Friday 19 October 2018, 08:28

August 'Agge' Rosenmeier

  • interviews Danish FIFA eSports legend August Rosenmeier

  • He talks about his journey from part-time to professional gamer

  • "Dedication, passion and hard work are my three main tips"

Six-time FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Finalist and 2014 champion August Rosenmeier has been one of the world’s most successful and consistent FIFA players for years.

We caught up with him to discuss where it all began, his new club and his Grand Final appearances. Who first introduced you to FIFA eSports? August Rosenmeier: This is a funny story that I always enjoy telling. My brother bought himself a PlayStation and EA Sports FIFA 2002. I became a big fan of the game and used to creep into my brother’s bedroom to play whenever I got home earlier than he did. A couple of years later I was much better than him, so he signed me up to take part in a qualifying event for the Danish championship. My first Grand Final in Dubai followed soon after, and after my second successive appearance, I signed my first contract.

You’ve just signed a contract with ‘The North’ / FC Copenhagen. What does this new chapter mean to you? It means a lot to me. Hashtag United were like a family to me; they helped me to rediscover my passion for the game and motivated me to get back to my best. I’m extremely grateful to Spencer Owen and everyone at Hashtag United for the great time I had there. It means so much to me to have a full-time setup in Copenhagen and see my family and friends while playing football for a club. I think people often underestimate the importance of having structure in your life in order to perform at your best.

You’ve mentioned that your brother is a role model to you. Why is that? I’m very grateful that he signed me up for my first event and gave me the opportunity to show what I could do against other people. He’s always there to give me advice, and he helped me to keep working hard and stay true to myself, particularly after my title in Rio. I definitely wouldn’t have had such a successful career without him. It’s not just about how well you play the game but also about how you conduct yourself away from it, and he really helped me with that.

How has FIFA eSports changed your life? I never thought we would get to a point where the scene is as big as it is today. When I signed my first contract, it was a good job alongside my studies, and suddenly more and more tournaments were being held and it became possible to make eSports a full-time job as Paris Saint-Germain enabled me to do. So many players are now part of the competitive scene, and FIFA and EA Sports have succeeded in creating a platform and good infrastructure.

You also play football out on the pitch. Where do you play and what do your team make of your eSports activities? I currently play in the Danish fourth tier and it’s quite difficult to find a balance. Although we’re only a small local club, we’re playing very well at the moment and would love to be promoted. It’s sometimes tough to find time for both FIFA eSports and football, as I often travel for the Global Series.

What was it like to take part in your first Grand Final? I was still a complete unknown in Dubai in 2012. It was overwhelming to play in such an amazing city and it was all very new for me, especially the fact that the world title was suddenly within reach. I learned so much from the experience and count myself lucky to have qualified for another Grand Final.

Which was more significant for you: qualifying for the first time or returning to the Grand Final in 2018 after such a mixed year the year before? Both were very important to me. Although the first Grand Final was the most important of all, qualifying for the 2018 Grand Final sent out a message that I’m still up there with the best players – and the way I qualified made it special too. It’s difficult to decide, but qualifying for the Grand Final in Dubai was very special indeed. Having said that, both tournaments are real highlights for me.

Which was your most successful Grand Final? When I won in Rio de Janeiro, I had the feeling I would win from the start. It was a case of third time lucky, as we say in Denmark, and every piece of the puzzle just fitted into place. I was extremely well prepared and got very emotional when I won the title. It was definitely one of the best moments of my life and one I’ll never forget.

And which was your most disappointing Grand Final? It’s hard to pick between 2015 and 2016. I always ask myself how I didn’t manage to become the first player to defend my title in 2015. I won almost all of my matches but couldn’t win the tournament. Having said that, 2016 was even more disappointing as I’d been very dominant throughout the year. Going out in the group stages was so frustrating, mainly because I knew I could have done better.

What has changed between your first and last Grand Final? The players have become much more focused on the matches and the tournament. We had an incredible setup this year and everything was better than ever – we had our own area, lots of referees and a much larger audience. And that’s just the start of something that will get even bigger in the future.

Who would you describe as FIFA eSports legends? There are so many. Bruce Grannec definitely inspired me and showed me how to behave, both in victory and especially in defeat. He’s one of the most modest players and a perfect sportsman. Others include Ivan Lapanje, a good friend of mine who took me under his wing when I was starting out, and Spencer Ealing. He has invested more time in the sport than practically any other player and revolutionised the game with his extremely entertaining and aggressive playing style. Abdulaziz Alshehri is another player that I really respect and someone who is both a great person and an outstanding player.

The FIFA eWorld Cup has had two Danish champions in the last four years and Brondby have won the FIFA eClub World Cup twice. What makes the community in Denmark so strong? The FIFA eSports community in Denmark is fantastic. Everybody knows each other really well, they’re all motivated to improve their skills and we have plenty of local tournaments. We’re also generally a very eSports-focused nation; for example, we offer degree courses that allow students to play professionally alongside their studies. The infrastructure and community are excellent and we’ve got plenty of very enthusiastic and talented young players.

What are your tips for any aspiring FIFA eSports players? Dedication, passion and hard work are my three main tips. You need to invest plenty of time, particularly at the weekend. You learn a lot by playing against other good players, and it’s also very important to take part in local tournaments, as the pressure there is something else entirely. You also need a strong mentality and as much experience as possible.

Who has what it takes to become the new star of the scene in 2019? One player who has the potential – someone who’s a great person and has the right mentality – is Ryan Pessoa of Hashtag United. He really impressed me with his ability to stay calm at all times. Another promising player is ‘Marcuzo’ – he rarely loses against the best players.