First woman in Overwatch League, Geguri, gets taste of Blizzard Arena

Kim "Geguri" Se-yeon's first appearance at the Blizzard Arena was during her team's Overwatch League game against London Spitfire in Burbank, California. Sean Morrison for ESPN

LOS ANGELES -- South Korean Overwatch player Kim "Geguri" Se-yeon appeared onstage for the Shanghai Dragons on Friday night -- but her playing debut has yet to come.

Geguri was seen briefly setting up with the Dragons, which fell to the London Spitfire 4-0. The 18-year-old became the only woman to sign an Overwatch League contract when Shanghai signed her in February. But she said to ESPN that she wants to be recognized for her performance on her team.

"I don't want to be known as the female player," Geguri through a translator Friday. "I want to be known for finally getting that first win, helping Shanghai get that first win, and I want to be known as a player that evolves and constantly gets better."

Geguri, who arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday from her home in South Korea, was signed by Shanghai in mid-February along with main tank Lee "Fearless" Eui-Seok, flex player Cheon "Ado" Ki-hyun and support He "Sky" Junjian. Of the four, Geguri is the best-known name, in part because of the worldwide fervor around false accusations that she cheated during a 2016 semi-pro Overwatch tournament.

The 18-year-old player had previously played for ROX Orcas in the OGN Global Overwatch APEX series and became the first woman to play professional Overwatch during that stint. But when the Overwatch League's teams came together, Geguri did not get chosen. When questions arose about why she was not included, Geguri denied it because she was a woman, responding via Twitter, "I don't want people to use my story as a way to forward their own ideologies."

About three months later, she joined a winless Shanghai Dragons squad that is trying to reset its roster and take another approach to its future in the Overwatch League. The team's coach, Chen "U4" Congshan, stepped down March 6, and perhaps its best two players, DPS duo Lu "Diya" Weida and Chao "Undead" Fang, left the team and returned to China in mid-March for "personal issues," according to statements from the Dragons.

Geguri said she was impressed with the DPS duo Shanghai has and its new additions, and she looked forward to gelling with the team before her Stage 3 debut.

"I've got to grit down and do my best," she said. "That's all that I'm thinking about right now."

Geguri is one of the few women to compete at the highest level in esports. Others include StarCraft II pro Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn, who won IEM Pyeongchang, a pre-Winter Olympics major in South Korea; League of Legends Academy team support Maria "Remilia" Creveling, the first woman to compete in the North American League of Legends Championship Series; Street Fighter V competitor Ricki Ortiz; Super Smash Bros for Wii U player Kelsy "SuperGirlKels" Medeiros; and several Counter-Strike: Global Offensive all-women's squads like Team Dignitas.