Update (December 3rd 2021): Resolve founder Ilias ‘Rai’ Pajoheshfar has joined Team Singularity as head coach. The news comes after Ilias stepped back as Resolve CEO earlier this year. He remains a shareholder of Resolve.
Original article (November 19th):
Danish esports organisation Team Singularity will be fielding an all-student League of Legends team in division 1 of the UK/Ireland/Nordics NLC next year.
Singularity have announced a partnership with London’s University of Roehampton, and as part of this, have decided to limit themselves solely to university student talent for their team, who will go up against the likes of LEC academy sides BT Excel, Astralis Talent and other orgs like MNM Gaming and X7 Esports next year.
The team is an all-star university team, so it’s not limited to students at Roehampton.
“We are limiting ourselves quite heavily in terms of the talent pool that we are looking to work with as it’s being limited to being players within a university education, but we believe that the pros outweigh the cons here and can’t wait to show our overall setup,” said Atle Stehouwer, founder and CEO at Team Singularity in this announcement post.
“I’m very excited for this partnership opportunity and I believe that it aligns perfectly with our short- and long-term vision within Team Singularity. This year has been weird in the NLC as we’ve had more offseason than on-season, and even though we have had good results and has been close to go all the way to EUM, we unfortunately weren’t able to do ourselves justice and walk the line.
“I’m confident in our new framework for the team operation within the NLC and what we’ll be able to bring to the table in 2022.”
The partnership with the university will also see the Roehampton facilities host dedicated team bootcamps. The university will provide opportunities for young aspiring athletes to get experience in a competitive environment, while also completing a degree.
Pedro Aguiar, esports coordinator at The University of Roehampton, added: “We decided that this would be a great opportunity to highlight not just Roehampton, but all the talent from universities across the UK, making this a university esports all-stars team to compete against some of the best aspiring talent in the Nordic region.
“I hope this project can highlight grassroot esports and showcase some of the talent it has to offer. Shining a light could lead to more scouts and more opportunities for young esports athletes who still want to pursue a higher education degree.”
The University of Roehampton also this week held a women in esports conference. Although Esports News UK was unable to attend, we’re hoping to do a separate follow-up on this at a later date.
Last year, the University of Roehampton launched a women in esports scholarship, and in early 2019, the first person in the UK to receive an esports scholarship from the university was a high elo League of Legends player: Julia Cwierz.
Elsewhere, a new ‘Badass University All Stars League’ featuring a £1,200 prize pool and teams from 35 UK universities will host their first live LAN event from December 4th to 5th at the University of Roehampton’s Esports Arena.
UK scene reacts: ‘Throwing uni players straight into div 1 is a recipe for disaster’
The Singularity news got people talking on social media today – here’s a roundup of reaction and comments from people outside of Roehampton and Singularity.
Alex ‘Synygy’ Winton, esports manager at LDNUTD and founder/ops director at the UKEL, said: “I like the idea in principle, but throwing uni players straight into div 1 is a recipe for disaster.
“I also feel it’s somewhat disrespectful to all the players who have worked hard who should be in div 1 and will now miss out. I hope I’m proven wrong though!”
MNM Gaming’s Alex ‘OfficerNaughty’ Bowley described the idea as a ‘Vaevictis Esports v2’ and said ‘at least MNM won’t come last now’.
Vaevictis fielded an all-women League of Legends roster in the Russian LCL two years ago, featuring players at an ability level lower than the other teams taking part. They suffered a series of huge losses including one 52-2 defeat, before being kicked out of the league by Riot Games Russia for ‘showing a huge difference in results and an unacceptable level of competitiveness in a closed league’.
Verdant’s interim LoL director Froomie added: “I don’t think it’ll end well. Some of the players that could’ve been playing in that top division have been robbed. I think they should seriously rethink this, but good luck.”
Others were more positive about the news, with London Esports manager Josh Mulgrew and Viperio founder Chris Sword describing the move as interesting.
Responding to the reaction, Pedro Aguiar, esports coordinator at the University of Roehampton, told Esports News UK: “Very few teams can compete with the franchise orgs academy rosters so it’s hard to compare it in that sense. We go into this split with high hopes of shining a light on the amazing talent that the university leagues have to offer.
“Hopefully by making a bold statement into Div 1, we can start to see a systematic change on how agents and scouts approach university esports and highlight a different path for young esports athletes who still want to pursue a pro career while studying in the higher education sector.
“There are many possibilities in the SNG partnership and this is just one thing we are doing right now.”
In terms of our views at Esports News UK – it’s a positive move and good to see links between esports organisations and universities.
It certainly won’t be easy for students to face off against the likes of Excel and Astralis LEC academy teams, or even X7 who have been linked with Haru, a player who has Worlds experience. But the challenge is set – and now it’s their chance to prove everyone wrong.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.