Dylan “DullenMIKE” Neuhausen is one of the best FIFA players worldwide in Ultimate Team mode. The 18-year-old’s big goal is to take part in the world championship, but there are only a few steps left.
In the interview he talks about his life as an e-athlete, hard training in the run-up to tournaments and a hefty prize money at the age of 16. He also reveals how amateur players can improve quickly and which stars should not be missing from any team.
Dylan, how did you get your nickname “DullenMIKE”?
Dylan Neuhausen: At some point during school days, Dylan became Dullen, that’s my name everywhere. When I switched to the Xbox to gamble, Dullen was already occupied, so I had to come up with something to add to the name. So I decided on Mike, my cat’s name. By the way, it got its name from Mike Hanke, who had switched to my favorite club SC Freiburg at the time.
You graduated from high school last year. Are you now a full-time e-athlete?
DullenMIKE: “After my victory everyone knew about it”
When did you first come into contact with FIFA?
Neuhausen: I used to play on the Nintendo DS every now and then. It really started with FIFA 10 after my father bought a Playstation 3 and we dueled there.
Did you quickly realize that you were above average?
Neuhausen: In the beginning I hardly had any comparative values because many of my friends did not have their own consoles. When they came to visit, I’ve always won very high, but that was mainly because I had the opportunity to play every day. My skills around FIFA 15 and FIFA 16 became really noticeable when most of my buddies also had their consoles and you could play against each other online. I often played them with worse teams to increase their chances, but even then I won most of the games. At the time, however, I hadn’t thought of an esports career.
When did it happen?
A lot of prize money is often paid out at these tournaments. Was that the first way to get income through FIFA?
Neuhausen: Yes. I qualified for my first offline tournament in FIFA 19, and the prize pool was around $ 200,000. For the qualification alone there was 500 dollars. As a 16-year-old, of course, it felt incredibly cool to take the money with you for a little FIFA game. At the tournament itself, I made it into the top 16, for another $ 1,000. Then came the offers from clubs and from that point on I slipped onto the professional track. There you get your fixed salary, which is of course the main source of income.
Neuhausen: You’re under contract with esports teams or clubs. Sponsors get in there and my salary can be paid from it. The main sponsor of my esports team NEO is, for example, paysafecard, with which we have already implemented very cool content activations for the community. My first real team back then was SK Gaming. I was 16, in 11th grade, and got a decent amount of money playing for them. That felt amazing.
Keyword school: Was there support from teachers and classmates?
Neuhausen: When a tournament came up, I usually got the days before and after. The events took place from Friday to Sunday. Often you have already arrived on Wednesday or Thursday, the return flight usually took place a day or two later. I was always released for this. I am still grateful today that this was made possible for me. At the latest after my victory at the FUT Champions Cup in 2019 with $ 50,000 in prize money, everyone in the school knew about it. I can still clearly remember my first day of school afterwards, an excursion to a university nearby was on the program. The tournament was the number one topic of conversation for the entire excursion and everyone was happy for me. I never actually experienced envy.