Sporting Kansas City midfielder Wan Kuzain and eMLS representative Alekzandur will compete in the inaugural eMLS Tournament Special presented by Coca-Cola® and PlayStation®, taking place over the next five Sundays at 6 p.m. CT with national television coverage on FS1 and live streaming on the FOX Sports app. The newly launched series is part of MLS Unites, a league-wide platform designed to educate communities, entertain fans and elevate heroic efforts taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning this Sunday, April 19, the eMLS Tournament Special will team up MLS players and eMLS players from the same MLS clubs in single-elimination EA SPORTS™ FIFA 20 tournaments. With Kuzain and Alekzandur in the mix, Sporting is one of 16 MLS clubs to feature a team in the FIFA 20 competition.
After each of the five episodes, MLS WORKS, the league’s social responsibility platform, and FOX Sports will make a donation on behalf of the winning club to Feeding America® and Food Banks Canada. A total of $50,000 will be donated to support frontline workers and feed vulnerable populations in the U.S. and Canada.
“This tournament is a great initiative and I’m excited to have the opportunity to participate,” Kuzain said. “Fortunately, we can provide some entertainment to soccer fans during what has been a difficult time for everybody. I also look forward to playing with Alekzandur, as he’s one of the best FIFA players in the business.”
“I’m really excited to play with Wan Kuzain and have another opportunity to represent Sporting KC in eMLS," Alekzandur said. "I know Kuzain is a really talented player, so it'll be fun to see what we can do together in this event. Hopefully we can win our matches and raise money for those in need during this time.”
The Week Two Tournament, airing on FS1 at 6 p.m. CT on April 26, will see Kuzain and Alekzandur face Minnesota United FC goalkeeper Tyler Miller and eMLS player Jay Adams, respectively. The winning duo will advance to meet the victor between D.C. United (midfielder Paul Arriola and eMLS player Mohamed Diop) and New England Revolution (midfielder Diego Fagundez and eMLS player John Oliveira) later that night.
Hosted by FOX Sports talents Stu Holden, Rachel Bonnetta and Rodolfo Landeros with color commentary from Mike LaBelle, the series will take place on an entirely remote basis with MLS and eMLS players competing from their homes. Each episode will feature four different clubs competing to win. Matchups will be contested over two legs, with the MLS players playing the first leg and the eMLS professional FIFA players competing against each other in the second leg. The best aggregate score will determine the victor. The four winning teams from the first four episodes will qualify to participate in the fifth and final eMLS Tournament Special on Sunday, May 17, when a champion will be crowned.
Kuzain, 21, developed in the Sporting KC Academy before signing professionally for Sporting Kansas City II in 2017. He inked an MLS Homegrown contract with Sporting KC the following year, notably scoring in a 4-1 defeat of Minnesota United FC on June 3, 2018. Kuzain is a longtime FIFA player and recently beat Real Salt Lake’s David Ochoa and Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar in FIFA 20 matches that streamed on Twitch.tv/eSportingKC.
- WATCH: Kuzain defeats Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa
- WATCH: Kuzain defeats Nashville SC forward Hany Mukhtar
Alekzandur, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, represented Sporting at eMLS League Series One and Two earlier this year. He was previously Sporting’s eMLS player in 2018 and ranks as one of the top FIFA competitors in the world.
Benefiting two national hunger relief organizations, the eMLS Tournament Special will unfold in conjunction with Sporting Serves, a newly launched philanthropic platform that will see Sporting Kansas City and The Victory Project partner with several community partners to provide relief to citizens across Greater Kansas City in a unified response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about Sporting Serves will be announced in the near term.
eMLS Tournament Special presented by Coca-Cola® and PlayStation®
All broadcasts at 6 p.m. CT on FS1
- Sunday, April 19: Chicago Fire FC vs. FC Cincinnati and LAFC vs. LA Galaxy (Winners to meet in Match 3)
- Sunday, April 26: Sporting KC (Kuzain & Alekzandur) vs. Minnesota United FC and D.C. United vs. New England Revolution (winners to meet in Match 3)
- Sunday, May 3: New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC and FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo (winners to meet in Match 3)
- Sunday, May 10: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC and Atlanta United FC vs. Orlando City FC (winners to meet in Match 3)
- Sunday, May 17: Week 1 winner vs. Week 2 winner and Week 3 winner vs. Week 4 winner (winners to meet in championship)
Through the eMLS Tournament Special and other programs, Major League Soccer is proud to support EA’s “Stay Home. Play Together.” initiatives, helping the gaming community find more ways to connect through play during a time where people need to be physically apart. To learn more, follow #stayandplay on Twitter and Instagram or visit ea.com/en-ca/stay-and-play for upcoming activities and livestreams.
EA SPORTS™, Coca-Cola®, PlayStation®, Cheez-It®, Pringles® and Scuf Gaming are all official partners of the 2020 eMLS season and the eMLS Tournament Special.
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City and celebrating its 25th season in 2020, Major League Soccer features 26 clubs throughout the United States and Canada as well as future expansion teams in Austin, St. Louis, Sacramento and Charlotte. For more information about MLS, visit MLSsoccer.com.
About FOX Sports
FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing FOX Corporation’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, the business has ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing relationships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Network; FS1, FS2, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes. FOX Sports’ digital properties include FOXSports.com and the FOX Sports App, which provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content, instant scores, stats and alerts to iOS and Android devices. Additionally, FOX Sports and social broadcasting platform Caffeine jointly own Caffeine Studios which creates exclusive eSports, sports and live entertainment content. Also included in FOX Sports’ portfolio are FOX’s interests in joint-venture business Big Ten Network, a licensing and commercial relationship with The Stars Group that created the FOX Bet sports betting platform and the FOX Sports Super 6 free-to-play game, as well as a licensing agreement that established the FOX Sports Radio Network.
About Feeding America®
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
About Food Banks Canada
Food Banks Canada provides national leadership to relieve hunger today and prevent hunger tomorrow in collaboration with the food bank network from coast-to-coast-to-coast. For 40 years, food banks have been dedicated to helping Canadians living with food insecurity. Over 3,000 food banks and community agencies come together to serve our most vulnerable neighbours who last year made 1.1 million visits to these organizations in one month alone, according to our HungerCount report. Over the past 10 years, as a system we’ve sourced and shared over 1.4 billion pounds of food and Food Banks Canada shared nearly $70 million in funding to help maximize collective impact and strengthen local capacity while advocating for reducing the need for food banks. Our vision is clear: create a Canada where no one goes hungry. Visit http://www.foodbankscanada.ca/ to learn more.