Skip to main content

FaZe Clan’s first all-female esports team is ready for the pressure

In early March 2023, well-known professional esports and entertainment organization FaZe Clan announced that it had signed its first all-female esports team. Competing under FaZe Clan’s Valorant banner, the team features five pro players who are already pretty known within the esports space: Jennifer “refinnej” Le, Emma “emy” Choe, Vannesa Emely “panini” Emory, Madison “maddiesuun” Mann, and Diane “di^” Tran. The announcement of this new team brings FaZe Clan’s team roster up to a total of 14 teams.

“It’s been a long time coming but we’re stoked to officially announce bringing on our first all female esports pro team for Valorant,” Erik Anderson, Head of Esports at FaZe Clan, said in the team’s announcement press release. “Signing this group of talented women is just the beginning of bringing female gamers to the forefront at FaZe and I can’t wait to watch them play as a team.”

Introducing FaZe Clan's first All-Female Roster@EmyyCSGO @dianeCSGO @qtpanini @maddiesuun @refinnejle #VCTGameChangers | #FaZeUp

— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) March 7, 2023

One of their first public appearances as a team already occurred in North America’s Game Changers Series I, which kicked off in April 2023. Hosted by Riot Games, Game Changers is a tournament specifically for women and non-binary players and runs throughout the year. The team qualified for the main event in Game Changers, making the top 8 in Series I. And with its first qualifier complete, the team seems extremely excited for what’s to come in the future.

That excitement was clear in a quick chat that Digital Trends had with team members Madison Mann and Jennifer Le on the future of the team and what pressure they expected to potentially face as the first all-female team.

A new start as a team

Following the team’s initial announcement in March, the response from the esports community was overwhelmingly positive. Fans were showing their excitement on Twitter, both under the official announcement and on the player’s own accounts. Both Mann and Le agreed that they were feeling especially great to be playing on the team together. “It is an honor to not only be part of FaZe but also for being the first all-female pro team for FaZe,” Mann said.

But even before forming their team under FaZe Clan, many of the women were friends and have played on other pro teams together over the last few years.

A team photo of all five members of FaZe Clan's first all woman esports team. Four of the members are holding up the fifth member and everyone is smiling.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Le, Emory, and Mann previously played together for Complexity GX3 while Tran and Choe played competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for Count Logic Gaming Red. Prior to their time together at FaZe Clan, the team of five also competed together in 2022 for the Champions Tour Game Changers Series III: North America under the team name “Hamboigas.” The chance to play together once again brought the team a sense of knowing that they already gelled well. And for Le, having the chance to play together once more was enough to draw her in.

“It feels surreal being able to be reunited with Diane and Emy,” Le said. “I’ve always loved them and we have this core with the addition of Maddie and Panini and I know we can accomplish our goals.”

Down to handle the pressure

In an industry that has become known for having a wide gap between the number of professional male and female players, the participation of women in esports has been gaining quite a spotlight over the last few years. This gap extends from gaming as an entire industry – one that has long been known for not being the most welcoming to women. There is a history of toxicity within the gaming space where female players often find themselves on the receiving end of harassment and alienation among the community, whether they are casual or professional players.

I know we have what it takes to be a top team …

But the inclusion and highlighting of professional female players is starting to grow. The announcement of all-female teams from other organizations like Team Vitality, G2, and Guild Esports recently does show a shift in the industry. And while these new team announcements may bring additional pressure to players, Mann and Le are both confident in themselves and the team.

“There’s always pressure for being any type of professional. There’s a lot of eyes on you,” Mann says. “Personally, I think I can say this for the team as well, that we all deal pretty well with that pressure of competing and wanting to win as well as having a ‘spotlight’.”

“I don’t really care for pressure anymore,” Le adds.

As the team continues to practice together, well before they signed with FaZe Clan and after, Mann and Le both seem excited for what’s to come. “My outlook for the future of this team is bright,” Mann tells Digital Trends. “I know we have what it takes to be a top team but also know that we have work to do and patience will play a big part in getting there.”

Editors' Recommendations

Paige Lyman
Freelance writer and journalist
Paige Lyman is a freelance writer and journalist who covers culture and entertainment. She has contributed stories to Digital…
Stop! You’ve got to grab this GTA-like classic before it leaves PS Plus next week
The promo art for Mafia 2 Definitive Edition.

While PS Plus subscribers are awaiting word on which titles will be available in December, the clock is counting down for any subscribers who haven't already claimed the three titles that are available this month. Mafia II: Definitive Edition, Dragonball: The Breakers, and Aliens Fireteam Elite are all available via PS Plus until December 4. While you should claim all three while you still can, you should especially make sure you grab Mafia II: Definitive Edition before it's too late.

The original version of Mafia II hit consoles in 2010, while the remastered Mafia II: Definitive Edition arrived 10 years later. Neither version is without flaws, and if you're expecting something as good or as polished as a Grand Theft Auto game, then you're going to be disappointed. But if you're looking for a compact crime story that you can finish between longer games, then there's more than enough here in Mafia II to recommend playing it.
Band of bros
Mafia II's best asset in 2010 was its story, and the same is true for the definitive edition. The game plays out as a mixture of The Godfather and Goodfellas. That may not be groundbreaking territory, but it's got enough plot and character to get players through the game's storyline. Some fans may not appreciate how linear it is, but it never lets up on the story and it actually lets gamers worry about its heroes when their good fortune inevitably goes bad.

Read more
Best PS5 deals: Save on consoles, games, and accessories
A person plays Crash Bandicoot using a PS5 DualSense controller.

One of the most desired gaming deals at the moment, the PlayStation 5 is a fantastic games console. Able to play some of the best games around like Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Elden Ring, and Baldur's Gate 3 and dozens more, it's the console you want under your TV right now. While the console isn't cheap, we've spotted some awesome PS5 deals to help you save on your purchase. We've also picked out all the best PS5 game deals so you can stock up on the best games, along with PS5 accessory deals for when you need an extra controller or something else to enrich your gaming experience. Take a look below at what's available right now.
Best PS5 deals

The PlayStation 5 has recently seen a great revision with it now slightly slimmer than before and also offering more storage space with 1TB of internal space resulting in 842GB of it being usable. You still get the impressive DualSense controller along with all the benefits that the PS5 offers. With the arrival of the new revision, there are some great bundles around including ones with Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare III.

Read more
Best gaming PC deals: Save on top Alienware, Lenovo, and HP rigs
young woman playing video games on a PC

There's something for every type of gamer in our roundup of gaming PC deals -- whether you're looking for a budget machine, or you want one of the best gaming PCs so that you can play the best PC games at their most demanding settings. We've broken down our favorite offers according to where you stand in the Intel versus AMD rivalry, but either way, you need to hurry if one of these gaming desktops catches your eye as we're not sure how long stocks will last for any of them.
Best gaming PC deals (Intel)

Intel processors deliver amazing performance for gaming PCs, especially if you go for the brand's latest 13th-generation Intel Core processors. You'll just have to make sure that you pair the Intel processor with sufficient RAM for your needs, as you wouldn't want to end up with an unbalanced machine. We've rounded up the best gaming PC deals featuring Intel processors below, but you have to choose what you want to buy quickly because there's no telling when the offers will expire.

Read more