Wolfsburg sign one of the UK's best FIFA players

By Tim Hague
Newsbeat reporter

Image source, davidbytheway/Facebook

David Bytheway from Wolverhampton has been playing FIFA at a professional level since he was 17.

Last year he represented England at the FIFA Interactive World Cup and has travelled to Las Vegas, New York and Rio de Janeiro to compete.

But he never thought he would get to play for an actual football club.

The 22-year-old signed for Bundesliga side Wolfsburg last month and reckons it won't be too long before we see Premier League clubs getting involved.

Image source, davidbytheway/Facebook
Image caption, David competing at the FIFA Interactive World Cup

As one of Wolfsburg's two official FIFA players, David will wear their gear and represent them when he enters tournaments and streams his games online.

Speaking to Newsbeat, he says: "It's absolutely massive for me the fact that a team like Wolfsburg have gotten involved with gaming.

"It was just something I was doing at home to start with, just playing my friends and wanting to be the best out of them, and all of a sudden I'm a part of a football club."

So why are a big professional football team like Wolfsburg signing people like David to play FIFA?

He tells us: "It's a new market for them.

Image source, Ea
Image caption, FIFA was the top-selling game in the UK in 2015

"E-sports is growing so much every year with all the viewers it's generating. Wolfsburg can see the potential and so they want to be the first to do it."

David can now claim to be an employee of Wolfsburg just like Julian Draxler, Dante and André Schürrle, but it doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be turning up for training every morning.

He says: "I wouldn't mind doing that, but at the moment I'm still living in sunny Wolverhampton.

"I wouldn't call it a training schedule, but I always try to get in at least four to six games in a day."

He says that he only plays a few games each day because "you have to play people around your own skill level".

Image source, davidbytheway/Facebook
Image caption, David's personal Wolfsburg jersey

"But you don't want to play too many people because then you give away your secrets. So you stick between one or two and then you have to wait for them to come online."

David says while his signing is not big news at the moment, in the future it might be seen as a turning point for FIFA gamers.

"Right now it's not exactly historic, but in five years' time when we look back at this we'll think, 'Wow they really started something here'.

"Less than a year, I hope, before the first Premier League team does this as well."

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