Following weeks of speculation, the Los Angeles Thieves have finally officially announced that veteran CoD pro Jordan ‘JKap’ Kaplan will be their Call of Duty League head coach for the 2021 season.
JKap has been a Call of Duty professional since 2010 and boasts a resume including All-Star appearances, world championships, and the respect of the entire CoD community. Having won world championships in 2015 and 2016, he is one of only three players to ever go back-to-back on the biggest stage.
In the inaugural season of the CDL, JKap was a founding starter of OpTic Gaming Los Angeles before he moved to a substitute role in Modern Warfare’s 5 vs. 5 format. Following the season and before the 100 Thieves acquisition, he retired from professional play on September 2, 2020.
But Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag’s 100T organization acquired the Los Angeles spot from OpTic Gaming, rebranded as the LA Thieves, and have since been subject to numerous rumors about JKap’s prospective role. After a December Mike Majlak video seemed to leak Kaplan’s announcement as coach, 100T has officially announced the move.
The world’s best kept secret…
— LA Thieves (@LAThieves) December 10, 2020
Given Nadeshot’s experience as CoD pro before he moved into the business side of esports, the recognition of JKap’s expertise in the field is understandable. While the Thieves have yet to cement their fourth starter, this coaching move establishes a strong foundation in CoD brainpower for the organization to work with.
While CDL rostermania has simmered down, roster changes are continuing to take place. At the moment, the LA Thieves roster is as follows:
- Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat (Starter)
- Kenny ‘Kenny’ Williams (Starter)
- Thomas ‘TJHaLy’ Haly (Starter)
- Zack ‘Drazah’ Jordan (Substitute)
Aside from Drazah, that is a very experienced roster and one that had high expectations going into the inaugural CDL season. Unfortunately, those expectations were never met as the team struggled through numerous lineup and coaching changes while sputtering toward ninth in the standings with a 10-17 record. Now, 2020 temporary starters like JKap, Martin ‘Chino’ Chino, and Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell have all moved on to different roles or teams and the rebranded Thieves are eyeing redemption.
With three of their four starters locked in, a promising new head coach, and a talented young substitute waiting in the wings, the Thieves are not finished making splashes in the offseason. Nadeshot continues to up the brand’s ante by bringing in Warzone players (like Tommey and Rated), but competitive fans are dying to know how the pro roster will be rounded out ahead of the CDL’s second season.
- Read more: Nadeshot’s needs for LA Thieves’ 4th player
While JKap has no coaching experience, he is regularly considered one of the stronger minds in the CoD community and, therefore, could make the team an even more attractive destination for an intrigued fourth starter. Grounded in experience, veteran talent, and the organizational expertise of former pros like Nadeshot and JKap, the LA Thieves have a chance to prove they are far more than a “hoodie org” in 2021.