Esports is certainly a young man’s game, but a signing announced earlier this month is taking that philosophy to entirely new level.
California-based outfit Team 33 announced it has signed Joseph “33 Gosu” Deen to a contract — a deal that includes a gaming setup worth more than $5,000 and a $33,000 signing bonus. The deal had apparently been years in the making, with the team saying in its news release that Deen has practiced daily with its Fortnite roster.
So just HOW young is Joseph Deen?
A Fortnite Player Talented Beyond His Years
So far, the announcement isn’t all that out of the ordinary for an esports signing. That is, until you see one other number in the release.
Joseph Deen is 8-years-old.
You read that correctly.
Calling Deen “one of the youngest esports players in the world,” Team 33 said aiming for such a young player was no accident.
“We made it a point to train him over the past few years because young gamers are the future, and we want to start training them early,” Team 33 co-founder Tyler Gallagher said in the statement.
A ‘Dream Come True’ Before He Turns 9
As for Deen, he attributed Team 33’s willingness to give him a shot despite his age as a reason he decided to turn professional while most kids his age are currently doing remote learning as second and third graders.
“It’s a dream come true!” he said in the statement. “While many other teams didn’t take me seriously due to my young age, Team 33 scouted me through Fornite games and let me train and learn with them daily. I couldn’t be happier today to become an official member of the team.”
Just What The Heck Is Team 33?
Not much is known about Team 33, but the company bills itself as somewhat of a high-roller in the star-studded Hollywood Hills. In its release, Team 33 said it made the signing of Deen official at its headquarters — which the team calls House 33.
The pad in the Hollywood Hills has hosted, according to Team 33, the likes of Post Malone, Drake, Travis Scott, Flo Rida, DMX, Lil Nas X and many other recording stars.
The team’s website claims “high net-worth investors, successful entrepreneurs and several celebrity gamers” are among its investors. The club plans to play competitively in Fortnite, CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Valorant and other titles.
Pro Gaming No Stranger To Signing ‘Em Young
While Deen’s age is quite an eye-opener for some, it is not for the folks at Guinness World Records.
According to Guinness, the world’s youngest professional gamer was Victor “Lil Poison” De Leon III, who signed with the organizers of Major League Gaming in 2005 at the age of 6.
Now 22, Lil Poison still plays (according to Gamepedia, he finished 179th at the Fortnite Champion Series’ Chapter 2, Season 2 Week 4 semifinals in April.
Up next for Team 33 will be finalizing its roster for numerous games, as the company plans to finalize and announce its roster next year, then get to work by hosting several tournaments that same year.