Counter-Strike, both the original and its multiple versions, has been the most popular esports in Sweden. One team that has contributed much to the scene is Ninjas in Pyjamas. To scout, recruit, and support a new generation of CS:GO Swedish players, NIP rolled out a talent program for the future CS:GO players of Sweden called Path of a Ninja.
The program collaborates with Area Academy and "support the underlying ecosystem and provide ways into a potential academy team in the future," according to NIP's Chief Operating Officer Jonas Gundersen. When Elitserien concluded on Dec. 5, right after the playoffs, the jury selected a couple of talented players to potentially join the Path of a Ninja. This means that the program participants will get invited to workshops and boot camps at the NIP headquarters in Stockholm to get gameplay and well-being guidance from the professional NIP staff while they remain in their current teams.
In less than three weeks since the program announcement, NIP is now announcing Young Ninjas. From its official statement, it is described as a team for budding superstars to represent - a rock steady home to bloom. Fredrik “JAEGARN” Andersson, a former 1.6 pro and is currently Head of Education at Area Academy, is one of the Juries who is responsible to select the young talents. As the first step for the Young Ninjas team, it has signed Erik "ztr" Gustafsson from Spanish organization KPI. Previously he also represented Prima, and was the best-rated player of the lineup in the Svenska Elitserien Fall 2020. ztr recorded his first HLTV match in a King of Nordics tournament back in 2018, but has been playing CS:GO for six years.