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Mark Neace earned $700K coaching ‘League of Legends’ gamers


This retired soldier is making a mint teaching pretend warriors how you can fight on their computers.

Mark Neace, an ex-Army Intelligence sergeant, coaches people on how you can play the video game “League of Legends” — the most well-liked game played on a competitive level around the globe.

While E-sports are gaining traction — even being eyed as an Olympic event — the pool of coaches remains to be small, and the 33-year-old Virginian has seized the chance. He estimates he earned $700,000 last 12 months.

“I’m considered one of the primary video game coaches, so I don’t really must fight to retain clients, as silly as that sounds,” said Neace, who served a tour in Afghanistan during a four-year military profession. “If a fitness trainer heard that, they’d be like, ‘That’s amazing,’ because that’s such a competitive industry and everybody on Instagram is a fitness influencer as of late.”  

Charging $250 to $300 for 90-minute online sessions, Neace trains greater than 1,000 clients a 12 months — including 49ers defensive tackle Kalia Davis; Glassdoor founder Robert Hohman; and popular YouTuber and world-class gamer Richard Blevins, also generally known as Ninja.

Neace became obsessive about gaming back in the times of dial-up web access, when his father let him play Command and Conquer, a military strategy game. He eventually got so good, nobody bothered to even try beating him.

During highschool, Neace snuck right into a Halo 2 contest on the University of Maine, acting because the team’s ringer. They stomped the competition and took first place, but Neace was unable to gather his $100 prize when the judges discovered he wasn’t actually a student there.

“That was the a-ha moment for me — to even have a possibility to win something from gaming,” he said. “I began pondering, ‘There’s got to be something more I can do with this.’”

Neace charges $250 to $300 for 90-minute online sessions.

Mark NeaceNeace says that he’s “considered one of the primary video game coaches.”Andre Mags Photography

In 2010, at 21 years old, he enlisted within the US Army. Serving within the third Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, his job mirrored the games he played — combing over massive amounts of information and preparing combat soldiers on how you can best perform their mission — only with rather more at stake. Though he never saw combat, his work directly affected the lives of his fellow soldiers.

“While I used to be deployed, there was a lack of sleep, quite a lot of stress and there was at all times that feeling of responsibility — was I doing enough for these guys to make the best decisions on the battlefield?” he said.

Neace’s journey to becoming a successful gaming coach was a 10-year slog full of economic hard times, long hours making YouTube content and humility, especially when he and his wife had to maneuver in together with her parents.

Mark NeaceThe gaming coach’s success didn’t occur over night — he dedicated 10 years to Youtube videos. AFP via Getty Images

He felt just like the dude in a fledgling garage band who should’ve abandoned dreams of creating it big years ago.

“Even my very own parents were like, ‘When are you going to get an actual job?’” he said.

His wife encouraged him to start out his own website where he initially charged $100 for a training session, and it quickly took off. Extra time and with a continuing flow of clients, he was capable of triple his prices.

Mark Neace gamerNeace says that the gamer coaching pool may be very small — allowing him to thrive.AFP via Getty Images/ Christophe Archambault

Neace said he wouldn’t fully recommend people follow in his footsteps.

“I put all my chips in the center on this thing, and it worked, nevertheless it very easily couldn’t have,” he said.

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