Service-disabled Army veteran Jermaine Cohen believes transitioning to civilian life shouldn’t keep anyone from being part of a team.
His new venture is putting that belief to practice. The first annual Veteran’s Bowl Esports Tournament hosted by PRJKT VET — pronounced “project vet” — will livestream Wednesday on Twitch and feature a team of veterans and their supporters in the already-established Madden Championship Series hosted by Electronics Arts.
The EA tournament will center on “Madden NFL,” a video game on Xbox and Playstation that has dominated the National Football League-themed gaming for decades.
“The idea was we wanted to build this online community for these events that ran for a month-long time — Madden, Fortnite — just a few games. But the idea is to make it a yearly event,” Cohen told Military Times.
“We’re just trying to spread awareness and provide some kind of community for veterans to come play and have a good time.”
Cohen launched PRJKT VET earlier this year with co-founder and Air Force veteran Rod Lee. The two envisioned an online platform with a tournament ladder system that would bring veterans together using video games for competitive play.
Though this Veteran’s Bowl will only feature “Madden NFL 21” on Playstation, there are plans to expand using other games and platforms in the future. Cohen and Lee are currently in discussion about incorporating the free-to-play Battle Royal game “Fortnite” into their rotation in the near future, he said.
Cohen emphasized that the Veteran’s Bowl is open to anyone, not just veterans, and is a great way for civilians to play with those who have served the country. Registration for the Veteran’s Bowl is free and can be completed now through this website.
The Veteran’s Bowl website is set up like a leaderboard that tracks data and analytics during the tournament. The entire initiative, meanwhile, is powered by AwardPool, a new end-to-end Esports tournament platform. This particular event marks the second or third Madden tournament on the platform, Lee said.
“You can basically set up your tournament however you want, so if there’s a specific scoring scale that you want to put together, you have the ability to do that,” Lee said.
Some of the sponsors include ADDAZERO Funding, Digital Names, Dealbox, Vets Assisting Vets, SourceConnecte and Clayton Homes, according to a press release. Charity partners for this inaugural tournament are Warrior Research Institute (Baylor Scott & White) and Cohen Veteran Network.
Cohen said PRKT VET is always looking for other partnerships and remains in talks to expand the scope of the project. He said they’re particularly interested in getting the military academies involved.
Jared is a freelance journalist, a former Marine and a veterans advocate living in Los Angeles.