Former student Drini Gjoka finds success in professional Madden


Courtesy of Sports Gamers Online

Vincent Kamani

Wilson alum Drini Gjoka claims he was already the best Madden NFL player in the world at only 17. Now, after competing in a lengthy and competitive tournament, the 18-year-old DC native has officially taken that throne.

Gjoka has been playing Madden, a popular video game simulating NFL football, since he was six, after being taught how by his older brothers. But the game currently looks a lot different than it did when Gjoka first picked up a controller. Each year a new version of Madden comes out and people compete for money. For the most recent game, Madden 18, there were four major tournaments. The first three tournaments were played to determine who would receive spots in the Madden Bowl 2018 Tournament at the end of the year.

“When the tournaments are happening I usually play four to five hours a day,” Gjoka said, and added that he is currently waiting for the new Madden 19 to be released. That amounts to 28 to 35 hours of Madden per week. “I definitely get tired but if you want [to] place well in tournaments that’s the type of hours you gotta put in,” Gjoka said.  

Gjoka still had to get permission from his parents to enter such an unconventional lifestyle for an 18 year old. “I told my parents, ‘trust me, I’m one of the best Madden players in the world. If you let me take one year off school and go all in on Madden, I can make a lot of money.’ My parents let me pursue my dreams and I eventually made $120,000 this year playing Madden. Safe to say I made the right choice,” Gjoka said.

Gjoka’s success shows that in today’s world it’s possible to make a good living doing what you love. All that’s required is hard work, dedication and passion.