A young couple separated by more than 300 miles met while playing Call of Duty online – with romance blossoming as they shot enemies together.
Finlay Brown, 20, and Sophia Carlile, 19, felt an instant attraction when they chatted after gaming on the same team.
Sophia had joined Finlay and his mates against a common enemy on the online platform, and the couple hit it off after their pals went to bed.
The pair quickly exchanged Instagram profiles and began a Snapstreak that they messaged at least every hour.
After six weeks the couple were sharing every moment of their lives on FaceTime, even chatting each other to sleep each night – with individual calls lasting up to nine hours.
They then finally met in person after six months and moved in together a year later – and now plan to partner for life.
Finley, a warehouse worker, moved from his parents’ home in Leeds to live with Sophia in Coleraine, Northern Ireland in October.
He said: “I never thought I’d fall in love online, but I knew I really liked her when we first met gaming.
“She’s confident and funny, and goofy. As soon as we started talking to each other my feelings got stronger and stronger.
“It wasn’t long at all before I knew I loved her. We just had our Snapstreak going all the time, and if we were busy we checked in every hour.
“When we started FaceTiming it was constant, we didn’t need to speak all the time, we just enjoyed being together.
“We don’t have to talk about anything important. I was just really attracted to her from the start: I love her style and her accent.”
Sophia, a trainee barber said: “After two weeks I knew I loved him. I never thought a thing like this would happen to me, but I know I’ll marry him.
“There was an instant attraction on both sides. I couldn’t go a day without talking to him.
“We work so well together. There’s no one else I’d want to be with. He just laughs so much, and it’s such a wholesome lovely laugh.
“He makes really funny jokes. I thought he was really lovely and when we saw each other I found out he’s gorgeous too.”
Finley and Sophia say they have each played Call of Duty for years.
Sophia started gaming with her uncles and cousins at the age of 12 and got her own PS4 for Christmas 2019 – just a month before meeting Finley online.
Finley says he got into the game with his big brother when he was about seven, and by age 16 he was playing up to 8 hours a day.
The pair still love the game and play together, but they also watch films in their spare time and curl up with their cat, Lily.
The smitten couple ran into each others’ arms when they first met in person, when Finley travelled to Limavady in Northern Ireland for Sophia’s 18th birthday in August 2020.
They visited each other as much as possible before finally moving in together.
Sophia said: “Call of Duty is such a fun game, and you can connect with people all round the world, which has its risks too.
“But you can block anyone who doesn’t make you feel comfortable.
“Just before meeting him in person I was so nervous my heart was in my mouth and my legs were shaking, but as soon as we hugged it felt amazing.”
Finley added: “I was so nervous on the ferry, but I don’t know why, everything was so natural and perfect when we met.”