British CS:GO player smooya has returned to the active roster at BIG Clan.
The 19-year-old - real name Owen Butterfield - was benched in February 2019 and has been largely inactive in the pro scene, aside from a loan spell with Renegades in April.
BIG said he has "worked hard" for a second chance and has been restored to the active roster in time to play in the New York Invitational on Saturday, the winners of which get a spot at ESL One New York.
New York Invitational schedule, live streams and bets
Smooya tweeted: "Oh yeah, I’m back in the active line-up. First I’d like to thank everyone who still and always have believed in me, second of all I’d like everyone behind the scenes at BIG. You know who you are. Time to shoot some heads again boys."
Gob b retires
Smooya's return to the BIG roster is just one of several changes at the German org, which announced on Friday morning that in-game leader Faith "Gob b" Dayik had decided to retire, aged 32.
It is expected that Gob b will act as coach in place of Alexander ‘kakafu’ Szymanczyk, who left his position on Friday.
Another player making way is Denis Howell, who has been benched.
Along with smooya, Johannes “nex” Maget is also returning to the roster but is recovering from a wrist injury, meaning Nikola ‘Legija’ Ninić will act as a stand-in.
Current BIG Clan roster
- Tizian ‘tiziaN’ Wodar
- Ismalican ‘Xantares’ Dörtkardeş
- Johannes ‘tabseN’ Wodarz
- Owen ‘Smooya’ Butterfield
- Nikola ‘Legija’ Ninić (Stand-in)
Significant changes for BIG
Smooya was part of the roster when BIG enjoyed their most sucessful period, reaching the quarter-finals of the FACEIT CS:GO Major in London in 2018 but 2019 has been a barren year for the Germans.
Clearly, a need for sweeping changes was identified and CEO Daniel Finkler said: “This has been a challenging year so far, but every difficult situation comes with opportunities to make the right decisions.
Related: New York Invitational betting predictions
"We went through many difficult and challenging periods and we always managed to overcome those times with hard work and dedication. But not everything went as expected this year and we had different expectations at the beginning of 2019.
"For this reason, we decided to make significant changes within our CS:GO division. The decisions we had to make were difficult and tough on a personal level. We are not a 'cold' organisation, we believe in friendship, team spirit and all of us have a good heart – we are a family and share the same values.
"That is why I want to express my gratitude to all of the people who are affected by those decisions.”
BIG Clan vs AVANGAR is the opening match of the New York Invitational and is due to start at 4pm CST on Saturday, August 3rd.