On the final day before rosters lock for the IEM Cologne event, Team Liquid announced today they are bringing in Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis to stand in for their CS:GO roster in Germany.
YEKINDAR, a 22-year-old rising star out of Latvia, last played for the Virtus.pro roster that has competed under the name Outsiders since the Russian-owned VP organization was banned from officially competing at most CS:GO events in the wake of the Ukrainian invasion. In late May, after two years with VP, YEKINDAR was moved to the inactive roster for “a number of reasons,” including ones “related to the current international environment,” per VP’s official announcement.
Liquid did not explicitly say in its statement whether or not this part of a longer trial effort, but considering YEKINDAR’s prowess, age, and current situation, it’s certainly something the organization could easily consider.
He will step into a Liquid roster that’s coming off a major change themselves, having recently moved French veteran shox and head coach adreN to the bench. Damian “daps” Steele, a former NA CS:GO player and coach for NRG, EG, and Gen.G, has since stepped into the coaching role and will also make his debut at IEM Cologne. Before acquiring YEKINDAR’s services, Liquid reportedly sought out either Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski or Justin “jks” Savage to compete in Cologne.
As the second North American seed in ESL’s Cologne ranking system, Liquid and YEKINDAR will have the privilege of beginning the tournament in the main event’s group stage rather than playing through the play-in stage. IEM Cologne officially begins on July 5, with the main group stage starting July 7.