We interviewed Bethan Lynch, student from City of Liverpool College playing in our British Esports Championships, as part of our Women in Esports campaign. Bethan talks us through the process of being a female player in tournaments, the community, her training routines, along with her thoughts on the future of grassroots esports.
1. For those who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Bethan ‘Souls’ Lynch and I am from Liverpool UK. From a young age I have always been into gaming as I was always playing video games with my dad every Saturday when I would go around to his house. I’m really nerdy person that is why my gamertag is Souls, as Soul Eater was my favourite anime at the time!
2. Have you always had an interest in gaming and esports?
I have definitely always been interested in gaming. I think the first moment I fell in love with esports was back in the CWL (Call of Duty World League) when I firstr started watching streams of pro players: seeing which load-outs they used, how they position in the game, and which cass suits them for each map. It was great seeing the professionals put lots of hard work and dedication into being where they are today, and from that moment on, I made it my dream to start being a pro player or being involved in esports one way or another.
I started to watch Ashley ‘MIDNITE’ Glassel, who was a streamer for Optic Gaming at the time and is now Director of Content for Minnesota Rokkr. Ashley is still a big inspiration of mine and has given me great advice over the years. From that moment on I watched professional players such as Nadeshot, Scump and Censor and wanted to achieve the level of skill they have – even if I don’t get to play on the biggest stages that the pro’s play on today. I want to make an impact in esports. Whether it’s just an individual or thousands, if I can have one fan or person look up to me as a role model I will then know I’ve made a true impact.
3. You started competitive gaming in 2014 with Fariko Gaming, where you were part of a Call of Duty esports team: Fariko Foxtrots. How did you get involved?
Back in 2014 I joined the Fariko Gaming website which was a database for players to look for a Fariko Clan to play for in Call of Duty games. I submitted a post talking about my idea of what I want out of this and what my skills were in Advanced Warfare (the game being played at this time). A day or two later I got a message off of a Fariko member on Xbox seeing the post I made and saying he has a team I can try out for. Following on in-game try outs. They mentioned that I had potential, which later down the line we grew with more members and had another member of the team who was a girl as well.
At this point Fariko had two competitive teams running at once and I was on the main team of Fariko Reblez with the other female member, Fariko Chick Paige. As a team we were grand masters in ranked play in Advanced Warfare and always represented Fariko where ever we went – whether it was through doing GameBattles or streaming. When it got close to the launch of Black ops 3 Ben, the leader of Reblez, stepped down as leader but didn’t want to leave me and Paige without any options so he introduced us to Dalu who was leader of Fariko Foxtrots. I started competing for them for the whole of Black Ops 3, afterwards they then disbanded and went their separate ways.
4. Would you be able to explain the routines and processes working as part of an esports team?
At the time I was still in high school, so my schedule was a bit different to the older members of the team. This schedule applies to both teams I played for:
- 4-5pm – Hour practice session warming up with whichever three members of the team were available in ranked play, as this was the only mode what was most likely to have people practicising for GameBattles games.
- 6-8pm – Play GameBattles matchmaking with other members of the team
- 8-10pm – Work on the modes we weren’t up to scratch on. My one I would practice often at the time was Search and Destroy given it was my worst game mode at that point.
- Weekends – Weekends would mainly be the same routine but myself and Paige would stream our practices. We would interact with our audience, such as asking if they wanted to play with us, whilst also doing little fun game modes to try and get to know our audience more. And finally, Sundays would be EGL days where we would enter a tournament every Sunday night and play every week to compete. This even carried on when I was a free agent where I would compete each week with different teams.
5. What were your experiences of tournaments (both online and/or offline) playing Call of Duty as part of a female team?
Tournaments as a female were great but they did get boring a while as you would come up against the people you played the week before and it would get tiresome as you didn’t have any fresh competition. However, in the EGL tournaments you would have fresh competition as it was mixed. In EGL there were beginners, some players with skill, and finally those of a similar skill level to myself and the team who we could have close competition.
6. Do you think there should be a separation with male and female leagues? Do you prefer separation or would you like to see more mixed teams in future?
No, I don’t think there should be separation between male and female leagues as the game they are competing in is the exact same game and exact same rulset. In the future I want to see more mixed teams and mixed leagues. You don’t see the Overwatch League changing the rules for Shanghai Dragons just because they have a female on the team. In my opinion, the leagues and teams should include everyone.
7. Have you personally experienced any difficulties within the grassroots esports scene due to your gender?
Yes, I had one incident when competing in a tournament. I was playing in a random team for that week’s tournament, and whenever I gave my opinion – or spoke – the three men in the team all stated that I should “go back to the kitchen as women do not know anything about Call of Duty”. This must not be true as for the whole tournament I had a positive kill to death ratio, more time playing objective and top of the leaderboard!
8. What has been your biggest achievement within esports?
My biggest achievement in esports isn’t winning my first time online tournament, climbing the ranks on Call of Duty or Overwatch, or taking my team to fourth in the British Esports Championships’ Overwatch tournament; all of them mean a great deal to me, but they don’t compare to the people I have met on the way.
For example, Fariko Hardy gave me a chance to prove my potential and took me under his wing to make me the player I am today – for someone to put their faith in you so much, that’s an achievement in itself. If I had the chance I would love to go in partnership with them to create a team again; a place where people can become the new pros of tomorrow, learning the skills they need with support from the same people who helped me. I always want to pass on my insight to the next players, because right now many kids have dreams of becoming a pro players, but they just need someone to believe in them.
9. City of Liverpool College, where you study, has been a part of the British Esports Championships since the beginning. How have you found your experience of the matches and grassroots participation within education?
The education at City of Liverpool college is great and a fantastic community. The staff also learn from us (the esports team) when it comes to esports – for example, they ask us questions about various esports events, and are very open to asking what element of esports we want to study and learn about. My experience overall is very positive as the staff always make time to accommodate and support the esports club we run with other members of the college.
10. Do you find it difficult to encourage more women to get involved in esports?
Before British Esports Championships I did usually find it difficult to get girls involved or even get them to play games. But since the Champs, I have met other girls competing in the league, made bonds with them, and have a laugh. I do find it difficult generally but British Esports Champs did a good job and so have other colleges to get more girls involved.
11. How do you feel grassroots, and professional esports can gain a better representation?
I think grassroots and professional esports can gain a better representation if they showcase what their potential is and their goals for a future 5 years plus. They also need to stress to parents, fans, and people who have a bad time understanding games and esports. If we all come together and help each other understand, that’s how esports will grow especially in the UK and throughout the world.
Read more about our British Esports Championships here. Registrations for the 2020/21 season will open in September 2020 (tbc).
Follow Bethan on Twitter here.
Are you also wanting to get involved in our Women in Esports campaign? Find out more in our How to get involved article.
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Whether it’s just an individual or thousands, if I can have one fan or person look up to me as a role model I will then know I’ve made a true impact.