Bad News for the Bears
Bad News Bears have announced that the squad will be going their separate ways ahead of ESL Challenger League Season 42. This move follows two recent departures for the squad, with AWPer Christopher "Swahn" Swahn and coach Nathan "madcow" Retterath stepping down after the team survived ECL Season 41 Relegation.
The dissolution of Bad News Bears marks the end of the third iteration of the NA mainstay tag. This third outing materialized in January 2021, as Peter "ptr" Gurney rallied together Nick "alter" Jackson, Michael "Swisher" Schmid, Jonathan "Jonji" Carey, Gabe "Spongey" Greiner, and Matthew "mCe" Elmore to retain Chaos' spot in ESEA Premier Season 36.
Despite the squad being constantly faced with players being pulled away to VALORANT or other organizations, they were a consistent force in NA competitions. Under their new leader, Alan "Shakezullah" Hardeman, Bad News Bears hit their stride, notably winning ESEA Premier Season 36, Fragadelphia 15, and a large number of ESEA Cash Cups. The team also had multiple opportunities to compete internationally, with the Bears flying out to Europe to compete in the IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In, ESL Pro League Season 14, and the PGL Major Antwerp Americas RMR. While the team often struggled to make a dent internationally, they were a fan favorite in North America as one of the team's spearheading the region's efforts to rebuild the scene.
After a 5-6th place finish in ESEA Premier Season 39, Bad News Bears underwent a number of changes, seeing Swisher, Brendan "Bwills" Williams, and Paytyn "junior" Johnson exit the squad. In their places, Saad "Pluto" Siraj, Khizar "Momo" Rehman, and Swahn came into the squad to join up with Spongey and Shakezullah. Unfortunately, this revamped lineup failed to reach the high level of the previous Bad News Bears squad, stumbling domestically and internationally despite receiving direct funding and a Polish bootcamp after the RMR. With tangible improvement lacking, and the team being forced to play ECL Relegation two seasons in a row, Bad News Bears have decided to call it quits for now while Shakezullah and Spongey are set to take a break from competition.
Pluto and Momo have been given the team's ECL slot albeit without the Bad News Bears tag. If they wish to hold onto the slot they will need to convince either Swahn, Shakezullah, or Spongey to play with them to maintain their core from last season.
Bad News Bears were:
Gabe "Spongey" Greiner
Alan 'Shakezullah" Hardeman
Saad "Pluto" Siraj
Khizar "Momo" Rehman
Pluto and Momo will need to sort out their plans for Bad News Bears' ECL spot in short order, as ECL Season 42 kicks off in a matter of weeks on August 16th.