“Valorant is praised for the developer’s efforts in supporting community, representation and integrity in competition,” says Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports. “Riot Games’ actions align with the virtues and values that the UCI program works to uphold.” Sam Liu / UCI

Irvine, Calif., July 25, 2022 – The University of California, Irvine will expand its 5-year-old esports program this fall by adding a Valorant team to its existing Overwatch and League of Legends teams.

Valorant is a first-person hero shooter video game developed and published by Riot Games that was originally released in June 2020. Its team-oriented approach and focus on high-quality, polished gameplay have contributed to its popularity.

“Valorant is praised for the developer’s efforts in supporting community, representation and integrity in competition,” said Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports. “Riot Games’ actions align with the virtues and values that the UCI program works to uphold, and with the inaugural year of collegiate Valorant competition this fall, it’s an exciting opportunity to continue the growth and evolution of the esports scholarship program.”

The Valorant student club team that has been representing UCI is rated among the best in the country, winning multiple national tournaments, including the Pacific Gauntlet, the UC Esports Initiative Invitational, and Conference One’s fall 2020 and spring 2021 competitions.

“With the announcement of official competition coming in fall 2022, we are incredibly motivated to compete and represent UCI,” said junior Andrei Go, president of the club. “UCI Esports finally entering the Valorant scene feels like a dream come true.”

UCI will hire a Valorant team coach and host tryouts over the summer for current and incoming students. Scholarship players will receive $2,000 toward the cost of tuition and compete in Riot Games’ first-party circuit: the College Valorant Championship.

“Valorant is the most visible title in North America by viewership numbers and has shown that it has the interest and staying power behind a top esport,” said Ronald Ly, assistant director of UCI Esports. “Riot is using that spotlight to push diversity and inclusion initiatives in their action plans more every year as well, so we’re extremely excited to participate in a new title and new genre that aligns so closely with our values.”

For more information about the Valorant tryouts, the team and the program, visit the official UCI Esports website at https://esports.uci.edu. To see a short video on UCI Esports’ Valorant scholarship program, click on this YouTube link.

For news and updates or to be included in UCI Esports events involving Valorant and more, join the official public UCI Esports Discord server at https://discord.com/invite/uciesports.

UCI’s Brilliant Future campaign: Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for the university. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. Learn more at https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu.

UCI Esports: Focused on competition, community, academics, entertainment and careers, UCI Esports has been regarded as one of the most comprehensive collegiate esports programs in North America since its inception in 2016. With the expansion into Valorant, the program currently operates three scholarship varsity teams, including championship-winning teams in League of Legends and Overwatch, made possible through the sponsorships of iBUYPOWER, Logitech and Rockstar.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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