WINCHESTER — The roster of athletic opportunities continues to grow at Umpqua Community College.
In early February, the UCC Board of Education approved the addition of women’s soccer and electronic sports to the school’s athletic menu.
“Any opportunity we have to boost enrollment, we’re going to take advantage of that,” UCC Athletic Director Craig Jackson said of the addition of both sports. “There had been a lot of interest in adding esports, especially.”
Umpqua was the only school in the Northwest Athletic Conference’s South Region to not offer women’s soccer this past fall. With the addition of the Riverhawks program, the South Region will join the West and East regions with a full eight-program roster. The North Region will remain at six teams.
Esports — competitive video gaming — began at the collegiate level in 2009, but has seen a recent explosion in participation. According to the National Association of Collegiate Esports, there were seven collegiate varsity programs nationwide in 2009, that number growing to 63 by 2018. Entering 2020, there are an estimated 170 varsity programs, with more expected to be uploaded by 2021.