Doolsta" as he’s better known to most, you get the sense that he’s a guy who’s along for the ride. Whether that’s a switch from his hometown Philadelphia Union to Nashville SC, or a flight to Romania for the first EA Major of the year he’s here to make the most of it. Dooley, who was raised in Ireland, and started playing FIFA with his older brothers at the age of two has had an interesting ride to his current slot as Nashville SC’s eMLS gamer.

Cormac "Doolsta" Dooley | Photo courtesy The Brand Hotel

Returning back to Philadelphia in 2018, Dooley who described himself as “probably the best guy in my friend group around Ireland” (humble dude) noticed that the Philadelphia Union were hosting an open tournament to select their eMLS gamer for 2018. Doolsta entered and promptly won the first sanctioned tournament he’d ever played in. Making an appearance at the 2018 eMLS cup was the springboard that he needed for 2019 which ended up being a banner year for the nineteen year old. Last season he went on to win all three EA eMLS tournaments and participated in multiple international tournaments on behalf of the league and his club.

It was this string of performances that turned some heads of people here in Nashville. With a contract expiring, and other clubs ready to snatch him up, Nashville made a deal that sweetened the pot. In return for suiting up in Gold (or whatever color we’re calling it now) Doolsta would have the cost of his education at Temple University provided for. For the first generation college student, this was an offer too good to pass up on.

Doolsta (right) en route to a 5-1 first-half drubbing of Davey (left) | Photo courtesy The Brand Hotel

Whenever I asked if he’d ever imagined playing a game with his brothers would end up with him as a professional gamer, he replied with a laugh and a “no way”. But it isn’t all fun and games for the guy. Regardless of the task being performed, FIFA is now a full time job for Dooley. So not only does he have a full time gig that requires international travel and weekend hours, he’s a full time student at Temple as well. A change in perspective has caused a bit of a paradigm shift for him over the last few years. Always a competitive athlete, he used to use FIFA as an escape from the pressures of school and on field performances. Now, he describes playing soccer as “an outlet from work and the rest of it”.

Dooley started the 2019-2020 FIFA season by qualifying for the first Major of the year in Romania, where he failed to make it out of the group stages. That's his number one goal for 2020, where he looks to pick up where he left off last year. “After winning my first domestic tournament last year, I really want to make a name for myself on the international stage. That’s where the best players do it, and where I hope to perform well this year. It’s a great opportunity. Obviously there is the prize money, but it’s a chance to keep making a name for myself and travel the world while I do it. I’m looking forward to this year”.

Doolsta's 2020 got off to a good start, going 8W-1D-3L with a +18 goal difference on the first day of eMLS League Series One. He scored a last-minute winner to secure passage out of the group stage.

Doolsta will take on New York Red Bulls' Amadou in the quarterfinals on Friday evening. Fans can watch the action on MLS's Twitch channel, starting at 6 PM central.

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