In the first part of this series, potential landing spots for most of the Fusion’s roster were discussed. This installment is dedicated to coaching decisions and players who are currently under contract. If a player is under contract, that means that they have decided to extend their commitment to the team into the 2020 season. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are safe from potential trades in the future. Only two members of the Fusion’s current roster are currently under contract: Gael “Poko” Gouzerch and Isaac “Boombox” Charles.
The Waiting Game
Out of everyone, Poko and Boombox were the most consistent players on the Fusion this season. Boombox especially popped off and was an integral part of the Fusion’s early success this season. However, it has long been speculated that the Fusion will be pulling up at least two players from their academy team for the 2020 season. Both Kyungbo “Alarm” Kim and Se-won “BERNAR” Shin have made names for themselves while playing for Fusion University. Bernar is a magnificent off-tank specialist who’s skills on D.VA and Zarya rival Poko’s. One of the best flex supports in all of Contenders, Alarm’s mechanical skill is undeniable. Fans have been eagerly awaiting his 18th birthday since Elijah “Elk” Gallagher was pulled up to Philly on a two-way contract.
There has been no formal announcement regarding Alarm or Bernar, yet. However, it is, hopefully, only a matter of time. Fusion president Tucker Roberts has made it clear that the focus for Fusion University is to “invest the time, energy, and money… to develop talent for the Fusion.” There would be no reason for them not bring up the talent that they are investing so much time into. This means that Boombox and Poko will likely be relegated to the Fusion’s bench next year should Alarm and Bernar be signed on full contracts. After watching Joona “fragi” Laine practically rot on the bench for a year, this is not a fate that fans want for them. While there are many teams that Poko and Boombox could potentially be traded to, the best bet for both would be with the Paris Eternal.
Allons à Paris
The Paris Eternal struggled hard this season. Many expected Paris to be one of the better GOATS teams coming into 2019. This was due in part to Europe being the region to master that specific meta. With their current roster, Paris has the potential to become a great team one day. However, with only four of their players still signed on with the team, the Eternal could be looking to rebuild for 2020.
Poko and Boombox’s experience would bring some much-needed structure for the Eternal next season. With Poko being from France, the trade would be ideal so he could be closer to home. His familiarity with the French players on the team (all of whom are under contract) would give the team an advantage next season. Despite Finnbjörn “Finnsi” Jónasson being one of the more consistent players on the team, he is currently under team option. If Paris decides to extend Finnsi’s contract, having Poko as a backup would not be a death sentence for either of their careers. The Eternal tend to consistently rotate through their roster to give each player a chance to shine every stage. If Paris keeps Félix “Féfé” Münch on as head coach for next year, one can expect Paris to be once again more flexible with their starting lineups.
Alongside Poko, Boombox, and Harrison “Kruise” Pond would make a powerful support duo should Kruise extend his contract with Paris next year. Kruise and Boombox have a long history playing together on Team UK. With both of their shot-calling skills, this could help Paris become more organized next season, which is something that the team desperately needs.
A Strange Farewell
Head coach Se-hwi “NamedHwi” Go quietly announced that he is no longer with the Fusion on the same day the official list came out.
I'm currently looking for a team to join. I'm fluent in both Korean and English. Also have experience coaching Korean and Western teams.
Email : email@example.com
Discord : NamedHwi#3740
— NamedHwi (@NamedHwi) October 5, 2019
The Fusion’s second head coach, Elliot “Hayes” Hayes, would announce his departure from the Fusion mere days later. The Philadelphia Fusion have not acknowledged either coach’s departure so far.
Thank you. LFT.
— Fusion Hayes (@Hayez) October 6, 2019
Last year, the Philadelphia Fusion decided to move both NamedHwi and Hayez into co-head coaching positions. This decision came after the Fusion promoted Yann “Kirby” Luu to Director of Overwatch Operations last fall. After the 2019 offseason began, Kirby officially left the Philadelphia Fusion with no indication that he is looking for other opportunities within the Overwatch League.
The only remaining member of the Fusion coaching staff is Christopher “ChrisTFer” Graham. ChrisTFer joined the Fusion shortly before the 2019 season began. As an assistant coach, it would make sense that ChrisTFer would be next in line for the head coach position. However, his lack of experience with coaching before joining the Fusion could put him out of the running.
A Fresh Start
What the Fusion need is consistency. They should not look into another dual coaching situation for the 2020 season. They need one leader; someone who will bring the boys together and inspire them to be the wild card team that they once were. With the many LFT (looking for team) announcements that have come out in recent weeks, the Fusion have many options to choose from. Two possible options for the Fusion would be David “dpei” Pei and Kyoung Ey “AVALLA” Kim.
So far, the most surprising team moves have come from the Los Angeles Gladiators. Kroenke Sports & Entertainment decided to split with the Sentinels, who have been in charge of the Los Angeles Gladiators operations. After the split, both dpei and Seetoh “JohnGalt” Jian Qing announced that they had parted ways with the Gladiators. Both coaches are currently looking for a new team.
While JohnGalt would also make a great head coach, dpei has more experience. During the inaugural season, he took the Gladiators from underdogs that were barely getting by to one of the most creative teams in the league. This season, the Gladiators had an overall consistent season. They performed well, but the necessity of having to play GOATS restricted the team. Once the meta began to shift, the Gladiators started to perform better as they allowed players like João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles to take chances by flexing onto different roles. The Gladiators managed to make it back into playoffs this year before they ended up in the San Francisco Shock’s warpath in loser’s bracket. Overall, the Gladiators had a good second season in comparison to most other teams, which is why dpei being released came as such a surprise to fans.
Now that dpei is up for grabs, almost every team should be clamoring to give him the best offer that they can. He’s an incredibly talented coach; his dedication to his player’s physical and mental health is well known among the league. He provides excellent, consistent results. If there is anyone that can ignite some passion back into this team, it’s dpei.
Another option for the Fusion would be AVALLA. AVALLA is the first female coach to be signed to an Overwatch League team. This season, she worked alongside Hyeong-seok “WizardHyeong” Kim, Canaan “Shrugger” Carman, and Mikael “mkL” Skjønhaug for the Washington Justice.
The Justice had an interesting first season in the Overwatch League. They went from being the worst team in the league to being on their way to winning a stage playoff, had Stage 4 had playoffs. The meta shift was kind to the Justice as it allowed Corey “Corey” Nigra and Ethan “Stratus” Yankel to pop off on DPS characters such as Widowmaker, Mei and Doomfist. While the meta change played a significant role in Washington’s turnover, the crew working alongside WizardHyeong should not be overlooked.
AVALLA has proven to be a diligent coach who works hard to understand her players and their playstyles. In a short twitch stream, AVALLA showed fans her coaching method – a habit of collecting clips – as well as explain what all she did for the Justice this season. The VOD of the stream has unfortunately been deleted, but fans were impressed with her openness and willingness to prove herself. Her work ethic would be extremely beneficial for the Fusion. If not as a head coach, the Fusion should set their sights on her for an assistant coach position next season, at the very least.
Make sure to stay up to date with all Overwatch League offseason news here, at the Game Haus!
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