Camilo “Olimaclan” Lara understands that football is a global game that sparks passion, evokes devotion and brings people together. “Football is the most popular sport in South America. It is very important, not only at at a sporting level as a game or a pastime, but also socially because it has the power of unifying different social sectors and even whole nations,” Lara explained in an Spanish interview with EA SPORTS all the way from his native Chile.
Olimaclan will be competing at the Miami Regional Final of the FIFA Ultimate Team Championship Series this Sunday, February 19th at 10 am EST. However, his journey to this event has been long coming having played the game for almost two decades. “My first version was FIFA World Cup 98. My parents gave it to me on Christmas alongside a brand new console. Since then, I have played each version of the game on various different platforms.”
EA SPORTS FIFA is a deeply entrenched game within the Chilean culture. Its effect on society mirrors what real football does within stadiums. “FIFA transformed itself into the king of virtual football in Chile. On one side, lots of people get together to share fun moments playing the game, on the other side, many others compete in different tournaments that are organized in our country.”
Lara is part of the latter group. Olimaclan made his FIFA competitive debut thirteen years ago at the 2004 World Cyber Games (WCG) in San Francisco, where things did not go according to plan and resulted in an early tournament exit. “Despite not getting the results that I wanted, I set myself the goal of improving so that I could reach qualifying spots for future championships,” Lara recalls.
After that disappointment, the Santiago native started to enjoy competitive success at local tournaments winning the majority of competitions organized within Chile and ranking highly in other South American competitions. However, there is one tournament that sticks in Lara's mind. “I do highlight the experience of winning the 2012 Panamerican tournament in Chile. I was at home and had the support of the crowd. Without a doubt, it was a great moment in my career to be able to win an international title at home.”
The most impressive victory in his career, however, came at the local WCG 2004 in Chile. “I came from the losers bracket after losing in the final of the winners bracket against the favourite player of the tournament. In order to lift the trophy, I had to win two best-of-3 series. I was able to do that with big scorelines in the four matches I played.”
That win has fueled his passion for competitive gaming for over a decade. “That victory pushes me until this day to compete in FIFA. It also reminds me that you can never give up, no matter what opponent you are facing or what result you need to achieve.”
Olimaclan’s solid qualification campaign that saw him claim the spot as the 5th best player in the region combined with his lengthy experience in the competitive circuit has pushed the Chilean into a position as a favourite to win in Miami. Lara, however, sees it differently.
“It is an honour to be seen as a favourite among very skilled players but I do not see myself as a favourite player. In this tournament, every player will have the same chances of winning, regardless of the qualifying campaign results. I don't think my experience gives me an advantage over the other competitors because we all had to do very well in order to qualify. I think it will be a very hard-fought tournament with lots of tight matches.”
Currently working for an IT company providing technical support, Lara sees the Miami Regional Final as a golden opportunity to make FIFA competitive gaming his full time profession. “My dream is to become a full-time, professional FIFA player. It is my favourite game and it has provided my life with incredible moments. I hope I can continue competing and enjoying this wonderful game forever.”
But before he can do that, he has one clear goal going into this weekend. “My objective is to win in Miami, but to do that, I must go one game at a time, trying to play my game in each of the matches, keeping my mind focused and my feet firmly planted on the ground.”
Watch Camilo “Olimaclan” Lara's journey in the Miami Regional Final this Sunday, February 19th at 10 am EST and 4pm CET right here on FUTChampions.com/live