The Fusion University academy team is returning to Overwatch Contenders, this time in the European region with some familiar faces. With European Contenders Trials starting soon, the Philadelphia Fusion are helping their teammates stuck in visa purgatory continue their competitive careers. Instead of waiting on standby in the competitive scene, they are resurrecting Fusion University and moving the players there. Gael “Poko” Gouzerch, Niclas “sHockWave” Jensen and Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway now have two-way contracts with the Fusion.
After over a year since our last match we are excited to announce that Fusion University will be returning to competitive play! We've taken on both NA and KR Contenders so now it's time for a new challenge in the EU region…
— Fusion University (@FusionUni) May 23, 2021
New players for an old team
The legend of Fusion University is one of the most popular in Contenders lore. The North American Contenders team dominated the region for four seasons, and moved to Korean Contenders for a short time. Many players formerly on the Fusion University team are now in the Overwatch League with varying success, including Kyung-bo “Alarm” Kim and Ho-sung “Na1st” Lee. When the team moved to Korean Contenders, after a mediocre season, they rebranded to T1. As of now, T1 still competes in Korean Contenders with its own separate roster. This means the Philadelphia Fusion have the unique distinction of operating two academy teams.
However, this version of Fusion University may stand up to their predecessors. When the Philadelphia Fusion announced their move to Korea for the 2021 Overwatch League season, the non-Korean players on their roster needed visas. There proved to be issues with every one, leaving them stuck in their respective countries for the foreseeable future. The organization kept them on the team but signed backups. The May Melee came and went, still leaving the Fusion players stuck. So, the organization decided to make a new Contenders team with those players, adding some Contenders talent with them. This includes former Philadelphia Fusion player Isaac “Boombox” Charles and former Boston Uprising prospect Louis “JkAru19” Power.
Most surprising, however, is the return of a prospect who retired at the end of 2020. Kamden “Jiali” Hijada, formerly known as Sugarfree, will play alongside this team in European Contenders. Alongside the coaching of Christopher “ChrisTFer” Graham and former Overwatch League player Harrison “Kruise” Pond, the team looks strong. They will have to play through the Trials tournament for Fusion University to truly return to Contenders.