sOAZ to take year off from League of Legends pro play

Immortals top laner Paul "sOAZ" Boyer was released Monday and announced he plans to take a yearlong break from pro play. The veteran has competed in every League of Legends season since the inaugural year of official competition. Photo by Oshin Tudayan/Provided by Riot Games

Veteran League of Legends top laner Paul "sOAZ" Boyer will take a year off from competition, the player announced Monday after he was released from Immortals.

SOAZ said he will look to be more involved in coaching for the 2021 season, although he did not specify whether or not that will be individually for players or looking for work on a team's staff. He said he'll then evaluate whether or not he will return for the 2022 season.

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"The last two years have taken quite a toll on me, especially this one with being in quarantine for 5 months in a foreign country and being away from everything," sOAZ said in a statement released on his Twitter. "Even though I believe I can still compete at the top level, I think it's for the better that I make the decision to take a year off from playing.

"It's honestly exciting for me to think about coaching players, theorycrafting and being more involved with staff. I have had countless discussions with people over the years telling me that I could be a good coach, and I think now is a good time to give it a fair try."

SOAZ was one of four players released by Immortals on Monday, alongside Johnny "Altec" Ru, Austin "Gate" Yu and Jérémy "Eika" Valdenaire. The team also cut ties with coach Adrien "GoToOne" Picard. Immortals placed last in the 2020 League Championship Series Summer Split.

This year marked the return to League of Legends for the Immortals organization after they left the space in late 2017 following a declined application for a franchise spot in the League Championship Series. In mid-2019, Immortals Gaming Club acquired Infinite Esports & Entertainment, then the parent company of OpTic Gaming and the Houston Outlaws. Immortals re-sold the Outlaws and then rebranded the OpTic League of Legends team to Immortals.

SOAZ is one of the most veteran players still active in professional League of Legends. He competed in the final of the Season 1 League of Legends World Championship in 2011, as a member of against All authority, in Jönköping, Sweden. SOAZ then competed for a number of years with Fnatic, Origen, then Fnatic again and Misfits Gaming before making the move to North America to play for Immortals.