“There are few individuals who have been as impactful as TaeJa in the path for Team Liquid to grow to where it is today,” wrote Victor “Nazgul” Goossens—Team Liquid co-founder—in a statement. “We started working together when he was 17 years old. A rising talent, playing under the legendary SlayerS clan. Offering him an opportunity to play for us has turned out to be such a pivotal moment in our history.”
TaeJa’s parents owned a PC bang (the Korean term for a LAN gaming cafe), and he first became acquainted with StarCraft: Brood War while still in kindergarten. Later he would end up going pro and joining Team Liquid, where he stayed the majority of his career. As Inven notes, there he became one of the greats, and was one of the most decorated StarCraft II pros ever.
Also known as the Crown Prince, TaeJa previously retired in 2016 after dealing with wrist issues and disappointing results. However, in 2018, after finishing his military service, he once again returned to Team Liquid.
Will he be back? When TaeJa retired previously, Nazgul recounted how TaeJa told him it was, “once and for all and with absolute certainty.”
In today’s written statement, TaeJa mentioned how he had time to think about the future after season 3 of GSL 2020. He reached the conclusion that it was time for him to leave the professional StarCraft II scene.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” he wrote. “I can feel I want to play more, but the circumstances aren’t good for me. I’m getting older, and my skill on SC2 wasn’t satisfied as my expectation, so I decided this.”
TaeJa certainly sounds ready to move on. “It’s time to start a new chapter of my life,” he continued. “I’ll get this though with my experience and knowledge which I got it [sic] from my pro gaming life.” He also wrote that he appreciated his fans’ love, adding, “Hopefully we can meet in the future again.” Hopefully, indeed.