20-year-old Professional Gamer Leonardo Lopez Perez AKA MkLeo from Mexico City went from poverty to a well-known top player with nearly half a million dollars in his bank. The career trajectory of MkLeo proves that a billion-dollar industry and growth of esports are more than just a video game for kids while away hours on end in their rooms.

Recently, he became one of the esports industry’s top gamers and was considered the world’s best player of a fighting game for Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He won the largest tournament of Super Smash Bros Ultimate at 2019 Evolution Championship Series In Las Vegas and took home a cash prize of $21,000.

Growing up, MkLeo’s family didn’t have that much money and he and his family lived in a city on the outskirts of Mexico City. He says that they didn’t have anything and remembered that they used to sell a lot of things just for them to have money to eat like once a week.

Playing video games changed his and his family’s life. Now, as one of the world’s top gamers, he said that he’s been able to save roughly $500,000 from the income he made during his gaming career including his winnings from gaming tournaments, income from his esports team T1, and his income as an entertainer on YouTube where he has more than 140,000 followers.

More recently, he found a new source of income as a star coach on the video game coaching Metafy. Despite being only 20 it’s taken him more than a decade to get to the point where amateur players will pay up to $100 to Perez an hour to try and learn some of his skills.

According to MkLeo, he has been playing video games for a long time and he started playing Smash Bros when he was only 7 years old. He won his first-ever tournament at the age of 8 in 2009. He kept entering more tournaments into his teenage years and occasionally winning modest amounts of money here and there saying that It was indeed life-changing for him.

When he was about 14 years old, he became one of Mexico’s top gamers and managed to get himself onto the international gaming scene and won the 2015 Smash Factor 4 tournament defeating RaminDelshad AKA Mr.R.

MkLeo’s win happened to catch the attention of an American gamer legend Jason Zimmerman AKA Mew2King. He told MkLeo that he should start traveling to the U.S so that he can compete in bigger tournaments and offered to serve as MkLeo’s coach. He said that when he met MkLeo, he was known for his talent at his age but nobody thought and realized how good could and would become.

MkLeo looked to Zimmerman as his mentor since they met in Mexico and that Zimmerman offered him guidance during the next several years, he now established himself as a top gamer in abroad and the U.S.

Zimmerman says that he decided to help MkLeo to improve and reach his dream of becoming the number one player in the world. From there, MkLeo started training for eight hours each day to try his best to become the best. He even said that he forgot to eat some days because of his willingness to be and get better even more.

Over the next few years, he continued winning major tournaments and racking up cash prizes. Thanks to his earnings, he said that he was able to buy an apartment for his family and that thinks that their life improved even more. Other than buying the apartment for his family, he said that he’s been saving the rest and hasn’t spent anything.

MkLeo is still young and that he was in his prime, and that no player could beat him consistently because he was literally the best Super Smash Bro Ultimate player.

He plans to continue coaching and said that in order to be the best, gamers must need someone that’s going to coach them because for him, that helped a lot and that coaching is what saved him and made him become the best and also grinding because that really what makes you good.