Cloud9 now has an academy roster in CS:GO following the additions of Artem “sstr1ct” Mesnyankin, Vladislav “h1te” Khait, Maxim “dekz” Korolev, Matvei “sm3t” Gogin, and in-game leader Daniil “alpha” Demin.
The team will be coached by Ivan “F_1N” Kochugov, who had been working as an analyst for C9 since the organization picked up the former Gambit lineup in April 2022. The 38-year-old has years of experience as a head coach but had been away from the role since 2020 when the Esports Integrity Commission suspended him along with 36 other coaches for exploiting an instance of the infamous spectator bug.
“We are excited to announce that Cloud9 is expanding its presence in the CS:GO scene,” the organization said. “Our academy squad consists of five young prospects and will be coached by Ivan “F_1N” Kochugov, who has previously worked as the main team’s head coach and analyst. Our initial goals for this squad are to get competitive experience and with time to establish itself as a top 30 team in the world.”
With the signings of these players, C9 has become the latest organization to enter CS:GO at an academy level. Junior rosters have become a trend since the creation of the WePlay Academy League in August 2021. The event is currently on its fifth edition and offers a $100,000 prize pool for academy teams hailing from all over the world.
It’s unclear when C9’s academy team will debut. The squad will most likely begin attending open qualifiers and online cash cups this month.