CINCINNATI — Gordon “Fiddle” Thornsberry might not be a household name, but he's one of the best in the country when it comes to playing the FIFA Soccer video game.
And now the Oxford, Ohio, native represents FC Cincinnati in the eMLS, a professional league in which almost every Major League Soccer club sponsors a player.
"When you get hold of the ball, you really don't want to make any mistakes because when you're playing against the highest levels, when you make a mistake, they're going to take advantage of it," Thornsberry said.
Fiddle says he got the nickname when he was a kid.
"I'm really big about superstitions, so I kept it,” he said. “I'm not going to change anything if it's working."
Thornsberry’s skills on the screen are definitely working. He just got back from a tournament in Singapore where he made it to the quarterfinals.
"At these tournaments you could be looking to make $10,000 to $15,000 a tournament, but that's if you finish in, say, the top 10 percent. In Singapore I know the winner took home $50,000," he said,
FIFA Soccer is played all over the world and Major League Soccer views the exposure as a critical marketing strategy. As for Fiddle, he fell into FCC's lap.
"We didn't know he existed. We didn't know he was a local guy until they made the introduction,” said Nick Brunner, the club’s marketing manager. “We got his resume of different competitions that he competed in. He's won some North American tournaments that were pretty prominent. It just seemed like a great fit.
"To have one of the best players in the country to be in your backyard, it's just incredible."
Thornsberry says the experience has been incredible for him, too.
"I get to travel the world and play a video game. It can't get much better honestly," he said.