Star support Ryu ‘Ryujehong’ Je-hong has been sidelined for most of the Overwatch League 2020 season after the Vancouver Titans split in May. However, the 28-year-old still has his sights set on returning to OWL in 2021 on one condition: he will be playing on stage.
There’s arguably no player more adored in the Overwatch League space than Ryujehong. The Korean father figure of Blizzard’s esports scene has always popped off at the top flight, no matter the age gap between himself and his contemporaries.
He was the leader of a Lunatic-Hai squad that dominated the early days of Overwatch, taking home two APEX titles. He’s represented Korea at the Overwatch World Cup twice — winning the tournament in 2016 and 2017. While he didn’t quite transition the same success into the franchised league, he was still widely regarded as one of the best supports.
2020 marked a big shift in Ryujehong’s career. He split from Seoul Dynasty to fill the void over at the Vancouver Titans. Things were looking up, however the team quickly split after the current global health crisis left them stranded in Canada.
While some of his Titans teammates have found homes — like Lee ‘Twilight’ Ju-seok going to the Shock, or duo Lee ‘Stitch’ Chung-hui and Choi ‘JJANU’ Hyeon-woo joining the Justice — Ryujehong has been streaming from home back in Korea. But, he’s getting ready to make his OWL return.
“”The thing is, I am going to continue my pro career. The current OWL season ends in September-October, I think? I don’t know exactly. But once that ends, obviously I want to continue my career, but that’s not up to me,” he told his fans on an August 26 stream, according to a translation by ‘Gatamchun’.
There are two concerns the 28-year-old has though. The first is that he’s getting old. The 28-year-old might not be favored over some of the rising stars. However, despite that, the veteran stated he was still fielding offers all throughout the 2020 season.
Jehong on stream
"The thing is, I am going to continue my pro career. The current OWL season ends in September-October, I think? I don't know exactly. But once that ends, obviously I want to continue my career, but that's not up to me." /1 https://t.co/ZtwIorbpHA
— 아나탈 (@gatamchun) August 27, 2020
“Because the thing about the pro scene is that once you’re older, you’re not good — that’s the stereotype — so teams tend to choose younger players. Seeing as how I have received offers even though I didn’t say I was LFT, it does look like there are teams who want me but that has to be mutual. From April until now, what I’ve been wondering is how to go about this.”
The second is that he has one condition for rejoining the Overwatch League: he has to be a player. Ryujehong has received offers for coaching, or being a general manager, but he believes he still has what it takes to lift the one trophy that’s missing from his cabinet.
“I don’t want to be a coach or GM. Absolutely not. I’ve gotten offers for those but I am absolutely not going to do that,” he said.
Obviously, the rumor mill is flying. Will he rejoin some of his former teammates on teams like the Washington Justice? Could he return back to the Seoul Dynasty — after they even retired his player number? It’s anyone’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Jehong is back, and he’s ready to show the kids what’s up.