The North American Counter-Strike: Global Offensive veteran Damian “daps” Steele declared free agency this Friday. The Canadian announced his decision on his official Twitter page, shortly after he stepped down as Gen.G’s in-game leader.
Forgot to say this but as of yesterday I am officially contract free for the first time in 5 years 🙌 Still would prefer to be a player but open to other offers if it seems like a good fit.
— daps (@daps) September 18, 2020
Priority is to Continue Career
In a Twitter post, which surfaced on Thursday, September 17, daps revealed he would no longer play with Gen.G, who ended up replacing him with Danny “cxzi” Strzelczyk for the duration of the ESL Pro League Season 12: North America. The Canadian CS:GO pro followed his announcement up with another Twitter post, where he revealed he is “officially contract-free for the first time in five years” and is open to offers from other teams.
Will not being playing the match today vs 100T. They'll be using someone they've been pracing with. Best of luck to them!
— daps (@daps) September 17, 2020
With his decision to step down from Gen.G’s CS:GO roster, daps became an inactive player for the first time since June 2019, when he got replaced by Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz at NRG Esports. However, this does not mark the end of the road for the 27-year-old, who revealed his priority is to continue his CS:GO career, while not ruling out the possibility of taking on a different role at another esports organization.
Daps’ Illustrious Stint with Gen.G
Daps joined the South Korean eSports organization in December 2019 as one of the inaugural members of their CS:GO project alongside his former Cloud9 teammates Timothy “autimatic” Ta and Kenneth “koosta” Suen. Joining the ex-C9 trio were Sam “s0m” Oh and Hansel “BnTeT” Ferdinand, who rounded up Gen.G CS:GO roster in December 2019.
Since assembling their team, Gen.G saw a fair amount of success in their competitive endeavors. Only two months after putting together their squad, Gen.G made a lot of noise in the CS:GO competitive scene by winning their first LAN event DreamHack Open Anaheim 2020 over FURIA, which saw them jump up to the no.17 rank in global standings.
Daps and co. continued to impress with another title from ESL One: Road to Rio – North America in May to which they added a top-six finish at Flashpoint Season 1, a semi-finals appearance at BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 American Showdown, and a silver medal from cs_summit 6 Online: North America in July.
Since reaching the grand finals of cs_summit, however, Gen.G started to slump. They managed a rather pedestrian seventh-eighth place finish at ESL One: Cologne 2020 Online – North America at the end of August and are currently holding onto a 2-2 record at ESL Pro League Season 12: North America.
Gen.G’s lack of success in recent months was reportedly one reason why daps decided to step away from the roster, while also citing Gen.G’s inability to make the necessary changes both inside and outside of the game as one of the reasons that ushered his departure.
Gen.G Still Looking For a Replacement
Gen.G hasn’t yet announced who will fill in the void left behind by daps. As it stands now, they’re using the services of former Faith and Positive Vibes Only player cxzi, who has stepped in as the fifth member of Gen.G, while koosta took over as the IGL.
Since cxzi is only a temporary replacement for daps, it’s still unclear whether Gen.G will look for another player or offer the 20-year-old American pro a permanent contract. Still, cxzi has already left a positive impact in his debut against 100 Thieves (1.13 HLTV rating) and is expected to represent Gen.G’s banner throughout the remainder of the ESL Pro League.
What’s Next for Daps?
As one of the most successful and well-known North American CS:GO pros, daps is now a free agent and open for offers from other organizations. Even though there are no official confirmations where he will continue his career, there are speculations in the CS:GO circles stating that he could join FaZe Clan.
The speculations are at this point nothing more than that; however, seeing daps joining FaZe might not be as far-fetched as it may seem, considering FaZe are reportedly negotiating a transfer of their IGL Nikola “NiKo” Kovač to G2 Esports. If the transfer comes through, FaZe will be in dire need of a new skipper, making daps a perfect man for the job.
Another possible transfer would be daps re-joining Cloud9, who are currently rebuilding their CS:GO project. This move seems far less likely since C9 already has an IGL in ex-Vitality player Alex “ALEX” McMeekin, who joined the North American organization on Thursday, September 10.
Last but not least, there is a chance daps could transition to VALORANT, like many other CS:GO veterans did in recent months. Daps, however, has yet to hint a possible transition to Riot Games’ tactical first-person shooter and will likely keep this option as a “Plan B” if he fails to find a new home in the CS:GO scene.