Kels makes CoD history as first woman to qualify for CDL Challengers Elite
Scottish Call of Duty competitor Kelsie ‘Kels’ Grieg has made history by becoming the first woman to qualify for the Call of Duty Challengers Elite tournament, marking the highest achievement for a female CoD competitor in the Call of Duty League.
Since the CDL launched in 2020, it has been dominated by men from the top down. While some women have competed in tournaments, there has never been a female pro player and only a couple have really knocked on the doors of the top levels of amateur competition.
Kels is one of the most accomplished women in CoD esports and has played with and against pros in off-season tournaments, frequently bettering her male counterparts and showing clear signs of progression up the competitive ladder.
On January 5, she became the first woman in CDL history to qualify for the Challengers Elite, alongside her ‘Superstars’ teammates James ‘Genesis’ Smith, Conor ‘BBConor’ Beale, and Ewen ‘Disarray’ Harmer.
“First and foremost I just want to give a massive shoutout to my teammates,” she told Dexerto after the massive achievement. “Not only for being incredible but also for believing in me. I always knew that I was good enough to qualify for an Elite (eventually) — it’s just nice to prove that to other people.
“None of us are just content qualifying, we want to put up a good account for ourselves in the Elite. Hopefully proving women can compete at this level will encourage more women to compete and get rid of some of the stereotypes that exist.”
Season 1 of the Elite is due to take place from January 18 to February 2 in North America, Kels’ native Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.
The EU prize pool for the Elite 1 playoffs is $50,000, with the winning team taking home $20,000 between them. Not only that, but with the all-important Challenger Points on the line, this could be huge for seeding at international events, such as the upcoming CDL Boston Major.
There’s no doubt that Kels is helping push women in esports forward, but she will certainly be aiming even higher with aspirations in Call of Duty Challengers and the Call of Duty League itself.