Many League of Legends fans have called for organizations to field more resident NA talent, but this might not be as easy as people believe. In a recent owner’s press conference, 100 Thieves’ CEO Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag explained that at the end of the day, teams are set to build the best rosters possible to win. He would love to be able to field five North American players on his team, but “with the ecosystem that we’re in right now, it’s just not the case.”
“Everybody wants you to win right now, but they also want you to be fielding North American talent and giving young players a shot. But sometimes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too,” Nadeshot said. “It’s a difficult situation, [and] we’re trying to manage it as best as we possibly can. We’re proud to be a North American team, we’re proud of the player base that is competing in League of Legends, and hopefully, they’ll have their time to shine in the coming years as these programs that we have at 100 Thieves continue to develop.”
There are plenty of ways to stunt a players’ growth, and throwing a young player on stage too early “really hurts [the] chances of their career actually taking off and prospering in the right order,” Nadeshot said. The 100 Thieves CEO believes that every LCS team wants there to be more North American-born players and that organizations are willing to help foster new blood. “The talent is out there,” according to the 29-year-old, but it just needs time to develop.
Nadeshot shouted out the 100 Thieves’ Next and Academy programs and how they’ve done a good job of identifying and building up young talent from the region. He did admit, however, that it simply takes more time to help develop these talents because of the nature of League of Legends.
Team Liquid’s general manager Dodo said it was “a bit disrespectful” to call some of these players “non-NA,” since a good majority of them have spent most of their career in the region. For example, he said that CoreJJ has been doing a ton of work to help build up the region with in-house matches, while Santorin and Jensen have been playing in the LCS for many years now.
The state of the League of Legends scene in North America has been a highly debated topic, especially among the people who think that the frequent use of imported players is a rising problem that could affect the growth of the esport in the region. Resident NA talent will ultimately need more time to develop, with the help of organizations that can help boost and elevate their names into the spotlight in the coming seasons.
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