Sebastian Ibeagha between training and video games

di Stefano Bentivogli
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Sebastien Ibeagha still wakes up at 8 a.m and fixes himself breakfast. He gets a workout in, unless it’s a day off. Then he turns to one of life’s last pleasures unaffected by social distancing to fill his empty schedule: He flicks on his Xbox.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of sports that followed thereafter, the New York City FC defender is one of many pro athletes now faced with a massive surplus of free time. He and several teammates are turning to “Call of Duty” to fill that void.

For some on the team, the game (they play the “Modern Warfare” title specifically) has been a very rough substitute for the intensity of pro sports. The club played Mexican giant Tigres on March 11 in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, falling 1-0 in a tense affair and one of the club’s biggest matches ever. Now, some NYCFC players are maintaining that stimulation by yelling at their TVs instead.

“I think it makes me angry enough to where it kind of simulates stuff that happens on the field,” Ibeagha told The Post by phone.

Ibeagha and his most frequent gaming partner on the team — backup goalkeeper Brad Stuver — play “Call of Duty” for hours on end, now spending their days bemoaning “campers” (players who hide within the game) instead of missed calls on the field.

“Being a pro athlete, we don’t get to play the game we love [right now], but our entire life is about that competitive feeling. … And when we don’t get to go into training every day and have that, sometimes guys have a hard time filling that gap,” Stuver said.

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