London Spitfire Releases Its Roster and Staff

London Spitfire have announced over Twitter that they have released seven players from their roster.

The team had a rough finish in the Overwatch League finishing 17th in the regular season, followed up with a disappointing run in the playoffs. In response to their poor performance the team have released the following players:

  •         Park “Babel” Sang-Jun
  •         Cho “Clestyn” Gun-Hee
  •         Jung “ALTHOUGH” Hyun-Wook
  •         Lee “Highly” Sung-Hyeok
  •         Kim “Jihun” Ji-hun
  •         Yunghoon “Krillin” Jung
  •         Lee “Schwi” Dong-Jae

London Spitfire said on Twitter that the players have been released to “ensure that they can find a new team to thrive in with the least amount of resistance.” 

This marks a significant change in the organisation. Previously they had banked their success on recruiting the top players from around the world using free agents — a costly practice that has seen the org spend hundreds of thousands on what can now be seen as a bad bet.

Instead, in an attempt to save some money and grow local talent, the org is focusing their recruitment efforts closer to home. It looks like they want to expand their own talent pool by drawing from their minor league team, London Hurricane as well as recruiting players from Western Europe in an attempt to court sponsors and partnerships from brands closer to home.

They have also dropped their entire coaching staff earlier in the month. Head coach Hong “Agape” Cheol-yong, assistant coaches Yu “Pavane” Hyeon-sang and Lim “Twinkl” Young-bin, and strategic coach Kim “Sqix” Geon-yong have all been let go after two years of mediocre results.

Moving closer to home is a priority for the team. The Covid-19 pandemic and the Overwatch League 2020 forced the organisation to relocate their players and staff to South Korea. This placed them in the APAC division of the league, a highly competitive region for esports. Unfortunately, the team placed last in the APAC region.

Spitfire will retain five members of their Overwatch League 2020 team, including their breakout star Lim “Glister” Gil-seong.

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This major reshuffle of players is not without precedent. In May of this year the Vancouver Titans largely Korean team dissolved after many of their players returned home during the pandemic. Despite the disarray, the team reorganised and signed a new roster consisting of North American and Western European players.

While the young team had a poor 3-10 performance in the season, the org signed a large sponsorship deal with worldwide brand Domino’s Pizza.

Like many sports teams entering a period of rebuilding, London Spitfire may not be many punters first choice, they will certainly be one to look for in the coming years.

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