College esports athlete and Rocket League team co-captain, Dylan Zerafa, is putting Iona University on the map of competitive college esports. Having won the title of Rocket League champions at the 2022 MAAC Esports Championship in Atlantic City, Zerafa’s team has set a bar for themselves that they feel motivated to maintain—and surpass.
“Rocket League is basically a hybrid between cars and soccer,” explains Zerafa, who also shares that speed is the name of the game when it comes to Rocket League.
Zerafa first learned about Iona’s esports team at orientation. “As soon as I saw it, I was very excited,” explains the now-sophomore student.
After joining the team, Zerafa quickly moved up the ranks and eventually became the team’s highest-ranking player, at which point his coach anointed him captain. In his new role, Zerafa held tryouts for not just great players, but for good teammates and friends.
Of course, as with any college student, achieving a balanced schedule can be challenging. Add gaming to the mix, and things start to get tougher. “Finding the balance between the esports team and regular college life is a little stressful,” admits Zerafa, who games 6-10 hours a day. “You gotta be great at time management because you gotta practice with the team, but also [I need to] make sure that I am putting aside time for my girlfriend, and to focus on schoolwork.”
But Zerafa’s hard work paid off this year when his team won the Rocket League title at the MAAC Esports Championship. “To end the season winning a MAAC title was the biggest moment of excitement I’ve ever felt,” shares Zerafa.
As a college esports player, Zerafa’s goals are to “keep winning [and] keep getting better,” he shares. “I’m only here for a limited time, so I want to make the most of it.”
Looking ahead, Zerafa is starting to think about how he will incorporate gaming into his post-college life. He definitely wants to keep gaming, but if he doesn’t land on a professional team, he plans to coach so he can use his skills to help younger esports players improve.
Either way, gaming will be a big part of his life. “I game because it’s one of my biggest passions,” says Zerafa. “It’s a great way to get your mind off things, relieve some stress, but also have a sense of competitiveness, which I think Rocket League does a great job with. And it’s a lot of fun.”