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Over the course of their 46-year history, Paris Saint-Germain has won 31 titles, cementing their place as the most successful soccer team in the history of France. Now, they’ve joined the likes of American sports organizations like the Philadelphia 76ers by entering into the world of esports.
In 2017, PSG will be fielding a full League of Legends team, managed by none other than recently retired veteran EU player Bora “Yellowstar” Kim. They’ll be entering the Challenger League of the EU LCS in the 2017 season, after buying out Team Huma’s spot.
French teams in League of Legends haven’t seen very much success, the one exception being Millenium, who eked out a place for themselves in the middle of the EU LCS during the 2014 season. Paris Saint-Germain has certainly put together a talented roster, though, and by starting in Challenger, they seem to be setting themselves up for early success.
In the top lane, PSG will be fielding Etienne “Steve” Michels, and in the bottom lane, Hampus “Sprattel” Abrahamsson will be playing support. Both are alumni of Schalke 04, the last European soccer club to venture into League of Legends, and both jumped ship after the team was knocked down to Challenger in their first split. Thomas “Kirei” Yuen, who was brought on as jungler, is probably just glad to be the only member on Epsilon Esports to actually land on a new team.
The real stars of Paris Saint-Germain are their Korean players, Sung-min “Blanc” Jing and Woo-Hyung “Pilot” Na. They’ll be playing the roles of mid and ADC, respectively, and PSG will probably be looking to use them as the lever to apply force to their opponents. Both Pilot and Blanc are veterans of Jin Air Green Wings, a strictly okay Korean team whose biggest accomplishment might have been taking a game off SK Telecom this Spring.
A few European soccer organizations have dipped their toes into the waters of pro gaming by hiring individual players; Manchester United brought on Kieran ‘Kez’ Brown to play Fifa for them this summer. But with the exception of Schalke 04, no others have fully committed to developing an esports presence, and it’s not hard to see why after the trouncing the German team received.
But there’s reason to believe PSG will be more successful. For one, they’re not jumping into the most competitive League environment in their region for their first season, and they have a seasoned manager who understands the world of League of Legends as only a six-year veteran of the sport can. Ironically, Steve and Sprattel both played for Schalke 04 before coming onto the PSG roster. For their sake, I hope that this European soccer expedition into esports fares better than the last.
Their roster announcement video, which shows their team members morphing from cartoon people to real boys, is included below for your entertainment.