Team Liquid bid farewell to head coach daps and extend contract with NAF

Canadian head coach Damian “⁠daps⁠” Steele has officially left Team Liquid after 17 months of service as the organization... Shubh | 21. November 2023

Canadian head coach Damian “⁠daps⁠” Steele has officially left Team Liquid after 17 months of service as the organization restructures its Counter-Strike roster ahead of the new season.

After parting ways with Robert “⁠Patsi⁠” Isyanov and moving Aleks “⁠Rainwaker⁠” Petrov to the bench, Team Liquid has made another significant change to their Counter-Strike roster. The North American organization has parted ways with a long-standing coach Damian “⁠daps⁠” Steele, ending his 17-month stint with the team. Daps helped Liquid to reach ranked third globally by November after joining the squad in 2022.

During the first half of his tenure, the team had some encouraging results, placing second in the BLAST Premier World Final and ESL Pro League Season 16, and placing among the top four at IEM Katowice earlier this year. But when the squad could not repeat its first-half performance, the organization switched to a European lineup.

Fans had to endure several subpar performances as the recently assembled European lineup never seemed to connect. Liquid’s Counter-Strike squad was never able to finish above the top seven, and following a run of underwhelming performances, Liquid realized they were in need of a rebuild.

Although Liquid has not officially disclosed the identity of daps’ replacement, a number of media sources have revealed that Wilton “zews” Prado would be joining Liquid again. The 36-year-old Brazilian had previously worked for the North American organization from 2016 to 2018.  After leaving Team Liquid, the departing Brazilian coach managed four different teams, all of which, with the exception of Evil Geniuses, fell short of the heights he and his old TL comrades achieved in their prime.

Liquid to assemble new CS2 lineup around NAF and YEKINDAR

Apparently, the North American organization intends to restructure its CS2 roster around Keith “NAF” Markovic and Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gainski, while Josh “oSee” Ohm is expected to join NRG. To complete their CS2 roster, the organization is reportedly planning to add Russel “⁠Twistzz⁠” Van Dulken, Casper “⁠cadiaN⁠” Møller, and Felipe “⁠skullz⁠” Medeiros. Although the actual contract signing has not yet been made public, it is quite likely to happen ahead of the forthcoming CS2 season.

The organization has extended the contract of seasoned Canadian player NAF to 2026. NAF helped the organization in winning several competitions throughout his five years with the team, including IEM Chicago, BLAST Pro Series: Los Angeles 2019, ESL One Cologne 2019, and ESL Pro League Season 9. Additionally, the team won the Intel Grand Slam Season 2, making history as the second team to ever win the coveted title—the first being Astralis. NAF’s commitment to the team at this crucial juncture will help Liquid turn things around and go back to winning ways in time for the CS2 season.

Liquid CS2 roster currently include:

  • Keith “⁠NAF⁠” Markovic
  • Josh “⁠oSee⁠” Ohm
  • Mareks “⁠YEKINDAR⁠” Gaļinskis
  • Aleks “⁠Rainwaker⁠” Petrov (benched)

Header: PGL