Xpecial joins Golden Guardians Academy, sources say

Alex "Xpecial" Chu calls out commands during Rift Rivals. Provided by Riot Games

The Golden Guardians have signed former Phoenix1 support Alex "Xpecial" Chu to compete on its academy roster for the 2018 season, league sources told ESPN.

Golden Guardians Academy will be the first time Xpecial has competed in the secondary League of Legends league -- formerly the Challenger Series -- since his time with Apex Gaming and Apex Pride in 2016. He was a member of Team Dignitas after it merged with Apex in late 2016 before he was moved to Phoenix1 in June.

The team has also signed top laner Bobjenkins, jungler Nicholas "Potluck" Pollock, mid laner Qin "bobqin" Bo-Yuan and AD carry Clarence "Jurassiq" Mabansag, sources said. Potluck and bobqin were both members of eUnited in 2017 but did not start in their respective positions.

Xpecial is the only veteran on a team that consists of four other amateur players. He is one of several former professional players competing in the North American League of Legends Academy League this year. Mid laner Jang "Keane" Lae-young and jungler Lee "Shrimp" Byeong-hoon joined FlyQuest Academy in December, while Clutch Gaming Academy recruited former World Champion AD carry Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin for its academy lineup as well.

The goal of the new league, which begins its inaugural season on Jan. 19, is to train and mentor various young players in hopes that they develop into potential League Championship Series starts in the future. Most of the players in the league are expected to have very little to no League Championship Series experience - like the rest of the Golden Guardians roster - with some exceptions, like Xpecial and others.

The Golden Guardians obtained its spot in the League Championship Series after its parent organizations, the Golden State Warriors, majority owner Joe Lacob and his son assistant GM Kirk were accepted into the league in October. Each team in the League Championship Series will have secondary teams in the Academy League. The Guardians are among three of the new teams, including Cleveland Cavaliers sister company 100 Thieves and Houston Rockets-owned Clutch Gaming, who are related to NBA franchises.