• Alan Brin is one of eSport’s great pioneers
  • He is the coach of high-profile French FIFA player “PSG Daxe”
  • He guided Bruce Grannec to two FIWC victories

Alan Brin, who previously coached FIFA Interactive World Cup legend Bruce Grannec and now oversees the career of Lucas “Daxe” Cuillerier, is a veritable eSport trailblazer, having foreseen the discipline’s potential well before most.

“The way I see it, eSport is a real sport,” the experienced Frenchman explained to FIFA.com. "It has all the same ingredients. You need to work hard, have a healthy lifestyle, and be disciplined, mentally strong, respectful and modest. If you don’t have any of that, you won’t get very far.”

Born to coach
He continued: “I got into video games pretty late, around the age of 26. I wasn’t necessarily the greatest player, but I had the right mindset. And so we put together a team and travelled all over France taking part in tournaments. I quickly became the one who did all the talking, who set the strategy, who motivated the other players.”

That was over a decade ago – an absolute eternity in the world of eSport, which was still in its infancy at the time. “It all came together in a pretty haphazard fashion,” he said. “I was part of a handful of enthusiasts, there were no online games, and everything was done through local networks. Everyone brought their own equipment and just muddled through.”

Enhanced expectations
Now that he works for Paris Saint-Germain eSports, who hired him last year to look after their new recruit, “Daxe", his working conditions are a lot more comfortable, but the pressure to obtain results has also increased significantly. Despite “Daxe” enjoying a fine season, during which he competed in several regional finals and qualified for the Ultimate Team Championship in Berlin, the talented young gamer has not yet managed to secure a place at the FIFA Interactive World Cup.

This Saturday in London, where the first-ever FIFA Interactive Club World Cup is set to kick off, Brin’s task will be to steer his compatriot to victory in the Xbox One division, which would finally ensure him of a place in the FIWC 2017 Grand Final, an event from which Grannec, under the tutelage of Brin, memorably emerged victorious on two occasions, in 2009 and 2013.

Brin in Grannec’s eyes:
“Nothing’s ever finished, as far as he’s concerned. Even when you get off to a bad start and it seems like the match is going to slip away from you, he always manages to find the right words at the right time that will often help you to turn the result around, despite the fact you didn’t think it was possible. He plays a very important role.” 

Motivational mentor
In fact, the man nicknamed “Zal” can see clear parallels between “Daxe” and his former charge. “He and Bruce both have a rare trait: you don’t have to tell them something twice,” he explained. “When you give him a piece of advice, he takes it on board and applies it straight away. He’s still really young, and has incredible potential for improvement.

“This job is a bit different from an actual football coach, because when you play the FIFA video game, you do so individually. I see myself more like a boxing trainer. I work on psychological aspects with my players quite a lot. We discuss things and sort out minor details here and there. I’m not going to explain to my player how to perform a certain dribble; I mainly focus on the mental side of things – before, during and after tournaments.”