Finnish player Jere ‘Sergej’ Salo is stepping down from ENCE’s roster to join the military. Sergej was benched on Tuesday after the former CSGO pro announced that he wants to stop pursuing a career in esports. ENCE posted on their official website that it was Sergej who wished to be removed from the official roster and does not want to compete in Counter-Strike going forward.
ENCE believes that Sergej is an amazing player and has the potential to be “one of the world’s best” but the team agrees that it is not beneficial to have him in a position where he cannot contribute. ENCE will need to find a replacement for Sergej as the talented youngster was ranked 13th in HLTV’s top-20 ranking in 2019. He is just 18 years old and has already established himself as one of the best CSGO players. With a 2018 MVP Award from Star Series, a victory in the 2019 Blast Pro Series in Madrid and a win at iLeague Season 6, Sergej undoubtedly has potential in esports.
Who Will Replace Sergej at ENCE
Tuomas ‘SADDYX” Louhimaa will be replacing Sergej temporarily. SADDYX is currently a member of SJ Gaming, and he was loaned out to ENCE temporarily to play at the 2020 Dreamhack Masters Winter Europe. The tournament is scheduled for November 30th to December 6th. It is unknown if SADDYX will be offered a permanent position in the team.
Becoming an esports professional in Finland is difficult because of the mandatory military training that you have to join at 18-19 if you are a Finnish citizen. It holds back young talent from competing regularly in tournaments. The Finland eSports Federation made a change in 2018 that saw Puolustusvoimat (Finland’s defence forces) agree to count esports professionals as athletes. Soldiers who are part of the Finnish military are allowed to practice and attend events since the change.
The Finnish esports federation is responsible for screening digital athletes and recommending which players should be allowed by the military to be allowed for practice and tournaments. Players who are given permission to continue their esports careers during training are assigned extra physical training to ensure they are in shape.
Sergej has not revealed his plans for when his military training is complete. ENCE will announce a permanent fifth player for the roster “at a later date.” This is the second time ENCE’s roster took a hit with Jani “Aerial” Jussila stepping down in October due to medical reasons. Joonas “doto” Forss is currently filling in for Aerial until his return from medical leave.