Owen ‘Smooya’ Butterfield says he has rejected big-money offers in Valorant as he still wants to prove himself in Valve’s shooter.
The British AWPer’s future is currently up in the air after he was moved to the bench by Movistar Riders, a move first reported by Dexerto and confirmed by the Spanish organization on August 12. His stock had been on the rise during his eight months with the team, but with results remaining undistinguished, Movistar Riders decided to use the off-season to rebuild their roster with Spanish players only.
Smooya says that he holds no ill-will towards Movistar Riders following his benching, even though he admits to being frustrated by the timing of the decision, which could leave him without a team for the rest of the year.
“I found out about it on the 9th of August, one day before the roster lock,” he told Dexerto. “So it wasn’t the best time to find out.
“It’s a very smart business decision [on their part] because they knew I probably would not stay there when my contract ended anyway. So it makes sense for them to plan for the future. They can get a really good Spanish team, something that they haven’t had in a really long time. I would have made the same decision if I were in their shoes, it makes a lot of sense. I wish them the best and will be supporting them.”
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Even though he is out of a team, Smooya says that he will do his best to stay in shape, stressing that he doesn’t want to lose the “world-class form” he has shown in the last six months. He will focus on streaming and playing in FPL until his future is resolved, with his contract due to expire in a few months.
Smooya has often been linked with a move to Valorant, which has offered career opportunities to many disgruntled Counter-Strike players looking for a fresh start. But the 21-year-old isn’t thinking about switching anytime soon, revealing that has turned down lucrative offers from teams asking him to make the transition to Riot Games’ FPS title.
“I’m here to be a household name for a long time,” he says. “That’s why I haven’t moved to Valorant. I had Valorant offers to make five, six times my salary on Movistar. But I said no because I don’t play this for the money. I mean, it’s nice to get compensated for your time, no one wants to do anything for free, but my love is Counter-Strike and not VALORANT. So that’s the reason I’m still here.”
Smooya is mostly known for his time with German side BIG, whom he helped to reach the grand final of ESL One Cologne 2018 and the quarter-finals of the FACEIT Major, later that year. He has excelled for the teams he has played for since leaving BIG, but he continues to find tier-one opportunities hard to come by.
The British AWPer laments that his past reputation is still being held against him by some, saying that he should no longer be judged by what he did several years ago as he has matured a lot since those days.
“I think that people really have to take a look in the mirror and realize that I was 18 years old and I’m turning 22 in four days,” he said. “I’m not saying that I’m Jesus Christ or anything, or that I’m the most respectable, livable innocent person ever. I would never claim to be.
“But I think it’s weird to hold a kid that you’ve watched grow up online accountable for actions that took place four years ago, because the people that call me toxic don’t know me and most likely never will. Generally speaking, if you take 10 people off the street, eight of them probably would never want to speak to their 18-year-old version of themselves. You don’t want to be that person. And I also don’t want to be, but because we’re in an online world, I constantly get reminded of how I was and of what happened as if it’s me now.
“People think you can have a 1.25 rating over two years of your career while sitting on your phone in practice and being a toxic teammate. That doesn’t happen. There are only three people rated higher than me in the last two years: sh1ro, ZywOo and s1mple.
“I can’t think of any professional athlete in any sport who did something that wasn’t even deemed that bad at a young age and it hindered their career for this long.”
Fnatic have been mooted as a possible next destination for Smooya after they revamped their roster with the signings of two other British players, Alex ‘ALEX’ McMeekin and William ‘mezii’ Merriman, and a British coach, Jamie ‘keita’ Hall. His addition would signify an upgrade in the AWP role – which has been one of Fnatic’s weaknesses in recent years -, but the 21-year-old is refusing to be drawn on such speculation.
“To be honest, I’m not in a position where I can say that I’d prefer to play on any team,” he says. “I’ve kind of done everything that is within my power. I’ve played in any team that’s accepted me. And I’ve over-performed in every situation possible. Every team that I have joined has got drastically better. The only thing that I had was attitude issues.
“I’m not claiming to be absolutely perfect, but for me right now, all I care about is winning at a high level. I have an ego, like every single good player, but I’m more than willing to put it aside to win. I will give no less than 110 percent, and I will make sure that once my foot is in the door of tier-one or tier-two in Counter-Strike, I won’t leave.”