WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Jefferson Community College is saying “game on” to esports.

This was as JCC officially unveiled, and opened the doors to its new esports arena on August 11 as the college is launching its inaugural team.

The arena features individual gaming stations, aerodynamic gaming chairs, three 70-inch television monitors and Alienware software.

According to JCC Administrator in Charge Dr. Daniel Dupee, the idea for the program was started as esports began growing in popularity several years ago.

“It’s been about two years in the making,” Dr. Dupee said. “Our facilities department, our IT department, our athletics department really put together a great program.”

With the team, student-athletes will have the option to focus on one game or play many different games on the team. Titles include FIFA, Call of Duty and Super Mario Smash Bros.

Leading the team is Jefferson Community College Alumni and Student-Athlete Joseph Wargo, who helped develop the program during an internship with the college last spring.

“Gaming has been such a big part of my life for the past 21 years,” Wargo shared. “So to be able to do it at a competitive collegiate setting, it’s just awesome to do it here.”

Practices will begin early in the fall semester, with the team’s first competition through the National Junior College Athletic Association in early June.

JCC Athletics Director Jeff Wiley, said students will be competing, not only against other New York colleges but with schools across the country.

“When they sign on at seven-o-clock on Tuesday, they’re going to be playing against the top ten teams in the nation,” Wiley emphasized.

Wiley added that the team already has 35 members, however, the roster is anticipated to grow. Among the players is incoming freshman Ian Gerrand, who said this is a dream come true.

“Me and my friend have always played out video games competitively non-stop,” Gerrand said. “A few of them we’ve gotten really good at. We’ve always dreamed about taking it to the next level, and this is the best opportunity to do that.”

Campus leaders shared similar excitements as having an esports team will also bring new inclusive opportunities to JCC.

“It’s an opportunity that is open to really all students regardless of gender, regardless of ability,” Vice President for Student Engagement and Retention Dr. Cory Campbell said. “That’s really a main aspect as to why esports is so exciting.”

JCC’s esports team is still accepting new members and will continue to on a rolling basis throughout the fall semester. More information can be found on the JCC Athletics website.