Making history, West Virginia University is the first in the nation to field an all-female varsity Rocket League team in their collegiate esports program for the current season.
To strengthen the roster this fall, The Mountaineers brought in junior Kira “Kiralina” O’Connor, and freshmen Emma Krol and Cayla “Hira” Roberts. The inclusion happens after WVU’s victory at the College Carball Association Summer Series Championship in July.
“This is a major step forward for all women in gaming. We aim to encourage young girls to embrace gaming and assure them that there is a space for them here,” commented WVU Esports Director Josh Steger. “We hope our program will establish many more all-female teams.”
The trio had been playing together a few months before joining WVU. This prior experience of teaming up will surely benefit them as they aim for top-tier competition. They are set to compete in the Open Premier division of NACE Starleague, the National Esports Collegiate Conference, and aspire to be the first women’s team to make it to the Collegiate Rocket League.
“I am eager to serve as a positive role model for women in gaming,” Krol added. “The gaming industry has its challenges. While it’s important to address these issues for change, it’s equally important to amplify the positive aspects within the community.”
The WVU men’s team had previously made history by being the first in the program to qualify for a world championship at CRL Worlds, and the women’s team looks forward to striving towards similar goals now that they have arrived at WVU.
“Playing with these girls is great. I see a lot of potential in us,” noted O’Connor. “Being a part of the program’s growth at WVU while earning my degree and playing Rocket League is an amazing experience.”
O’Connor, a marketing student from Norcross, Georgia, joined West Virginia after a stint with GenG since September 2022.
A criminology student from Rietdiep, Netherlands, Krol has been active in Women’s Carball with Emisure.
From Los Angeles, Roberts is pursuing criminal justice and has previously teamed up with O’Connor and Krol for a series of Women’s Carball tournaments, including the online qualifiers for DreamHack: Rocket Clash.
“When I became a free agent, Kira contacted me, and Emma joined us a few weeks after,” Roberts shared. “Playing at this level is fun. We continue to evolve and grow every day. It’s exciting to be a part of this historic moment with a hope that we can inspire other women to aim for higher in esports.”
To stay updated about WVU Esports, track their activities at @WVUEsports on X, formerly known as Twitter, and tune into live games from all varsity esports teams at twitch.tv/wvuesports1.