Making the transition from player to coach is a difficult enough transition, but when you are tasked with representing your country while coaching six of the best Overwatch players in the world—it becomes something altogether different.
Kyle “KyKy” Souder who became the Head Coach for Team EnVyUs back in April, understood that there are differences in how to select and train a team that will not have much time together.
“It started out having two teams playing each other with everybody at the tryout,” KyKy explained. “We focused on support duos and tank duos and then wanted to see if the DPS guys could play with support players or tank players. Most importantly, I wanted to see how they got along, how they played together, and how they ran certain plays together.”
It wasn’t about the X’s and O’s of playing Overwatch that KyKy was looking for when selecting Team USA. In fact, he wanted a team he thought could become a cohesive unit quicker than the rest of the world. He figured the players were already good at playing the game, but could they play with each other.
“Some guys got cut immediately. It was those guys that were always complaining about things like ‘My teammate isn’t doing this well enough.’ So guys that wanted to complain about their teammates and not work together as a team were just let go right away. If we were going to beat South Korea, we needed a team with synergy that could play together.”
The selection process was grueling for KyKy as at times he felt like he was more psychologist than coach. He had some tough decisions to make, but knew that the bottom line was that he wanted a team that could play as a unit. He obviously got it right.
Team USA is 2-0 heading into the next round of the group stage against a tough and talented Chinese Taipei team also sitting at 2-0. The winner will come out as the No. 1 team in the group.
The United States squad came in as a top team in the tournament, but KyKy and quite a few Overwatch fans saw them as the underdogs to South Korea in this tournament.
“The people on Reddit seemed to think we weren’t going to be good for a lot of whatever reasons,” KyKy lamented. “However, I knew what I wanted to do and people should just trust me that I am doing the right things for this team. This is my job. You will be impressed. Just let me do my job.”
Earlier on Twitter he also expressed his feelings on this topic.
Team USA right now would legit be a contender in APEX. The synergy is top notch. Proud of the boys
— Kyle Souder (@EnVy_KyKy) August 12, 2017
By looking as the results thus far, Team USA has been in good hands and KyKy has been happy by how quickly this team has come together.
“They have truly exceeded even my expectations. It’s neat to see them perform together and that they want to perform together and that they are emphasizing the teamwork aspect of this tournament. It’s amazing.”
And what a job that is. As the Head Coach for Team USA, KyKy is coach, father, chaperone, friend, psychologist, caterer, comedian, and more. His job, now that his team is here at the World Cup, is to simply make sure they are ready for the next match.
“Now that we are at the event, the time for practice is over,” KyKy said. “We are here. I have to make sure that everyone is happy and prepared. My job is to eliminate stress such as where we will eat, do they have enough food, drinks, snacks, and all that. If I see that someone is off and not with the team, I find that humor and telling jokes really brings these guys back together.”
And so far, that’s exactly what has happened.
The Overwatch World Cup continues from August 12-13 at the Santa Monica Airport’s Barkar Hanger with the end of the group stage and playoffs occurring on Sunday.