Both Team Vitality and now-former in-game leader Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin have confirmed that the British captain will leave the French CS:GO team, citing issues with the extensive travel and exhaustion of the professional scene.
First reported by neLendirekt, ALEX has revealed his decision to step away from the Vitality roster following their 9-12th finish at IEM Katowice 2020, and their exit in the group stages at BLAST London back in February.
The British star has been a part of Team Vitality for just over a year, joining the French organization back in 2018 to replace Vincent 'Happy' Schopenhauer, and the 24-year-old led the team to second place in the Counter-Strike World Rankings — picking up trophies at ECS Season 7 Finals and EPICENTER 2019 (with victory over mousesports) along the way.
According to the initial reports reports, ALEX's decision to leave Team Vitality is due to personal reasons, and not in-game issues or conflicts with teammates. The IGL has apparently grown tired of the constant travel associated with being a professional CS:GO player, which can force those at the top level to fly around the world to compete, sometimes with minimal breaks in between.
In a TwitLonger post, ALEX confirmed those reports, saying that the "accelerated professionalization of the CS:GO scene" was too tiring and intense. According to him, the team traveled 36 weeks of the year in 2019, but he realized recently that the changing ecosystem meant he wouldn't be able to cut it down to closer to 22 weeks in 2020 like he had planned. Vitality made an official statement on March 4.
Official statement regarding our CS:GO team. pic.twitter.com/ioAGqfx86M
— Team Vitality (@TeamVitality) March 4, 2020
With Vitality heading into an extraordinarily busy period for them, which could see the team compete at six events over the next four months, plus added matches at the BLAST Premier Showdown thanks to their disappointing result in London, ALEX has decided that now is the right time to step down from the team, and has already informed his teammates of his choice.
ALEX's departure from the team will come as a shock to many, with few expecting to see him leave the team despite recent struggles that have saw the team fall to ninth in the world rankings, their lowest since May 2019.
Reports suggest that they are eyeing up LDLC's Ali 'hAdji' Hainouss as a replacement.
Team Vitality CSGO lineup
- Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
- Cedric 'RpK' Guipouy
- Mathieu 'ZywOo' Herbaut
- Richard 'shox' Papillon
- Remy 'XTQZZZ' Quoniam (Coach)
ALEX's full statement on TwitLonger:
You may have seen the rumours fly around, I can now confirm that it’s true, I am moving away from playing at this time. Last year we travelled 36 weeks of the year and by July I was struggling to keep up with the intense travelling schedule, coming into this year we wanted to cut that down to 22 weeks (an extra 2.5 months at home). However the accelerated professionalization of the CS:GO scene, through ESL pro tour & Blast Premier arrivals, changed the ecosystem and we could no longer get down to anywhere near the amount of weeks discussed earlier. That being said, the only logical course of action for me after the year that had just passed was to withdraw myself from the team before becoming too tired to put the necessary work in, although I did offer to stay on until they found a suitable replacement they chose to look for someone now and that is their decision to make, I wish them the best of luck and would like nothing more than for them to do well.
I would like to thank Dan, Mathieu, Cédric, Richard, manager Matthieu, assistant coach Mathieu & a huge thank you to Rémy who had a massive part to play in everything that went right during my time in the team.
The last part of this is just a massive thank you to Vitality, who have done nothing but try to put us in the best conditions possible to perform, brought in countless members of staff and invested heavily into the team, as you may have seen from my last Twitter post a few days ago I have nothing but love for this organisation and I wish them the best going forward, with everything they do.
I’m not sure what the future will hold for me, but I would like to thank everyone who has supported me/us over the years and I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride as much as I have.