The Navy is again recruiting troops to join its esports team in an effort to reach the next generation of prospective sailors.
The sea service, along with the other branches, has struggled this year to reach recruiting quotas. Navy officials are hoping its esports team — Goats and Glory, a part of the service’s recruiting command — will be one small part of a solution to attract a younger audience.
“Centennials are moving into digital spaces for most of their content consumption and social interactions, and the [e]sports domain is one of the most popular and vibrant online arenas to date,” a NAVADMIN message said. “Connecting and attracting the best talent requires the Navy to be in the same spaces where those future Sailors reside.”
Selected sailors will receive three-year orders to the team’s facility in Memphis, Tennessee, naval flight officer Lt. Aaron Jones, the team’s captain, said during a Twitch livestream event last week.
Jones added that the team practices, livestreams and competes in online games, from “League of Legends” to “Call of Duty.” One of the group’s toughest tasks, however, is attracting new talent.
“The biggest part of what we do is outreach. ... We travel the country putting on tournaments for high schools and colleges,” said Jones, whose gamer tag is “Thalassic.”
The Navy is not the only service to have its own esports team. Earlier this year, Goats and Glory competed in San Antonio, Texas, against the other branches in the first-ever Department of Defense esports championship, an event that saw the Air Force come out on top.
Part of the service’s outreach is using gaming as a means of gaining valuable skills that can be applied to making warfighters, Mark Deppe, director of the esports program at UC Irvine, previously told Navy Times. The service’s team did hit a slight glitch early on, however, when it blocked some users from its livestream channel, a move that caused backlash and cries of stifling free speech, Military.com reported.
The submission window to apply to join Goats and Glory, meanwhile, is between Sept. 1 and Oct. 1. Sailors E-5 and up can apply, and at the end of October, the top 100 will compete in a tournament, according to a Navy release.
“We are looking for the best of the best in the Navy to play on the esports team,” said Jones.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media