When All Play is Work
His time at the University has put Mr Jensen Goh (Engineering ’17) on track to becoming a highly sought-after coach in the world of esports.
The motto of the University’s Tembusu College, “Home of Possibilities”, has stuck with Mr Jensen Goh (Engineering ’17) all these years. In fact, it propelled him to a career that he never thought was possible: as the head coach of an American esports team. “Right before I entered NUS, I told myself that it was time to get serious and stop esports,” says the 28-year-old, who had been playing games like Starcraft and League of Legends competitively as a teen. “Since I wasn’t making much progress, I decided that maybe an esports career wasn’t for me.”
That would have been the end of his esports journey — had he not stumbled upon a tournament organised by Tembusu College for Dota, a popular strategy video game. “I knew I was pretty decent at public speaking so I decided to try my hand at being a commentator for the tournament,” he recalls. His decision proved to be the right one, as he found he had a knack for making complicated gaming concepts easy for laypeople to follow. His popularity as a commentator, known in esports circles as a “shoutcaster”, grew after he won a commentating competition later that year. Armed with this win, Mr Goh started raking in serious money, earning up to $1,000 for each commentary session. He then ventured into coaching amateur esports teams and struck gold in 2017, when he was asked to coach a professional Taiwanese League of Legends team, Fireball. For the first four months of that year, he stayed in Taiwan, where he juggled coaching commitments with his final-year project. “My parents were worried that I wouldn’t be able to graduate,” he admits. “But my priorities were (in this order): family, school and then esports. So I wasn’t about to mess up school for the sake of esports.”
Fortunately, Mr Goh completed his project on designs for a smart dustbin and graduated that year. Recognising his passion, his parents supported his decision to enter the arena full-time and he has since coached teams across the world. Currently based in Los Angeles, he is believed to be the first Singaporean head coach of a professional US League of Legends team.
What has helped him become the coach that he is today? He credits two Ideas & Exposition Modules he took at NUS for expanding his horizons. The first was on sports and society, which encouraged him to study the science behind coaching. Another, on Public Persona and Presentation, has also shaped his approach to commentating. “In most instances, people trying to become commentators will be fixated on the technical aspects of speaking — how to enunciate better, for example. But this module took a more holistic approach and made me consider the elements of my commentating and how that translated to a personality of sorts.”
Over the years, Mr Goh has coached 9
professional League of Legends
teams across 7 countries