Team Flash Interview - Joseph "Zarate" Yeo

Mon, 04 Nov 2019

Image credits to The Straits Times.

With the Singapore Sports Hub and Team Flash announcing the signing of a talent development partnership on 1st March 2019, Team Flash is ever ready and setting their eyes on the November's SEA Games and the 2022 Asian Games. As the 2019 Southeast Asian Games date slowly closing in, Team Flash's Singapore FIFA players are ramping up the intensity of their training programmes to clinch on victories for the organisation.

Image credits to Joseph ‘Zarate’ Yeo

About a week ago, we sat down with Team Flash's only full-time local FIFA player, Joseph "Zarate" Yeo to gain better insights into his incredible esports journey. Thus, revealing the hardships and hurdles which a full-time esports player may face in their career.


Image credits to The Straits Time

Question #1: What does your daily training routine involve?

Joseph: During the offseason (when there are no upcoming tournaments), I play about 4 - 6hours daily. However, when the season is about to start, I play an average of 8 hours daily.

The 8 hours consist of me playing the game itself, watching my own game replays, and analysing how other top tier players are playing. I think it is incredibly vital to watch and analyse your own gameplay, to spot mistakes and understand where you can improve. 

Furthermore, watching how other players are playing has undoubtedly helped me to understand better what is the current 'meta' and new things which I could learn from them to include in my own gameplay. 

Image credits to The Straits Time

Question #2: How do you ensure that you don't burn out from gaming?

Joseph: Whenever I feel tired, I will either take a short break from playing or just a quick power nap to make sure I get enough rest before my next play. I personally think that this is very important. If you can't focus during your training, you're basically just training for the sake of it, and you would not learn anything from the process. 

Moreover, whenever I felt that I'm not playing well in the game, I will stop playing and spend some time reflecting on it. I feel that it is beneficial to take a few days to break away from gaming, and when I come back, I would tend to have a fresher take on how to overcome the hurdles. Thus, helping me play better. 

Image credits to Joseph ‘Zarate’ Yeo

At what age you started to gain an interest in competitive gaming?

Joseph: I started gaining interest in competitive gaming (FIFA Online 2) when I was 17 years old. However, back then, it was only a small-scale tournament which was held at a 'LAN' shop, and I participated with my friends just for fun. In that tournament, I managed to clinch the 2nd place and won $100, which kickstarted everything for me.

Hence, 2009 was also the year which I represented Singapore for a FIFA Online 2 Tournament which was held overseas for the very first time.

Image credits to Joseph ‘Zarate’ Yeo

What did your family members say when you told them gaming is now your full-time career?

Joseph: In short, I come from a very traditional and conservative family. My father generally approves of what I'm currently doing, as long as I am not doing anything illegal. 

However, as for my mother, she disapproves of me starting a full-time career as an esports player. I guess she has a rather conservative Asian mindset which wants me to do well in school, find a good job and get married. In her opinion, the unorthodox path of gaming is unreliable and would not be able to sustain for the long run. She has many doubts about my current esports career. I've often received doubts as, 'what if I don't win tournaments anymore', 'what if I don't do well' or 'when my contract is up, what's next?'.

Till this day, my mother still hopes that I would stop gaming as a whole and get a regular job. 

How do you maintain a healthy gaming lifestyle in the professional gaming scene?

Joseph: I try my best to cater some time for jogging once a week or do up some outdoor activities such as soccer. For me, I think that as long as I am able to eat well and spend some time exercising, I am balancing it very well for an esports player.

Image credits to CNA

What do you do to prepare yourself or get yourself into the 'right zone' before your competition? 

Joseph: Whenever I am travelling overseas for a competition, during my match days, I would often take long baths in the morning before I leave for the venue. I think the long baths help me to freshen up, gather myself together for the important day and help me reflect on some of my game plans. 

Moreover, I also like to listen to music during my games. Listening to music has always helped me in strengthening my focus. Oh yes, I don't usually eat until I've finished my final game of the day. Somehow, I just can't eat anything when I am very nervous. 

With esports scene continuing to grow in South East Asia, what do you wish to see in the upcoming years?

Joseph: The general public perspective of gaming is slowly changing. I hope that in the near future, individuals from the older generation can appreciate and understand the world of gaming better. Hopefully, by then, the esports scene has become mature enough to be seen as a viable career option for many individuals in Singapore. 

Xndo - Bak Kut Teh (Chicken) Rice

What are your favourite picks from Fitlion?

Joseph: I personally love the Chocolate Chip Cookie Quest Bar by Quest Nutrition from Fitlion a lot! Protein bars are very important to me during tournament days because I am always very nervous and I find it very hard to eat an actual meal. So, protein bars have actually made my life much easier as I only have to take a few bites. 

Oh yes, I love XNDO instant meals as well! During my training, I've often played till very late into the night and gets really hungry. Hence, I find it incredibly easy to prepare the XNDO instant meals because I can just pop them in the microwave. At the same time, I know the XNDO instant meals are healthy as well!

Stay tuned to our next interview with Team Flash Vietnam team!

For more information about Team Flash, do visit their website and Facebook page.
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