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Goats and Glory Connects With Gamers
by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Breum
July 2, 2021

Headsets on, controllers in hand, at their new digs heir new digs in Memphis, Tennessee ... the Navy’s esports team is competition ready.

Comprised of eleven active-duty service members, the Goats and Glory team competes in a wide variety of games, matches and online tournaments, their goals are to connect with other gamers, share their passion for games and answer questions other gamers have about the Navy. The team members also livestream their gameplay to the Navy’s Twitch channel to reach a diverse and growing community in the esports realm.

May 19, 2021 - Members of the Goats and Glory team pose for a photo at their gaming facility located in Memphis, Tennessee. Goats and Glory is the Navy's esports team that is dedicated to outreach and engaging with members of the gaming community about life and opportunities available in the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Breum)
May 19, 2021 - Members of the Goats and Glory team pose for a photo at their gaming facility located in Memphis, Tennessee. Goats and Glory is the Navy's esports team that is dedicated to outreach and engaging with members of the gaming community about life and opportunities available in the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Breum)

“Esports is a relatively new but essential part of the Navy’s outreach mission because it provides a platform for people to interact with Sailors and learn more about the opportunities the Navy provides, while sharing a mutual passion for gaming,” said Cmdr. Howard Bryant, Director of Outreach and Diversity at Navy Recruiting Command (NRC). “Ultimately, the team shows that Sailors are just like everyone else – they have hobbies, interests, and families. Being in the Navy doesn’t preclude those things.”

Engagement in this space has expanded opportunities to reach high school and college-aged students that have grown up online and have many talents or interests in the online technical space. As most of the esports activities can happen virtually, it has made outreach to the gaming community a great tool for exploring this very large and active community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been minimally impacted by COVID,” said Chief Operations Specialist Jonathan Figliola, who plays on the Goats and Glory team. “Early on, we implemented six-feet social distancing and teleworking for our team members. Now we’ve all been vaccinated, so we’ll be ready participate at in-person competitions as things open up.”

While COVID-19 is still very present in most aspects of life, Goats and Glory is focused on virtual events and tournaments, but they look forward to the day when traveling will become less restricted. They will be ready to meet members of the gaming community and compete at in-person events.

“The team has a few more virtual events planned this year, but we are gearing up to travel in the near future,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Rod Camiso, another member of the Navy’s esports team. “It seems that many people don’t know much about the military, and are curious, and seeing the team at in-person events may encourage more people to ask questions.”

Goats and Glory also hopes to connect with other talented groups and individuals, in order to network and share ideas. Meeting people online through shared passions, or in person at gaming events can often be the only opportunity many people will have to interact with a Navy Sailor and ask questions, particularly in areas of the country that don’t have a Navy presence. In the end, the esports team is looking to make community connections and dispel some misconceptions the public has about the Navy.

May 19, 2021 - Lieutenant Aaron Jones, Captain of the Navy's esports team Goats and Glory, plays a practice match on Valorant. Goats and Glory is the Navy's esports team that is dedicated to outreach and engaging with members of the gaming community about life and opportunities available in the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Breum)
May 19, 2021 - Lieutenant Aaron Jones, Captain of the Navy's esports team Goats and Glory, plays a practice match on Valorant. Goats and Glory is the Navy's esports team that is dedicated to outreach and engaging with members of the gaming community about life and opportunities available in the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Breum)

“I’ve had people ask me ‘Are you allowed to get married? Can you have a dog? Do you always live on a ship?’ and these are questions we’re able to answer by talking with the community,” said Lt. Aaron Jones, officer in charge of Goats and Glory. “We’re able to get past a lot of these misconceptions and connect with the next generation. A big part of what we do is try to bridge the gap between some of the older folks and the next generation. Esports is a common place where we can meet them and say we have the same passions, we have the same hobbies, and even if you don’t want to join the Navy, at least we can teach you a bit about our lives and give you a better understanding of the Navy.”

Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, 3 Navy Recruiting Regions, 26 Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,330 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to ensure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

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