Former Eagles running back Jay Ajayi switched from football to virtual soccer this week when he signed with the Philadelphia Union’s eMLS League Series One team, signaling a new branch for the 26-year-old’s pro sports career.

After one day of play with the Union… well, Ajayi needs a little work if he wants to add a new title to pair with his Super Bowl win:

Oh, Jay, no.

Every other competitor won at least two games, while Ajayi didn’t manage a draw. He tied for last place in goals scored, with 11, but gave up a whopping 72 goals, 31 more than anyone else.

Now, here’s the thing: it’s easy to clown Ajayi for getting steamrolled in his debut, and part of that teasing would be warranted. Athletes often believe they can switch sports and continue to succeed, but they overlook the need for a host of specialized skills. Sports are complicated and hard!

Plus, video games lower this bar even further. Everyone has a friend who dominates friendly round-robin video game tournaments, and thinks they can take in the world.

This is a nice reminder: pro gamers are on another level, just like any other athlete.

But it’s also easy, for me, to feel for the former Eagle. It’s his first day in an entirely new world, and he didn’t back down (though he probably should have at some point). Now, I’m excited for Ajayi to get his first pro win.

Despite the fact that he is dead last in the eMLS standings, Ajayi is still playing in Friday’s knockout rounds at Union Transfer - his spot was guaranteed ahead of time. Which is good, because he clearly needs some time to find his feet.

 

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