British Esports organisation Excel Esports have completed the signing of professional FIFA player Tom Leese from Hashtag United.
Excel Esports have completed the signing of Tom Leese from Hashtag United, who becomes the first-ever professional FIFA player to command a transfer fee. Leese has been the number one ranked professional FIFA player in the world for the past two years, with the 22-year-old partnering with Fnatic’s Tekkz to win the 2021 eNations Cup back in May, having also won the 2019/20 ePremier League competition last year.
Professional FIFA players transferring to new clubs and esports organisations are nothing new, but this is thought to be the first time an esports organisation has received a significant transfer fee for a professional FIFA player from another esports organisation, something that already happens in other major esports such as Fortnite.
We’re not here to take part. We’re here to win, to become champions, to build a legacy.
— EXCEL (@EXCEL) September 24, 2021
Neither party have disclosed the official transfer fee, but Sky Sports reported last year that Hashtag had received offers for Leese in the region of 50,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds.
“I am proud to be joining the Excel team as their first-ever professional FIFA signing,” said professional FIFA player Tom Leese.
“When Excel first approached me, the idea of working together definitely caught my attention. The drive within the Excel team to constantly improve and the commitment to jumping straight into the competitive FIFA space really excites me.
“I want to take my competitive performance and content up another gear and continue to build myself and the growing team whilst doing this, and I feel Excel is the perfect place for me to do this.”
The announcement marks the launch of Excel’s first-ever competitive FIFA team, with the British esports organization also signing renowned FIFA ex-professional Nathan “Zelonius” Horton as the team manager.
Horton, who was a teacher before becoming a professional FIFA player at his former org FUTWIZ, joins Excel with the aim of helping them to become the most successful FIFA team in the world.
“I am excited to be announced as the manager of Excel’s first FIFA team! I truly believe in the vision of this FIFA team and think it is a really exciting team to be joining,” said Nathan “Zelonius” Horton.
“I can’t wait to help Excel to become the most successful team in FIFA – especially with some exciting upcoming announcements.
“I also really resonate with Excel’s power of better.
“As a content creator in FIFA, I’ve had numerous in-depth conversations with viewers where I’ve been able to help them and using the platform I have at Excel and the great tools we have here I really want to do the best I can to embody this manifesto.”
Headquartered in London, Excel Esports is a British esports organisation, who refers to themselves as a competitive gaming culture brand. They were founded in 2014 by brothers Joel and Kieran Holmes-Darby and the organisation has competitive rosters across four game titles, Fortnite, VALORANT, League of Legends and now, FIFA.
Having signed Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli as an ambassador last year, Excel’s move into FIFA was a natural progression, with the org already boasting an extensive competitive esports roster, including teams who compete in Fortnite and League of Legends.
Excel says that the expansion into the FIFA esports space will give them the opportunity to connect with FIFA’s fast-growing fanbase, which will be new territory for the esports brand. The British esports org will also work closely with EA and participating teams to drive more exposure in media and in-game assets, including offering fans an exclusive Excel Esports out-of-game kit.