Friday 17 May 2019, 10:00

'Dani': Being an eFootballer is an amazing job

  • 'Dani' is a professional eFootballer with Ajax

  • Represented the Netherlands at the FIFA eNations Cup

  • Discusses life as a EA SPORTS FIFA player with the Dutch giants

Representing your childhood team is an ambition few football fans are lucky enough to ever achieve. 'Dani' is one of that select few.

Though the 21-year-old initially dreamed of lacing his boots for Ajax, 'Dani' represents the Dutch giants on the virtual pitch. It’s a journey the Xbox player has not taken for granted since signing for his beloved Ajax in early 2017.

"When I was young, I never expected to play for Ajax," he told "I was a good footballer but far from the level required to play for them. I’ve played FIFA since FIFA '12 and was doing it for fun, but by FIFA '16 I was playing in tournaments and realised I was very good at it.

"I won a lot of tournaments in the Netherlands, became Dutch champion and the crazy new experience started. Football clubs started to recruit eFootballers and after Ajax signed Koen Weijland as their first player, they soon called me. It’s been unreal."

Since then, 'Dani' has represented Ajax at competitions such as the Netherlands’ eDivisie and the FIFA eClub World Cup. He is also part of the club’s fabric, playing EA SPORTS FIFA against stars such as Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek.

"Of course I am a part of the club, but Ajax give me a real feeling that I play for them," he said. "With Ajax eSports, we also do a lot of stuff with real footballers. It’s a different kind of people who watch me, a lot of young people. They love to watch me play."

eFootball is on the rise across the globe but has a particularly strong following in the Netherlands.

"It’s very big – I never expected it to have got as big as it is," said 'Dani'. "When I started playing for Ajax, I had 600 followers on Instagram and now, two years later, I have nearly 80,000.

“Young people in the Netherlands love to play FIFA and they want to be the best. It’s very easy [in the Netherlands] to find people who watch it compared to other countries."

From competing in tournaments across the world to representing his boyhood club and country, 'Dani' is reaping the rewards of being a professional eFootballer. But what is the best thing about being a full-time EA SPORTS FIFA player?

"The best thing for me is that I still have free time so I can hang out with my friends," he said. "I have a lot of time to still see my family and I think it’s important to still have a life.

"Being a footballer would have been amazing of course, but I think this [eFootball] is also great because you have the time to do different things. You meet so many nice people at tournaments and you make new friends. I think this is an amazing job."