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Idaho high school students flocking to Esports

More than 100 colleges and universities offer Esports scholarships totaling over $16 million
Esports coming to Twin Falls
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 12:41 PM MDT
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BURLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Burley High School is in its second year of having a competitive Esports team.

“I think a lot of people know about Esports, but they haven’t necessarily decided ‘oh this is an actual established thing,’” said James O’Connor, an English teacher and Esports coach at Burley High School. The team has been a hit and continues to only grow in popularity among students.

Freshman Israel Huerta plays Rocket League, a soccer-theme video game only played with cars. He says being a member of the team has helped him grow.

“I’ve learned how to play with teams,” said Burley High School freshman Israel Huerta. “Because by yourself you don’t have to worry about other people getting in the way.”

“A lot of them are very introverted when they come in at the start. They’ve really only played games on their own, but as a part of a team they have to really get out there and get comfortable communicating and being in their own skin,” said

And Esports are more accessible to Idaho’s high school students than ever before. This year, Burley High School started the first local league, playing against 16 Idaho schools including Twin Falls, Jerome and Minico.

This season, O’Connor says it’s been rewarding to watch the students improve.

“Our last win was against a team that we had been really struggling against throughout the season, so watching them work together and actually pull together as a team and get that win was great,” he said.

Students are looking ahead to the first Idaho high school Esports state tournament set to be held at Boise State University later this year.

This comes as the sport is booming nationally with more than 100 colleges and universities offering Esports scholarships totaling over $16 million, and in some cases, providing a pathway to higher education.

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