North American esports organization Renegades are expected to use Counter-Strike AWPer Owen 'smooya' Butterfield as a stand-in for ESL Pro League Season 9, according to multiple sources close to the league and players.
Dexerto has confirmed that smooya will be steping in for fellow AWPer Sean 'Gratisfaction' Kaiwai, who has run into visa issues.
Renegades have emerged in 2019 as a top five team in the world according to most current rankings, showing tremendous improvement since adding Gratisfaction and Jay 'Liazz' Tregillgas in late 2018.
The new lineup found success almost immediately after a playoff appearance at the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals. They reached the quarterfinals of the IEM Katowice Major and would go on to finish in the semifinals of StarSeries Season 7 after a loss to the event winners in Natus Vincere.
Smooya is still a contracted member of the BIG organization and has been benched since February 1st despite conversations with multiple teams and organizations in recent weeks.
Dexerto was first to report his conversations with the Team SoloMid but at this time talks have ceased, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. If smooya plays for Renegades, he will be unable to play for another team in the league should the player he is replacing return mid-season.
Season 9 of ESL Pro League will be held offline for the first time in league history, which starts later in April. 16 teams will meet in the playoffs which include teams from the Europe, North America, Oceanic, and Asian regions.