By Sloane M. Perron, Manager of Marketing Communications 

Dylan McLaughlin ‘27 originally began his academic journey at another Central Massachusetts college but transferred to Anna Maria College after seeing the new eSports Center which opened on campus last year.  

McLaughlin, a Woburn resident and Sports Management major, was impressed by the technology and space offered in the new eSports Center, but it was the sense of teamwork that helped him make the final decision to transfer.  

“I was looking to transfer from my old school, and I was looking for academics. Then, the second goal was to join a college with a good eSports program,” McLaughlin said, “To be able to come in during the inaugural season of an Esports program and help build it from the ground up really drew me in. Coach Zach Gandara also has a lot of experience. So, it’s great to be able to learn under him and work with him to help this eSports program. That’s really the reason I came here.” 

Anna Maria College’s eSports team has 19 members who compete in three conferences: the Eastern College Athletic Conference, the National Association of Collegiate Esports, and the National Esports Collegiate Conference. The schedule is intense with eSports players playing three games a week for the three different tournaments.  

The team competes in video games such as Overwatch, Rainbow 6, and Call of Duty. One misconception is that eSports is not as hard as traditional sports, but McLaughlin who is a former football player, explained that the same elements of discipline, practice, and teamwork which can be found on any sports field also apply to the virtual world of competitive gaming. 

McLaughlin’s lifelong passion for video games and skills in the eSports arena has earned him the top-ranking title of Grandmaster.  

“For me, it’s a way that I can be competitive. I’ve done some other sports; I played football for a year. But playing against other people and the competition are really what drives me to play video games and try to be the best that I can be at the games that I play,” McLaughlin said about his love of competitive gaming.  

Despite McLaughlin’s established experience in eSports, he welcomes gamers of all levels to join the eSports team. Whether they are lifelong gamers, naturally talented players, or those picking up a video game controller for the first time, the eSports team is welcoming to everyone. In fact, one of the eSports team members started playing video games for the first time a few weeks ago and is now on the winning Anna Maria College team.   

“If you don’t think you’re good enough to join, people are here to help you get better. The coaches and I will help you practice and feel more confident in your abilities,” McLaughlin said about those interested in joining the eSports team, “The biggest thing I would say is if you’re trying to join a team, just don’t try to make it about yourself. You want it to be a team game. You want to be able to come on that team and if you have a better attitude than other teams, then you’re going to have a much better time compared to someone who is trying to be the sole hero and just focuses on the wins.” 

On February 16, Anna Maria College’s eSports team won the Overwatch vs Eastern match. This match saw the fastest map win in NECC history on Havana, the third map of the series, as the AMCATS captured the objective in an astounding 10 seconds after an impenetrable defense in the first half. Additionally, the first map, Ilios, was a “flawless” AMCAT victory as they won the game without allowing the opponents a single elimination. 

Continue to follow the progress and wins of Anna Maria College’s eSports team at