Veteran NA LCS coach Choi "Locodoco" Yoon-sub will be heading Gold Coin United, a new challenger team operated by J2K Esports and Technology.
Locodoco, who has coached Team Liquid for over a year and before that worked with Team SoloMid, told theScore esports that he's interested in the opportunity to develop a new Challenger roster. J2K purchased NRG Esports' spot in the Challenger Series earlier this week, and Loco said he has had a role in selecting the players that will play for them.
"You need to develop NA players if you want to compete at the top tier level of LCS in the future," Locodoco told theScore esports. "One of my goals and one of my reasons for doing this team is to be able to find and develop NA players that can be generational, and be franchise players in the future."
Though Gold Coin have not yet announced their roster, Loco said he is already headed to Korea to bootcamp with their three NA players and two Korean imports. As head coach, he will be backed up by sports psychologist Summer Scott, who has previously worked with Team Liquid and NRG, and assistant coach Alex Warren, formerly with NRG.
The owners of J2K, New York real estate mogul James Kuhn and his son Jake Kuhn, said they were introduced to Locodoco through team Liquid, who helped them build their team. Jake, who will be acting as general manager for Gold Coin, said that he and his father have been interested in getting into the League of Legends space for a year. They were eventually introduced to NRG owner Gerard Kelly, who told them that NRG was planning to exit LoL after their relegation from the LCS this summer.
Jake said he's been a video game fan since he was young, and both he and his father got interested in esports through their shared backgrounds as athletes. He said they decided to acquire a Challenger team rather than trying to buy an LCS spot because they felt it was important to establish themselves in the scene before diving in.
"We wanted to learn as much as we could and really get comfortable in the space," Jake told theScore esports. "We didn't want to impose ourselves on the LCS without feeling like we deserved to be there. Starting off in the CS and really proving ourselves would make me and my dad feel like we deserve to be in the space."
Both Jake and Locodoco say that their goal is to make LCS in one season, and they'll look at expanding the organization once they've achieved that goal. For now, Loco says they're not looking to do anything radically innovative, but to establish a well-oiled organization that does its job very well.
"People often try to reinvent the wheel," he said. "They have very grand ideas about what they want to do and how they want to do things. But I think there has to be some kind of a baseline before you start innovating or doing something different. You have to understand the industry, you have to at least be in LCS before you decide that you're going to be a team that's doing something brand new. Secure yourself first and pay your dues — then you'll actually be at a point where you can play with the big boys."
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.