April 7, 2023

Time With Victor Castro — Director of Army West Point Esports

Time With Victor Castro — Director of Army West Point Esports


Leading a Strong Esports Team: Lessons From West Point

Richard DiNinni (left) & Victor L. Castro (right) | Photo credit: We Are SC - University of Southern California

Esports seems to be making its way into an array of arenas: corporations, traditional sports and institutions, with which we have a captivating story from the ends of the military institution West Point, New York. Pioneering the initiative is the Director of Army West Point Esports, Victor Castro. The program is focused on enhancing the cadet experience through competitive gaming. 


In the interview we discuss with Victor ‘Leading a Strong Esports Team: Lessons From Westpoint’ where he highlights the journey from rallying round stakeholders and team members to help implement the esports program in their institution, and further elaborating what the program is about as well.


Institutions have a universal goal of ensuring that persons who enroll with them leave with their personalities affected and developed by the environments and tutors they are introduced to and socialized with, and West Point is no different with this as they intend to have their students graduate as commissioned officers of the United States through character development and leadership training. Associating this mission with that of their esports program is not far-fetched; the underlying element of legacy led to what has now become an avenue for development and an opportunity to hone a new skill set through competitive gaming. 


Victor makes it clear that the training cycles have to be devised and implemented by participants (students that is), because unlike other universities, service academies do not have the time for activities like these, and with teams of five, experiences are bound to be shared and tapped into to make practice engaging and intensive. 


Although there have not been any addition of international students to the teams it is no different with their enthusiasm and involvement with esports – they use the facilities just like the rest of the students to better themselves as they join them to play side by side, tapping into the experiences and gathering for themselves skills that would be worthy of having them be a part of the program. Students are coming all the way from countries like Great Britain, Morocco, Germany, France, Egypt, among others.

Esports teams are recognized mostly (and easily) through social media, and the team at West Point understands that branding, image and engagement on socials is key to building an audience and a [large] following to sustain the community, and theUSAAhas stepped in to be a sponsor for this program.


“if you stay true to whatever your ideals are and what you're trying to design, somebody's going to parallel with you. Somebody's going to see the same idea and they're going to want to be a part of it.” – Victor Castro, Director of Army West Point Esports 


Victor understands the challenge with using the program to garner following with physical locations especially when you are on the come up, but the good thing is that there is still the digital option which is social media to showcase the work of the cadets – them having fun and showing their efforts and hard work. The goal is not to make money, seeing that that will be a violation of the regulations of the academy.

 There is still room to improve on the social media, as he agrees and with help from team members and cooperation with the academy’s administration, they are able to identify what will work best for them, platforms and methods to broadcast their work. 

You can follow up on theirwebsiteand socials: @armywpesports onTwitterand onInstagramto see the progress they are making with esports in their academy.

Disclaimer: This podcast is not a government production. The views expressed do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Military Academy, United States Army, Department of Defense or the US Government.

Esports has helped create jobs for lots of people. Interested in knowing about the business side of esports? Listen to the Gamers Change Lives Podcast! We get experienced guests from all around the world featuring. 

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Written By Jeffrey Osei-Agyeman