Danish CS:GO team North unveiled the 18-year-old Kristoffer "Kristou" Aamand will stand-in for Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye, who announced he will be taking an extended break from competitive CS:GO due to medical reasons.
Kjaerbye has not been involved in any of North's matches since the start of May, despite that, North managed to claw their way into the ESL One: Road to Rio using their coach Jimmy "Jumpy" Berndtsson as a stand-in.
At the time, North did not unveil why their star player has been missing matches but more light has been shed on the situation this Friday, when Kjaerbye unveiled he will step down from the active roster, citing "abdominal pains, breathing problems, and chest cramps" as the reason why he has not been playing with his team
"Over the last couple of months, I have experienced abdominal pains, breathing problems and chest cramps, in such manner, that I have had problems playing the game, I love, on the highest level," said Kjaerbye.
"I have come to a point, where I need to listen to my body, and give it time to recover fully. I don’t know when I will be back on the server but I do know that I need a break. I want to thank my family, fans and the North team and management for support and understanding.”
The 22-year-old has joined North on February 2, 2018, after he left Astralis, where the Dane played for almost two years. Since joining North, Kjaerbye has established himself as an iconic as well as one of the best-performing members of the team, averaging 1.02 rating across two years. Kjaerbye led North to titles at DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018, DreamHack Open Valencia 2018 and DreamHack Open Tours 2018, as three of his biggest achievements with North.
“CS:GO and esports in general is still a young racehorse at full pace with no brakes. Therefore, it is vital that we take responsibility for the health of our players and build sporting setups that are equally ambitious on driving performance and entertainment but also on creating cultures where we go to the limit – but not crossing it,” said Christian Engell, Performance Manager at North.
Kjaerbye's replacement Kristou will arrive at North as a loanee from AGF. The 18-year-old Danish CS:GO pro has begun his CS career in November 2016 with über n00bz and in January 2018 teamed up with AGF. Kristou has remained with the team ever since, although he has already enjoyed a short loan spell with Ambush Esports in April 2018 and will now join North.
Despite his lack of experience with playing at the highest level, Kristou is widely regarded as one of the most promising young Danish CS:GO players. Although he has averaged just over 0.98 rating across 104 maps, Kristou stands out at Elgiganten League, where he boasts with 1.47 K/D.
"We have been collecting and tracking data on a number of young talents in the Scandinavian region as part of our expanded scouting directive in 2020. When it became apparent that we would need a short term substitute due to Kjaerbye's unfortunate situation, we wanted to take the opportunity to look at the future and use a young and developing talent," said Graham Pitt, Head of Esports Operations at North.
"Among the many players that were at the top of our metrics, further analysis from our coaching team lead to Kristou standing out as a player that had the qualities that we desired for the role we were looking to fill. We are looking forward to seeing him play during our run in Dreamhack Masters."
It remains to be seen when Kjaerbye will return to play with the main roster. Until then, North will be using the following roster:
Nicklas "gade" Gade
Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen
René "cajunb" Borg
Philip "aizy" Aistrup
Kristoffer "Kristou" Aamand - stand-in
Jimmy "Jumpy" Berndtsson – coach