It might be easy for some to imagine MLE council members as serious, official types who are somewhat removed from the community itself. But with leaders like Stovvadz, that’s far from the truth. Stovvadz has developed a reputation for not only training champions while being a GM and FM of the Outlaws but also helping to develop and encourage new leaders within the community. Rolo recently got the chance to chat with Stovvadz and find out more about the man behind the Outlaw’s success.
WHEN DID YOU JOIN THE LEAGUE?
I joined in the offseason after season 5, before season 6, which was November 2017. That was when Minor League Esports (Minor League Doubles at the time) ventured into Champion League and there was a “bubble rank”, in which Diamond 3 players could play in Platinum League or Champion League. Needless to say, bubble ranks never happened again.
In season 6 I was drafted third overall to the Demolition in which we almost made the playoffs my first season. Little disappointed on that one, for we had an excellent team. Season 7 I was drafted to the Flames second overall and was aiming for first overall season 8, but that is when I became General Manager of the Outlaws and went non-playing. The Outlaws in their first season had a Foundation League team and I did not have a Premier League team initially.
What is your favorite car?
I am an octane main for sure. I also have to rock the sacred boost and the chick magnet antenna too.
Do you prefer 2s or 3s?
I prefer 2s and rather suck at 3s. I am currently 50/50 on whether I want to be on the roster or not for this upcoming season. I am leaning towards putting [myself] as a deep roster spot then if I need to play I can put myself in.
What is the best non-standard mode?
My favorite is rumble for it does not deviate from standard as much. Hoops is scary because of the nets and the puck moves in insane ways in snowday. I am starting to like dropshot more, but still, rumble is my favorite.
What is your favorite MLE/MLD memory?
The obvious answer would be when we won two championships in one day. Academy League and Foundation League Outlaws both won a championship in Season 8. I was stressing for the first series, but as soon as we got that first series win, whatever happened after that I was okay with. But then we won both and it was a complete victory for the Outlaws. One of the most stressful days as a Franchise Manager.
As a player, would be when I was drafted third overall by the Demolition. I did not know the captain of the Demolition at the time and was picked up due to a recommendation from a different player already on the Demolition. I was caught totally off guard, but I am glad they took the chance on me. Sough was the captain then and I am still friends with him to this day.
What is the best part about being a part of the Outlaws?
Having a really stress-free environment on the Outlaws I feel makes us unique. I do not put a lot of external pressure on our players, saying they have to practice a certain amount, or what have you. Instead, they develop at their own pace, develop friendships at their own pace, and the consequence is that they want to play Rocket League with each other and improve. I do replay analysis with my players frequently during the season, but even then, that stress-free environment helps with our success. We have a culture where I want them to succeed, and they all want to succeed too. Having a happy team creates happy results. So far, this low-stress environment has provided great results where seven out of eight teams the last two seasons have made playoffs.
That sort of playoff success does not happy solely from your leadership. Who else has had a major role in supporting you and the Outlaws?
Last couple of seasons I’ve had TheevilIisback as my right-hand man, which has been great. I can rely upon him whenever and it helps knowing I could leave for a week and know everything would be taken care of. FLaMEz, who is now the Flames Franchise Manager, and Jacobjtl were both captains last season and they performed wonderfully. They were big leaders for our squad and they hit it out of the park. I did not have to worry about scheduling half the time, for they had it covered. Big shout outs to those three.
What is your favorite hobby outside of Rocket League?
Aside from gaming, I am a huge sports fan. I religiously watch hockey, football, and most baseball games. Big Leafs, Red Sox, and Packers fan. Been fun watching the Leafs top the North Division so far this season.
What is the best part about being a Franchise Manager?
Seeing improvement for my players in two different ways. Seeing them develop and watching Foundation League players move onto Champion and Master League is incredibly rewarding. Also, watching people advance in the League itself too. Seeing TheevilIisback go onto a higher up in 4mans, and I alluded to Hershey earlier and their success. Now Flamez is getting their shot as well. Knowing I have had a say in helping to develop other Franchises, in a way, fills me with pride. It is also rewarding having former Outlaws who would still classify themselves as Outlaws, even to this day.
What is the hardest part about being a Franchise Manager?
I tend to keep my first-round draft picks, for I like having that option open. Which means having hard decisions and conversations around retentions during the off-season. Those are tough to have and it is tough to let people go. This being said, it opens up opportunities for others. Like Hershey for example, they leave the Outlaws and go on to win with the Hurricanes as General Manager. However, those friendships we make do not stop simply because players change teams, which is reassuring.
How has your role on council transitioned over the last several seasons? What’s been the most rewarding aspect of being a council member? What’s been keeping you to stay on council for as long as you have?
When I came onto Council, there was a batch of three community coordinators transitioning up: TyTy with Events, Kiimmiiii with Admissions, and myself with Moderation. Fridge and Cloud were both stepping down then as well. The more difficult transition was taking on more responsibility within other departments, like League Operations. I wanted to help out and support, but not also step on other team members and make my opinion the last say. I wanted to provide my perspective in other areas and finding that balancing act for perspectives was challenging at times.
As for staying around on Council, I want to see the League succeed. I also would love to take on more of a Leadership role one day too. That keeps me going, constantly pushing myself and helping out wherever I can. Currently, my focus is on improving relations among staff members and relations between staff and the community. I want to continue to break down those barriers and help build trust among everything within MLE. I also feel I do a good job in Crisis Management and de-escalating tense situations, so I wish to continue that work as well.
I am also incredibly excited with the prospect of expansion into other games for MLE. That is a little bit on the back burner currently, however, I will be bringing my breadth of knowledge of other games into those conversations.
Where do you see yourself in 2-3 years?
If I am still in MLE at that time, would love to push towards Board/Leadership. I want to support MLE in its expansion into other games and being on the Board for something like that would be exciting for me. Regardless, I want to continue to keep the core community values of MLE going. When I first joined MLE, we had around 500 members, and we are now around 2000. I want to keep the reason for that growth at the core of everything that we do.
Outside of MLE, once the pandemic calms down, I would like to go back to school! Still deciding on what I would want to take.