13-year-old Michael “RhynO” Willoughby is now the youngest Overwatch esports professional ever after being signed to the Uprising Academy Contenders team. The organization revealed the news on Twitter and added that RhynO would be joining their 2020 team in a Tank role.
RhynO is now the youngest player to compete competitively in Overwatch esports. The title of the youngest professional Overwatch competitor was previously held by Fusion University DPS player Haydin “ZerG” Gordon.
Despite his age, playing with Uprising Academy will not be the first time that RhynO has competed. The youngster has participated in several Open Division tournament and most recently reached fourth place at the NCS Grand Finals in Huntington, California last week.
Overwatch Contenders serves as the development series for aspiring pro players. It operates under the Overwatch League, but functions more similarly to leagues in other esports with regional leagues driven by cash prizes. Most OWL teams use Contenders as a sort of farm system, with the Uprising Academy being an extension of the Boston Uprising.
The last Overwatch Contenders competitive season ended in October, and many players’ contracts ended along with it. Several members of Uprising Academy’s roster were promoted, with Tank main Walid “Mouffin” Bassal and Support main Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy both being called up to the Uprising’s main roster. The Uprising also lost DPS main Chris “MirroR” Trịnh, who joined the Los Angeles Gladiators.
Uprising Academy is working on filling out its new roster for the 2020 season. RhynO is joined by Timber “kraandop” Rensen and Edmondo “DragonEddy” Cerini as the new team Tanks. Denis “Lethal” Tari and Thomas “TAP” Prins will be filling in as the team’s new DPS players. Lastly, Alexandre “Phatt” Silva will join the group as its new Support.
Though playing for the Uprising Academy is a huge achievement for RhynO, don’t expect him to start playing with the actual Uprising anytime soon. The Overwatch League requires players to be at least 18 years old in order to compete.