Northern Essex to Add Esports and Varsity Basketball, Soccer Teams

Northern Essex Community College Haverhill campus, (File photograph.)

Northern Essex Community College is hosting an eSports program for the first time in the school’s history and is reintroducing varsity men’s soccer and women’s basketball. (File photograph.)

Northern Essex Community College announced they are adding three new varsity athletic programs for the 2019-2020 academic year, including a new multi-player video game program.

Two of the varsity teams are making their return to NECC, as the college is adding a men’s soccer and women’s basketball team. Meanwhile, the video game program, also known as eSports, pits student-athletes from NECC against colleges and universities across the country in online multi-player games with the objective of defeating the opposing institutions as a team.

NECC’s Director of Athletics Dan Blair has high hopes for the three programs, saying “we are excited about bringing both men’s soccer and women’s basketball back to the college. The addition of eSports will open up an entire world of college athletics for gamers here at NECC.”

The men’s soccer and women’s basketball teams compete in region 21 of the National Junior College Athletic Association, becoming the 10th men’s soccer-playing institution and the 12th women’s basketball program within the region. The eSports program joins the National Association of Collegiate Esports, as it serves as the governing body for eSports at the collegiate level and for all NJCAA members.

NECC last fielded a soccer program in the mid 1990’s, while the women’s basketball program previously won two NJCAA Region 21 Championships in 1994 and 2001.

The college is currently looking for coaches for the soccer and basketball programs, but NECC alumni and nationally-ranked Fortnite gamer RJ Warnock leads the eSports program as its first coach.