The North American VALORANT scene has an abundance of talent, but there’s one player who has already begun to make waves in the professional scene: “neT.”
Hailing from California, the 18-year-old has been praised for his performance on Sentinel Agents, arguably one of the most difficult roles in professional play since they don’t have the kinds of flashy tools that earn highlight reels, at least compared to Duelists or Initiators. But, even though neT is playing a difficult role among some of the up and coming talent, he still finds a way to shine.
Competition in his blood
Despite his talent, the former Squirtle Squad and Teal Seam player didn’t come from a privileged background. NeT, like some other professionals in the scene, had to live with only his mother looking after him as a child. And since he said his mom worked hard enough to ensure her children have a bright future, NeT uses the opportunity to return this favor as a form of motivation to become a professional player.
“Trying to do well for my mom and just provide for my family, just because I love my family so much and they mean everything to me, and just to be able to help them out in any aspect would just mean the world to me,” he said.
His drive to become the best is what sets him apart. NeT said he wants to win in everything he does, which was apparent even when he played video games during his childhood. But unlike some professionals, neT hadn’t been grinding competitive shooters for years before VALORANT.
Instead, neT played sports in school and planned to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the best University in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2022. But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, he put those plans on hold.
“As soon as COVID hit, pretty much everything was at a halt,” neT said. “And then I really evaluated, if that’s what I wanted to do with my life.”
Once Riot Games released VALORANT on June 2 2020, neT started playing the game almost everyday and instantly fell in love. From the beginning, neT knew he had what it took to become a professional player.
That didn’t mean it was all smooth sailing, though. NeT said his mom was hesitant about him becoming a professional VALORANT player at first, since neT was gifted in sports and had an opportunity to attend such a prestigious university. But, after a while, once neT proved to his mom that he could potentially make a living from VALORANT, she became more supportive and wanted him to do what would make him happy.
Since then, neT has continued to play VALORANT at a high level, recently earning a shot to play with Andbox during the Nerd Street Gamers Summer Championship.
While the organization has continued to try out different players, neT has a few options to play at the highest level. Additionally, hearing words of encouragement from former CS:GO professional and current Version1 player Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro was reassuring for neT.
“It meant a lot because I looked up to him as a player,” neT said. “I think he’s an amazing player, and seeing that from him is just amazing to me, honestly.”
While neT will continue to trial for some teams and try to land himself a professional contract, there are other rising talents waiting to be discovered. NeT said fellow youngsters Chris “LarryBanks” Doyi and Mark “mehzy” Olaes are both players to look out for in the future.