Neumann becomes Rocket League captain for Cornell Esports

Even though Kyle Neumann has only just finished his first year at Cornell College, he has quickly grown into a leadership role within the esports program

Kyle Neumann
Kyle Neumann

The Illinois native, who is considering majoring in English or sociology, is the captain of the Rocket League team where teammates play three on three competitions. 

“While I thought it would be cool to be a student leader in the esports program, and I hoped it would happen someday I certainly didn’t think it would occur my freshman year,” Neumann said. “I really enjoy being a student leader, and I’m looking forward to continuing to give the Rocket League team tools to improve both in and out of the game.”  

Neumann has already put his skills to work not only helping his teammates, but in competitions. He recently joined team member Drake Parks and participated in the University of Iowa’s Hawkeye Rocket League Showdown.

“The tournament format was double elimination and there were 12 teams of two people each,” Neumann said. “We ended up playing really well together and won the whole thing. While we had certainly played tougher teams before, it was a great team bonding experience as well as just a fun experience in general.”

Neumann describes Rocket League as soccer with flying cars to those who have never played before. He says he used to enjoy unwinding by playing the competitive multiplayer game after soccer practice or school when he was younger. Over time he started watching higher levels of play, and now he’s leading a team for Cornell College.

“One of the main things I’ve learned about myself while playing within the program is how much I like having a team structure and practice schedule with esports,” Neumann said. “I think one of the big things I’m learning is how to have a strong mentality. Whether it is bouncing back from a loss, keeping confidence in check, or encouraging teammates and helping their mentality.”

This Rocket League team captain has big goals for next year. He hopes to qualify for the Collegiate Rocket League season where the top 24 teams from the U.S. collegiate scene play each week. He’s also looking forward to meeting and playing with all of the new recruits who will join the team in the fall. He says the team already has a great atmosphere of camaraderie. 

As for his advice for those interested in competing in esports or just playing for fun, he says–do it!

“We’ve got lots of teams for different games, and even if you don’t necessarily have the skillset to play on the starting roster of one of our teams, you will be welcomed into a helpful group who besides being teammates can become good friends.”