High school junior, soccer team forward, and aspiring professional League of Legends gamer James Byrd recently became the coach of his younger brother’s middle-school soccer team. An opening appeared when the Bakersfield Bandits’ previous coach was disbarred from the league because he never provided the customary halftime orange slices. But Byrd had no intentions of filling in the role at first.
“Yeah, I told them I was too busy between my starting role on the high school team and my studying, but somehow my dad figured out how to look at my LoL playtime log. He threatened to take my computer privileges away after seeing that I had played over 30 hours during midterms last week. Didn’t have much of a choice, just like how JeremyDoe didn’t have much of a choice when being asked to dominate toprow with no support versus LmaoTsao last week,” said Byrd.
Byrd consulted with his informal high school team’s League of Legends coach, CouchPohTayToe, for some coaching advice. PohTayToe, whose real name is Taylor Toenoke, is a fifth-year high school senior at Bakersfield High School. Though he claims he stayed a fifth year by choice to make sure the school’s informal League team would be alright after he left, poor grades forced him to repeat a year.
“I told my good man, HighFlyingByrd, that to be a good coach, you need to empathize with your players. If you can’t feel how your bottom laners feel when the team’s jungler forgets to mantis kick and start a 3 on 2 doublekill situation, you can’t feel how to improve your teammates. No matter the sport nor the moment, you need empathy to be a good coach. And better players, of course,” said Toenoke.
Byrd’s first practice got off to a rocky start when he called together the team’s midfielders by calling them all “midlaners” and asked them to practice swarm offense to make sure the other team’s jungler and midlaner would both go down simultaneously.
“I was a little worried about big bro when he started with this swarm offense approach since you aren’t allowed to kill people in soccer,” said Byrd’s little brother, Lucas. “Unless the high school leagues are different.” When asked about the approach, Byrd replied “Look, our team sucks at feeding. There’s so little communication that it is impossible to let only one guy suck up the experience so he can sweep with ults, that’s why we need to swarm and cause havoc by pressuring one lane at a time so we can kill the dragon.” “That’s a metaphorical dragon, right?” asked Lucas. “No, I’m talking about crosstown rivals, Georgetown Dragons,” said Byrd. “Of course I mean the actual dragon on the field. We’re always playing on Summoner’s Rift in this league you moron.”
Talking about the first practice, Byrd said that he didn’t quite grasp PohTayToe’s words of wisdom until he remembered who he was as a middle schooler. “Back in middle school, I was also a complete loser who had no sense of tactics. I would just rush the enemy’s main gate without paying attention to my lane assignment, I chose my hero based on how cool they looked, and I stole my mom’s credit card to buy skins instead of access to coaching. In short, I sucked, just like every other middle schooler. Especially the kids on this team, yeesh” said Byrd. “They literally cannot understand what it means to jungle when it is so simple.”
Despite the comments, Byrd’s Bandits have been flying high in the Midwest Middle School Soccer League. Currently sitting with a record of 6-1-3 and at the top of the Uptown Division, the Bandits are poised to capture not just the division title, but also the enemy base. “League might be 5 vs 5, but, if you think about it, soccer’s 11 vs 11 is basically 2 simultaneous 5 vs 5s. Therefore, it only makes sense that tactics from League would carry over to soccer,” said Byrd. “I expect higher divisions in soccer, like the MLS, will pick up on the same strategies as League soon enough.”
When asked if that would be the case, long-time soccer coach Brian Schmetzer said “tell me when that guy can win in a league that requires more tactics than getting the best dribbler in the league to deke around everyone”.