Scouting and developing potential young stars is crucial for the longevity of any esports organisation. The latest to double down on this is Ninjas in Pyjamas, with the historic organisation launching a new talent program to help preserve Sweden’s status as a top breeding ground for Counter-Strike pros.
Path to Ninja sees NiP partner up with Area Academy, which has hosted regional Svenska Elitserien CS:GO events since 2018. The talent program will see a judging panel pick “two or three” of the top performers from Elitserien events and “provide them with all the tools they need, both inside and outside the game, to lower the gap between grassroots and professional CS:GO.” The panel is composed of four former Counter-Strike 1.6 professionals, including Ninjas in Pyjamas’ current head CS:GO coach Björn ‘THREAT’ Pers.
It appears that this is initiative is more about identifying and training the next top fragger in Swedish Counter-Strike, rather than as a way to sign new players for NiP. While players will work closely with the organisation they will still remain with the roster they competed with in the Elitserien.
“As part of the program, participants will remain in their current teams, but they will get gameplay and well-being guidance from the professional NiP staff,” the announcement post reads. “They will get invited to workshops and bootcamps at the NiP headquarters in Stockholm and much more.”
NiP’s chief operating officer and member of the judging panel, Jonas Gundersen, elaborates further.
“There’s something missing for young individuals who want to turn pro today,” he says. “More teams are moving towards academy teams and six player rotations for various reasons. While we see those as viable options for our own evolution, we also see the need to support the underlying ecosystem and provide ways into a potential academy team in the future.”