Smooya: Being a CS:GO pro is a dream come true
From sleeping on floors to becoming one of CS:GO's most recognisable faces, Owen 'Smooya' Butterfield reveals how competitive gaming has changed his life.
You don’t need to know anything about CS:GO to have heard of the name ‘Smooya’. After revealing he’d be satisfied with a top-eight finish at ESL One Cologne, Smooya and the rest of his BIG teammates went on to make history by reaching the finals.
Along with winning Player of the Year at the UK Esports Awards, the Huddersfield-based lad has arguably had one of the best months of his career so far.
But what was life like for Smooya before he got to this point? We spoke to the CS:GO maestro to find out all about his journey.
Growing up in Huddersfield, football was one of Smooya’s first loves but he wasn’t initially interested in a career in the beautiful game or gaming for that matter.
I was like smurfing in the Sunday League!
“I was playing football at the age of ten for the Bolton Dynamos for three or four seasons,” he told us. “I was insane, I remember scoring something like 40 goals in my first season – I was like smurfing in the Sunday League!
“I was good at it but I didn’t really want to be a footballer. Actually, my biggest dream was to become a lawyer. I had enough GCSEs to go to college at the age of 14 but I said no because I was playing World of Warcraft back then.”
Despite his thriving gaming career, Smooya hopes to one day rekindle his love for law.
“I will probably go back to it,” he said. “I’m really passionate about it, I’ve been interested in it since I was 14. I’d like to do something related to it, even if it’s just having an understanding of it. I know very basic stuff but I want to learn more.”
But don’t worry, Smooya doesn’t plan to leave the gaming scene anytime soon. Ever since receiving CS:GO as a present back in January 2015, it has been a whirlwind for the 18-year-old.
For Smooya, who claims to be a man of simple tastes, becoming a pro gamer has been a dream come true.
I've come from a UK scene where going to events meant I had to sleep on the floor and only get two hours sleep every night and then play for 18 hours straight.
“Everything about it is exactly how it seems,” he said. “You wake up roughly whenever you want, you can go to bed whenever you want, eat whatever you want and basically do whatever you want. You travel a lot, you get everything paid for, you get paid. There are literally no complaints about my job.
“I’m quite a simple person, I don’t need a lot and I don’t expect much. I’ve come from a UK scene where going to events meant I had to sleep on the floor and only get two hours sleep every night and then play for 18 hours straight. Now, I’m getting everything paid for, getting around in Ubers, food catered for you and I just couldn’t be happier. It’s a dream come true.”
“The biggest difference for me is probably the money. Now, every morning when I wake up I’d go to Tesco’s, buy myself four croissants, some apple juice because I love it and sometimes get those freshly baked cookies. It’s become bit of a ritual for me now. Before, I wouldn’t have had the money for that but now I don’t have to worry too much about it.”
Not every gamer can make it to the big stages like Smooya has but he has some advice for those who are trying to replicate his success.
Make sure you stay grounded and not have a massive ego
“Don’t think that you can get good because you want to get good, just have fun,” he said. “That’s the thing with everyone, no pro player ever sat there and thought ‘oh yeah, I’m going to go pro’. You just have to play the game.
“If you find a game you like and think you could be quite decent then just play with your friends, make sure you stay grounded and not have a huge ego. Stay consistent – it’s like anything, you know; going to the gym, playing basketball. There is no way around it besides staying consistent, practising, not giving up, and eventually you’ll make it.”