Tricked Academy has always been about giving the players a place to improve and grow in a semi-professional environment. Therefore when I was asked back in August 2018 to relaunch the Academy sector into 3 steps, I was super motivated. I started out with the launch of the Tricked U16 team, which is the start of our ladder. I then began testing the players for our last step AT (Academy Team). It has always been a dream for me to build up a place that one day would be talked about on the big scene like La Masia in Football.
We started out pretty rough with people not wanting to join simply because it was named Academy or because they were going to be the second team in the organization. This was of cause something I never understood. If we got through the first obstacle we had the second one right after A LOT of players doesn't wanna play with other players simply because of reputation. I mean if they didn’t know the name they didn’t wanna play with him, and if they somehow knew him, but didn’t think he was skilled enough, they didn’t wanna give him a test practice. This could also be because someone else said he wasn’t the right fit for them.
I found the last player for the team back in December. We were thrilled with the combination of players, and everyone was having a good time while practicing. Something I have always put first is the social aspect since it is a lot of time they need to spend together.
We went into our first event at the end of January, and shockingly enough we won second place. We were of cause not happy after the finale. I mean when you go to the final and actually feel like you had a chance winning the whole thing you gotta be a bit upset. When we got back to sleep, we talked and decided this was an impressive start and that we just needed to keep on going.
Sadly even though I try my best to go through Tuckman's 5 phases, I still got into my first challenge. Suddenly people were starting having problems with each other. People wanted to make changes even though to me, that sounded ridiculous. We had a good team with people doing their roles. There is always room for improvement, but changing a player was not in my plan. This made a player wanting to quit since he felt it was needed. So now I needed to create a new strategy for the team structure since finding the exact type of player isn’t always an option. We decided to cut 1 more player to make room for a duo to join.
Sadly name dropping a lot of players was mostly met with the same answers like “he is not good enough” or “No way.” Also, a lot of the players we approached didn’t wanna join because of the name or some of the players already on the team.
We then found two guys I was really looking forward to working with. Since it seemed like they understood how Tricked Academy worked and how I wanted a team to work. We started out with a lot of motivation from everyone on the team, which was nice to see. Also, people were willing to take bad roles or do the boring stuff for the team. People were accepting criticism I and everyone on the team came with. Everything was good, but then the honeymoon was over. Suddenly people didn’t wanna be professional in the way of talking to each other as well as taking criticism and listening to things. We were now in a place were 2 guys didn’t wanna play with 2 different and 1 guy not wanting to play with another guy. It ended up being brutal people leaving trying to play with others and me needing to cut people for not behaving professional enough.
I was now looking for new players again. I actually thought this was the end of my dream. I have worked a long time on this project, and it seemed like players weren't willing to work on the issues we met. Luckily some young and talented players were now without a team giving me the chance to rebuild the team quickly, and with people, I already knew was stable. They know you need to work on issues instead of giving up. Making them the ideal players out there for anyone wanting hardworking players. Sadly we got hit by a rule in csgo that prohibits Academy Teams from playing in tournaments and qualifiers where their first team is currently playing. This has never been a problem for us in the past since we never really played the qualifiers our tournaments, but with the new hungry players, we wanted to fight for a chance of upsets. This is currently something we are working on to fix in some way.
Academy teams are not welcome in qualifiers or tournaments that our pro team is competing in. Making it hard to have an Academy Team. I am, therefore focusing on things we can create for Academy teams out there since I do believe having an Academy team is the way to help talents be developed in this scene.