“It’s a dream come true” – Interview with LEC Referee Susy

Recently I’ve had the chance to talk with Susanna “Susy” Barsotti, who is working for Riot as one of the LEC Referee. From her career path to becoming a referee to her new life chapter in Berlin, Susy shared with us the life of an esports referee. This is part of our series covering those roles and jobs that may go unnoticed within the world of esports.

susy LEC referee

Interview with Susy, current Referee for the LEC

Q: Hi Susy and welcome! We’re excited to have you here! 

Helloooooooo, thank you for having me! This is my first-ever interview and I’m very excited and glad for the opportunity!

Q: So how about we jump right into it? Could you tell us more about your job and what you do?

So, I’m currently working as a referee for the LEC and EMEA Masters. I also work as an admin for the Italian League competitions with PG Esports. To put it simply, I work as a ref throughout the whole week across the different tournaments. And it looks like I will be extending that to VALORANT as well, starting from the end of this month! I’m basically doing the ref 24/7, to the point where I’m dreaming about in-game bugs and potential technical issues overnight!

Q: How did you get to become a LEC referee?

I would consider myself extremely lucky. I’ve always tried to find ways to learn the skills and qualities required to become a League ref. After graduating in law last summer, I’ve worked hard and spent most of the break on job applications for Riot.

I knew I didn’t want to start working in a sector I wouldn’t have enjoyed, and that’s why I’ve put lots of effort into this. I still remember how my friends and I used to dream about ending up in the LEC together, and now I was given a chance. Needless to say, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity.

Read more: LEC 2023 Power Rankings

Q: Turning a dream into reality always bring great personal satisfaction. Now that you’re working with Riot, you have moved to Berlin. How is life there compared to Italy? Is there anything you miss from Italy in particular? 

Aside from the weather, which is not as nice, I would definitely say I miss Italian food, especially pizza, and pasta. I remember getting a Carbonara at the studio one day and yeah, as a girl coming from Rome, you probably can imagine my reaction. It wasn’t a good decision.

There are also other things, especially when it comes to daily life. I miss going to the cinema with my bestie and enjoying the films on reclining seats. Another thing that I miss is McDonald’s Crispy McBacon (not sponsored, ahaha). There aren’t any in Berlin, and I don’t know why it’s not available across all Mc’s. For me, it’s clearly a bad business decision!

Looking for an apartment was also quite troublesome, but I somehow managed to find a decent place for myself. On a positive note, though, living expenses in Berlin are quite similar to Italy, and everything is quite handy and practical.

Q: Are there other things you’re struggling in particular with? What are your goals for the year? 

I think that moving into a new country alone definitely meant making certain sacrifices. Leaving everything behind and having to adjust to a completely unfamiliar environment wasn’t easy at first. On top of that, I usually work during the evening times: I listen and interact with players the majority of the time, and listen to their comms instead of hanging out with friends at bars or pubs.

That said, I’m willing to make these sacrifices because I’m working for something I’ve always dreamt of. I’m enjoying my time and I hope I can get better at my job and be able to continue working in the industry.

Currently, however, I’m desperately trying to pick up some German since it’s been quite a complicated learning process so far. I hope I can get to a B1 level by the end of the year. Another long-term goal I’m setting myself is to start a Master’s in the following years, especially if I’m able to stay here.

Q: What’s your daily routine looking like right now?

Honestly, I feel like I’m still having the typical gamer life when I’m not working. Ever since I was 6, I used to stay up until late to play Tomb Raider, so I have picked up the habit of sleeping extremely late and it hasn’t changed a bit.

When it’s LEC day, I just focus on that and try to chill and rest well. Having to stand all day is quite physically intensive, especially if you are not used to such intensity. That’s why I usually try to move a bit and walk back and forth on stage.

If I’m working with PG (on weekdays), I usually study German or hit the gym in order to stay fit.

Q: Let’s talk about the LEC. You obviously have had the chance to interact with the LEC players. How was it to meet the players in real life? 

It was such an exciting moment for me at first, but I quickly got used to it. We usually work on a turn basis, which means I get to interact with certain teams more than others. For example, I ref’d Vitality once, while Astralis was the team I worked with the most.

What I’ve noticed is that in every team there are always a few energetic players that want to hype up the atmosphere and some that are more introverted and reserved. It almost feels like they are always balancing each other out.

susy lec referee

Image Credits | Michal Konkol/Riot Games

Q: Considering you are also working with the Italian competitions, which is the most exciting team from PG Nats among the new entries this year?

It’s probably obvious but I would say DSYRE for the results they are achieving. I’m quite sorry for DREN Esports as well, given their particular situation. But having worked with almost everyone in PG, I think these two teams’ comms are incredibly funny.

Q: We’re almost to the end of our interview! Is there anyone you want to shout out?

First, I really want to thank all those who pushed me into entering the Italian competitive scene. I want to thank MACKO Esports’ Rharesh and Korax for introducing me to the competitive world: without them, I probably would have never stepped into esports.

After those two, I want to thank GGE Esports’ Arthan for giving me the chance to help the team out as a legal intern. Lastly, I wanna thank Vischio, Atleta Esports, and those who allowed me to become a LEC Referee. In particular, I want to shout out my boss for giving me the opportunity and fulfilling my dream. That said, I hope this is just going to be the beginning of something even better!

Read also: Interview with Dignitas Head Analyst Yariet

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