An inside look at the University of Dayton Rocket League club

James Martin | Contributing Writer |

The University of Dayton has over 250 clubs according to their website, one of which is focused around the rising Esports community. The University of Dayton Rocket League (UDRL) club has been around since 2018 and competes both at a competitive level against other schools, while also offering casual gameplay for all members of the club.

Rocket League is a video game that combines both soccer and racing. In the game players can custom design their respective cars and then use them to speed, jump and boost themselves around the arena, attempting to score more goals than their opponent. The standard soccer rules are not applied, such as offsides, instead the arena allows for full field passes and shots. Cars can also drive on the walls and ceilings as they attempt to score or defend their own goal.

Each match is five minutes long, with no timeouts. The only stoppage time is when a player scores a goal, stopping the clock in order to show a short replay of the goal.

Rocket League, created by Psyonix Studios, is the sequel game to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle-Cars (SARPBC). It was released on PlayStation 4 and Steam (Windows) in July 2015, with the release to Xbox One in February 2016. The following year, in 2017, the game was released to Linux, Mac OS X and Nintendo Switch. 

Despite Psyonix announcing the discontinuation of the game on Linux and Mac OS X the game racks up over 91 million monthly players and over 9 million watched hours monthly on Twitch, a video game streaming platform.

UDRL has grown to 67 current members. President of the club, Mason Wright, joined the club in 2020 as a freshman. He has been involved with the club as both a player and an officer before he became the president.

Wright is a senior mechanical engineering major from Miamisburg, Ohio, and has been playing Rocket League since 2017. The club offers casual gameplay within the UD community with tournaments on occasion. On the competitive side of the club, Dayton Red Team and Dayton Blue Team travel to places such as Cincinnati and Virginia Beach to compete in tournaments.

The club is a part of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) along with the National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC) which include schools such as Alabama, Kent State, Purdue, Ohio, and many more.

The UDRL has applied for Flyer Funder, UD’s official crowdfunding platform, and even received some funds from One Day, One Dayton.

“I know we made almost $2,000 from Flyer Funder last year, and an anonymous alumni donated $25,000 to the Esports program.” Wright said, “We are trying to get an Esports lab in Kennedy Union, we have the space, but working with the school to go forward with the plans takes a while.”

Hundreds of universities have tapped into the Esports world, creating teams which are run by professors and coaches. For Dayton, it is a student run club, looking to expand the Esports program at Dayton.

“The whole idea of UDRL was to be the start of a bigger Esports program at UD that supports other games, but UDRL is the starting building block.” Wright said.

The club is still looking for donations and support in order to make large changes on campus with Esports.

“No matter how much money we raise, the school thinks we need more,” Wright said, “any support or exposure we can get is essential.”

Other members of the club were also contacted in hopes of an interview, however, no response was given.

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