Professional 'League of Legends' Coach to Launch New Coaches Association

The LCS and North American Challengers League will now have a coaches' counterpart to its already-established players' association.

A former “League of Legends” professional head coach is launching a coaches association aiming to provide mentorship, legal support, education and certification for those coaching across all levels of the game. 

Former Immortals and FlyQuest head coach Gabriel “Invert” Zoltan-Johan is starting the Esports Coaches Guild, a new nonprofit association that is expected to serve as the new advocacy body of coaches in “League of Legends”, he told The Jacob Wolf Report this week.

The Coaches Guild will welcome professional level coaches from the League Championship Series and North American Challengers League, as well as those coaching across high school, collegiate and amateur leagues. Zoltan-Johan said he expects that nearly all of the professional-level coaches—around 70 to 75 between the LCS and the NACL—will join the guild. So far, several coaches have joined early to assist with creating education coursework and content, he said.

“Having an equivalent [to the Players Association] for coaches and competitive staff, I find to be pretty important because the job itself has comparatively low job security, coaches don't often have many rights, and often a lot of coaches are not represented by any sort of legal team or agent just because of potential conflict of interests that occur,” Zoltan-Johan said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“So agents more often represent players because players can make them a larger commission and they don't want to deal with situations where they're representing a coach and a player, and there could be a potential conflict there.”

Annual dues consist of three tiers, at $300, $400 and $500, depending on the access to content and legal assistance the joining coach is in need of from the guild. Members benefits include contract review, access to exclusive coursework created by current and former professional-level coaches and eventually, conferences, summits and keynotes.

Zoltan-Johan said that the $500 annual membership is all inclusive and is primarily for current professional-level coaches, where the $300 membership is more geared towards scholastic coaches working across high school and elsewhere.

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Zoltan-Johan’s coaching career began during his time at the University of Toronto, where he managed and coached the school’s club “League of Legends” team, which went on to place highly in several collegiate tournaments around the world. He then became a journalist, covering “League” and other esports at Toronto-based sports news website theScore, but continued to coach the university team on the side.

Zoltan-Johan transitioned into professional-level coaching in late 2017, when LCS team FlyQuest hired him to be the head coach of its Academy team. Since, he’s done stints with the main FlyQuest team, as well as Dignitas and Immortals. He departed Immortals in October and has focused on launching the guild throughout this off-season.

The need for a coaches association, he said, came after he and his peers were frequently approached by other coaches looking for advice and feedback on contracts and negotiations. Inspired by the League Championship Series Players Association, a now-independent body that represents professional players across the LCS and Academy, Zoltan-Johan began to plan for the guild as a similar body but for competitive staff.

“I've just experienced a lot of situations where newer coaches will come to me with their contracts for me to review or for me to get someone to review because they don't know where to look and they don't know where to start,” he said. “And in some cases, they could be exploited and they could have harmful clauses or predatory clauses in their contract that they're unaware of if they didn't have that connection to me or to another resource. So being able to have a centralized body to provide that was the driving motivating factor for me.”

While the association is starting with “League of Legends”, Zoltan-Johan said he wants to expand to “VALORANT” in the near future, citing a need there he’s heard from other coaches.

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