FUT Esports Founders praise Red Bull Campus Clutch for pioneering player pipeline
VALORANT has undeniably taken the world by storm over the four years it has been available, with a competitive core that has awakened the beasts within millions of players around the globe.
But you'd struggle to find a more active, engaged, and dedicated VALORANT sub-community than the one seen in Turkiye.
Even before Acend and the flagship superstar Mehmet "cNed" İpek burst onto the scene and was crowned VCT World Champions, the Turkish community was finding its voice as the loudest fan base in the world.
They has only gone from strength to strength in recent years and projected by the emergence of current virtuoso Emir "Alfajer" Beder and franchise side FUT Esports.
Now, the Turkish community is getting the fruits of their labour, being treated to Champions in the 2021-22 season, and hosting Red Bull and its Campus Clutch Global Finals, celebrating everything that the country has to offer in this industry.
FUT Esports Founders excited to have Turkish VALORANT representation again
Back in Istanbul, the home of FUT Esports, Campus Clutch is highlighting everything that exemplifies Turkiye's journey in this esport, and Co-Founder duo of Sinan Dursunoglu and Cesur Sunnetcıoglu are drinking it all in.
"It's just fantastic to see companies, organizers, brands, and esports teams coming to Istanbul. We had the VALORANT World Championship last year. It was amazing," Sinan told GGRecon. "Now we have the Red Bull Campus Clutch World Finals here, so it's also equally amazing."
Not only is Turkiye being championed in its esports tournaments, but the introduction of Fade into the VALORANT agent pool in Episode 4 Act 3, also saw the rich culture be represented within the title which has won so many hearts.
"I think it creates a very good bond with the fans," continued Sinan. "Back then, we had other games which didn't create a bond between the players with the game. But right now, because Riot has this multicultural game, which helps a lot from the Turkish community, it was like a very happy moment for the Turkish players which they see as feedback from Riot, to have an agent of Turkish origin in the game."
Cesur added, "I think in terms of nationalities, Turkiye ranks number one [in Representation] in Game changers, and number one in Europe in the VCT. I think it's over 10 percent [of players] in the VCT and over 50 percent in Game Changers. It's a huge community and, for the first time, a game developer is bringing some Turkish agents into the game and it's a huge thing for us."
FUT Esports prepare to build on 2023 Champions success
With the love clearly being absorbed by FUT Esports, the Turkish organisation also defied the odds to qualify for Champions this year, despite many global fans writing them off before the season.
And it was culture, both regionally and in terms of rigorous team cohesion and trust which manifested this achievement, which is now the benchmark for their future standards.
"It was kind of like a dream for us to compete in the Champions and we didn't want to change our roster a lot. We always had a winning roster starting from the beginning of the game. In the end, we made a few changes and the team had amazing communication and the level of the game that they played increased," said Cesur.
Signings like cNed and Eray "yetujey" Budak will now look to kick on from the respectable top-eight placing at Champions 2023 in Los Angeles, where the Turkish core group will look to bring back cNed's stardust to propel them towards the top four and higher.
"We always had a mid and long plan when we entered Valorant, where we said, 'let's be competitive and let's have this bar high' and we will continue with this ethos," he added.
Red Bull Campus Clutch alumni are proving pivotal for FUT Esports
With a focus on Red Bull Campuys Clutch, the FUT Esports founders also praised the organisers for helping grow the developmental scene and providing amateurs and tier two players with a path to the professional game.
"What Red Bull is doing is a huge thing for the esports scene," said Sinan.
FUT Esports already boasts one Campus Clutch alumni, Furkan "MrFaliN" Yeğen, who was snapped up shortly after playing for Turkiye in the series.
"This is where they are, for the first time in their life, playing and competing on stage in that tournament environment. So it's a huge thing for some players to have this feeling," he continued.
"It's a great showcase for tier two players, and one of the examples is MrFaliN, our IGL, who was the Turkish Regional champion back in 2021, just before he got transferred to our team. It shows how much a player can achieve by just winning these tournaments or just showcasing their talents at the tier two level.
Whenever a young player sees MrFaliN, they know that they can climb up these stairs from the Red Bull Campus Clutch to professional teams and then to the world stage."
MrFaliN typifies what can be achieved by players here at the Red Bull Campus Clutch, where he is the shining example amongst Mohamed "shalaby" Shalaby and Emil "runneR" Trajkovski who also signed professional contracts (both with Team Vitality in respective years) off the back of their performances at the Collegiate level Global Finals.
As for who is next, well, the Turkish stalwarts like Alfajer and Tarik "tarik" Celik are all in attendance keeping a keen eye on the finalists, while Canadian duelist Mirel "Kyu" Hrustemovic and some high-performing players from Indonesia and Britain are also raising eyebrows.