Amazing rejoins Schalke 04 Esports as strategic manager
Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider has rejoined FC Schalke 04 Esports as their strategic manager for their academy ‘Knappenschmiede’ squad, the team revealed on Twitter. The team also spoke about the move at length on their video statement.
Amazing takes on FC Schalke 04 Esports’ vision of developing young talent from solo queue to the LEC. The vision follows FC Schalke 04’s ‘Knappenschmiede’ formation system, which the Bundesliga franchise uses in football. Needless to say, his long-term mission has monumental implications on Schalke 04.
“I’ve always tried to be in an organization that has good leadership, and has really good staff,” Amazing said. “Just being part of that process, hopefully for years to come, is something I can work with and, potentially, build a career within coaching.”
Amazing’s Knappenschmiede, Schalke 04’s long-term vision
The former professional jungler joins Dylan Falco‘s staff for the 2019 season and beyond. Overall, Falco’s staff has a huge focus on player development, showcasing Schalke 04’s long-term oriented approach to its LEC stay. In the future, it can count on players developed in-house into LEC grade players.
“I’m really excited that [Amazing] is willing to take on this project,” Falco said. “I know something Maurice has always excelled at on the teams he’s played on: he’s getting the most out of his younger players. He’s worked with a lot of young players and rookies, and helped in a leadership role.”
As such, Schalke 04 position themselves as the place to be for talent to develop and grow into LEC players, competing with Rogue on that front. The organization noted that the Academy players would not live in the team house in Berlin. However, a boot camp area is under construction should they need it.
In addition, the organization is also setting up infrastructure to help them grow remotely. As such, the players can prepare to move into a team house when they finish their education, or when they become of LEC age. Tim Reichert, Schalke 04 Esports’s Chief Gaming Officer, also noted that they are developing young talent ‘as players and as personalities.’
If their success at developing talent in football is anything to go by, Schalke 04 are banking on the LEC’s longevity. Schalke 04 have developed players recognized among the best at their positions, such as goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and attacking midfielder / winger Mesut Özil. Should S04 Esports make their academy the place to be for emerging talent, they may mirror their football counterpart’s success.
The right fit for the job
In taking over Schalke 04’s academy squad, Amazing effectively retires from professional League of Legends. Indeed, he closes the chapter on a six-year long career that included two World Championship appearances. In Schalke 04’s announcement, he voiced his excitement in his transition to coaching.
“I was always playing with the idea of retiring at some point anyway, and if I had a good enough opportunity, I was going to do that,” he said. “This opportunity, being with Schalke, and learning under [Dylan Falco] to a certain extent […] He’s the head coach for the main team, and seeing him work and doing his work overall is really enlightening to me in general.”
Throughout his career, Amazing has had run-ins with stubbornness (both his and his teammates’ at times). He has also stumbled upon players whose talent is at LEC level, but who aren’t there for various reasons. As such, he is eager to pass on his knowledge to a new generation of talent and prevent them from falling short.
“What young players should bring to the Knappenschmeide if they are hired is the willingness to learn, to show effort, to participate in the group project,” Amazing said. “It’s really important that young players, especially from solo queue, get molded into something that can compete at the LEC level. Time and time again, we have players that never really develop the social skillset, the work and effort skillset that is really necessary to compete at the highest level. That’s something I want to make happen for them.”
“For me, this is such an obvious fit, because at Schalke, it’s important, long-term, that we’re building young talent and improving that,” head coach Dylan Falco added. “Having someone like [him] on board is good for me, to have him as a resource, and I’m sure for him as well to grow […] He’s going to get a lot of chances to grow as a coach, and as a player manager and being in charge of things. Adding this to his skillset is really good.”
On one hand, Amazing’s retirement as a player leaves me with wondering “what if?”. After all, I thought better days lied ahead of him as a player. However, the transition into an academy coach makes sense. Indeed, he has first-hand experience with what an organization should provide in terms of player support and structure. As such, I have no doubt that he will incite Schalke 04 to provide the proper means for talent development.
During his career, he has experienced moments he came to regret, as well as an illness that downgraded his performance. He also had moments of resurgence: in the 2018 LCS summer split, he led Schalke 04 to the playoff finals. Throughout his career, he exchanged ideas with Andy “Reginald” Dinh as well as other coaches. He also attempted to develop a doomed Mysterious Monkeys squad in 2017 (as a player), and experienced inadequate care as a member of the Copenhagen Wolves.
Although those days are now behind him, his experience may allow him to relate to players, thus avoiding potential crisis. That is especially important with up-and-coming talent in the European region. Indeed, several players have yet to play professionally due to their attitude. Should he help such players, the European region would greatly benefit on that regard.