Female CSGO Pro Juliano Announces Retirement From CSGO, Pursues Valorant
Female CSGO tends to get treated like a sideshow by the larger CSGO community. From videos cherry-picking some of the worst moments from female CSGO competition to anonymous chatters going into the streams of female pros to be crude, it isn’t easy to be a woman and try to compete at the professional level of CSGO. However, Julia “Juliano” Kiran has been a mainstay in professional Counter-Strike since the early days of CSGO. She’s seen success at several Dreamhack events, WESG Women’s, female-only invitational tournaments. Her career in Counter-Strike has recently attracted the attention of XSET, an organization known for its roster of diverse competitors coming from different backgrounds, genders, and races. Juliano has been on XSET’s female CSGO roster since 2020, which makes her recent retirement bittersweet.
Juliano’s CSGO Retirement Leading to Better Options?
In a tweet posted to her Twitter, Juliano announced her decision to retire from professional CSGO competition and transition to Valorant. The news of her retirement saw fellow teammate mimi come out in support, along with female 1.6 legend Alimonstr welcoming Juliano to the female Valorant scene.
With Riot announcing the Game Changers tournaments, it’s no doubt that female pros have looked towards Valorant as a viable opportunity to better hone their skills, find a new, less-cynical audience that will appreciate their skill as players, and find better compensation than they’ve had in CSGO. Valve’s ‘hand-off’ policy regarding their games has hurt CSGO and the professional scene, despite its legacy and popularity worldwide. Riot’s commitment to providing several pipelines to female competitors, who are often marginalized and vulnerable due to gaming’s troubling history of sexism and misogyny, makes the switch to Valorant all the more tempting.
The next series of Game Changers for NA and EMEA will happen near the end of September, where we may see Juliano next. Whether she’ll be competing with her XSET team for those events is currently unknown.
While the exit of Juliano from professional CSGO is a loss, this could open up the female CSGO scene to newer competitors who have struggled to find support, as all the attention has gone to players like Juliano, or convince organizations and tournaments that female CSGO is a lost cause as more of the scene’s figureheads depart to compete in Valorant. What will happen next to female CSGO is uncertain, but Juliano’s retirement should mark an end to an era in the scene.