In a major coup for the nascent Valorant esports scene, 2019 Overwatch League MVP Jay “Sinatraa” Won left Overwatch competition on Tuesday to join Sentinels’ Valorant team.
Sinatraa led the San Francisco Shock to the 2019 Overwatch League championship last September, and he was part of the United States team that won the Overwatch World Cup in November, capturing MVP honors there as well.
Sinatraa, a 20-year-old from Shoreline, Wash., later confirmed on Twitter that he’s moving to Valorant, writing in a TwitLonger post that he “straight up just lost passion for (Overwatch).”
“i did not make this decision in 1 day it took a full month of non stop thinking every day and sleepless nights from being so stressed,” he added. “… ultimately i wanted to do whats right for me. …
“i just wanna say sorry to all my fans, fans of OWL, and everyone on shock. in the past month i did not give OW/OWL my all and it showed in scrims and even in OWL so im sorry.”
The Shock tweeted, “He came, he saw and he conquered. Thank you and best of luck in your future endeavors @Sinatraa”
The Sentinels subsequently announced their full Valorant roster, stating that they “will be active in tournaments immediately.”
Joining Sinatraa are Jared “Zombs” Gitlin, formerly with Sentinels’ Apex Legends team; Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan, a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player who has competed for OpTic Gaming, Echo Fox, Team SoloMid and Complexity Gaming, among other teams; and Hunter “SicK” Mims, a former CS:GO pro who has played for SoloMid, Rogue, Complexity and Chaos Esports Club.
Sinatraa said in a statement on the Sentinels’ website, “The move to Valorant is no doubt a huge step in my career, and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity.
“When I saw the team that Sentinels has put together, with so much experience from different esports, I knew that this was the right place to go and I’m excited to be at the front of it. To all my fans who have supported me over the years, the future feels really bright right now and I can’t wait to show everyone what we can do.”
Sentinels director of esports Charlie Lipsie said in a statement, “I have been anxiously awaiting the launch of Valorant and am excited by the early popularity of the game. This is a perfect opportunity for us to expand our horizons as an organization, and to give our fans from our other games a new way to cheer for Sentinels.”
Sentinels founder Rob Moore added in a statement, “Our goals as an organization are to connect our fans to the biggest, most exciting games in esports, and to recruit championship caliber teams as we have in other games like Fortnite and Halo. Signing on Sinatraa, ShaZaM, and SicK to join our organization further cements Sentinels as a home for world class players and teams.”
The Los Angeles-based Sentinels also field teams in Fortnite, Apex Legends and Halo. They previously ran a League of Legends Championship Series team known as Phoenix1, and they were partners in the Los Angeles Gladiators from the start of the Overwatch League in 2018 until they split with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment last October.
Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, the 2019 Fortnite World Cup singles champion, also plays under the Sentinels banner.
Last year, Sinatraa helped the Shock win the Stage 2 playoffs as well as the season-ending playoffs. San Francisco also was runner-up in the regular-season standings as well as in the Stage 1 and Stage 3 playoffs.
In the inaugural OWL season of 2018, Sinatraa and the Shock came in ninth place in the regular season and missed the playoffs.
He also was part of the U.S. teams that tied for fifth in the 2017 and 2018 Overwatch World Cups.
The Shock are currently in fifth place in the Overwatch League with a 5-2 record. They beat the Los Angeles Valiant 3-0 on Saturday — but Sinatraa did not compete, the fourth consecutive San Francisco match that he sat out.
–Field Level Media