CHS Esports Coach Andre Cobbs and Ethan Goetz at a recent practice.

Pictured: CHS Esports Coach Andre Cobbs, Ethan Goetz and other teammates at a recent practice.

ABERDEEN, S.D. – For Ethan Goetz, the Aberdeen Central Esports Team has given him his first chance to be part of an extracurricular activity. 

“This is actually the first time I ever joined something outside of school,” said Goetz, a senior and two-year member of the team. 

Goetz got involved after taking a class with CHS Computer Science Teacher Andre Cobbs, who coaches the esports team. 

“I was nervous at first,” Goetz said, “but when I joined, I kind of just grew into it.” 

Central’s esports team kicks off a new season of competition on Dec. 4, competing against other South Dakota schools in the games of Rocket League, League of Legends, and Chess.

Nationwide, esports have become more popular, with some colleges even offering esports scholarships. At Central, this is the second year of the esports team, and about 20 students are involved. For many of them, it provides a competitive sports opportunity and a chance to be part of a team that they otherwise might not have had. 

For senior Brayden O’Connell, the sense of community is the best part of being on the esports team. 

“It's just a community at the end of the day,” said O’Connell, a two-year team member and captain of the Rocket League team. “It's something to get you involved in the school.” 

Goetz, who plays League of Legends, agreed that the best part of being on the team is being around people who have the same interests as you. He has made friends that he otherwise might not have met.  

“My team, I’ve gained a bond with a lot ever since this started,” Goetz said. 

Joseph Pierce, a junior, also agreed that the community aspect of the team is beneficial. He and his teammates communicate daily outside of practice as well.

Pierce, a two-year team member who also plays League of Legends, said a general interest in games brought him to the team.

 “It's not often that an opportunity like this comes up,” he said, “especially with the computer setups we have.” 

This is the team’s first year in the new lab in the ATEC Academy building, and competitions will be streamed on 

While esports is currently a student club, Cobbs said next year it will be a sanctioned sport. 

For anyone nervous to join the team next year, Goetz offered advice. 

“I've been in that same boat,” he said. “Sometimes you do have to just go in, but something that can make it easier is probably having friends to help. Even if it's just one.” 

He added, “Besides that, it’s just all about making that first step.” 

About the Aberdeen Public School District 

The Aberdeen Public School District provides a comprehensive educational program to approximately 4,200 students in grades K-12, with a mission of empowering all students to succeed in a changing world. Our students receive the knowledge and skills necessary to reach their potential in a global community through high expectations of academic achievement; diverse educational opportunities; and community involvement in a safe, supportive environment. Learn more at