YOUNGSTOWN - Students at East High School in Youngstown are getting ready to get their game on as the district introduces a new esports team this upcoming school year. 

The East High School Golden Bears will kick off its first season in the 2021-2022 school year giving students from East High School, as well as Chaney and Youngstown Rayen Early College a chance to let their gaming skills shine. 

Unlike most traditional sports, esports do not have physical requirements. All esports athletes need are teamwork, critical thinking and gaming skills. 

East High School 10th-grade geometry teacher, Charles Stark is the district's esports program developer. Stark said the esports program will be a great opportunity for students to develop their collaboration and creative skills. 

"It gives a traditionally undeserved group of scholars a reason to come to school and prioritize their education," Stark said. 

Teams will compete in a variety of different games including Overwatch, Rocket League, Fortnite and Super Smash Bros.

The team will meet in a room in East High School containing multiple televisions, gaming consoles computer monitors and headsets. Team members will each get a jersey as well. 

Competitions will primarily be online so minimal travel is required for team members. Chaney and Rayen students will be transported to East after school for meets and will be transported home after meets.

In the future, Youngstown City Schools may expand and allow more schools in the area to participate in esports. CEO Justin Jennings said this could provide an opportunity for more students to participate in extracurricular activities.

"We want our scholars to be involved in extracurricular activities and sports as another way to increase engagement with the scholars themselves and with families as well," Jennings said. 

Plans call for 28 students for the first year. In order to participate, students must meet academic requirements and be selected for the team after tryouts. Students must be enrolled in at least five one-credit courses and maintain passing grades in all of them. There will be no charge for students to join but fundraising may be required.