Hey, thanks for posting. These are good steps to entering the competitive scene. Below, I have an email that I sent a guy in your exact shoes a few months ago. It was done in an email, and that is why it is in that format. I forgot to mention in the PUG section, that Faceit is an option for pickup games in tf2. It is great for new players and makes it easy to find a pickup game. Here is the email, and if you have any questions let me know. Beware I have not proof read this in forever ;ssss.
Just following up about what we talked about in terms of getting into competitive TF2. I am really just going to be reminding you of the resources and ideas that I talked about yesterday. The links to everything discussed in this email will be linked at the bottom. So, assuming you will not be asking any of your friends to join their team, the lone wolf route has a few options in no particular order:
Posting on the UGC forums LFT (looking for team) thread.
Posting on the UGC forums LFP (looking for player) thread.
Search for a team in the current Steel division leader board that isn't performing very well and asking them if they are in need of a player for next season.
Play PUGs (pick up games) to get your name out there are introduce yourself to members of the competitive scene.
Posting on TF.TV is an option, but those are typically for ESEA players and are much higher skill level than UGC. Most players making their competitive debut in ESEA usually do not win much.
To break these down further, posting on the UGC forums LFT thread will allow team leaders to search for players like yourself that are looking for a team to play on. The same goes for the LFP thread. This thread allows players like yourself to try and find team leaders that are in need of players like you. Single players start threads in LFT, team leaders start threads in LFP. Generally, when posting on an LFT thread or responding to an LFP post, there are certain guidelines you have to follow in order to make a successful post. I will link an example post to one of my LFP threads at the end of this email, and I will post an example LFT post of one of my friends'. Both of these are for TF.TV, but it all works the same no matter what website you use. You will see common themes between then. Just be sure to fully explain yourself, your experience, and your situation.
Moving on from posting on threads, another option, although not as strong, is to seek out a current team leader in your division of choice (this time being steel due to your experience) and asking one of those team leaders if you could try out for their team. This is definitely more of a forward approach to finding a team, and will not always be successful because a lot of new steel teams performing poorly will often times die, but this could be a gateway for you to mention creating a team with them. This all comes down to you communicating with them well and how your personality matches with theirs. I highly recommend scouting out a person and attempting to understand their personality type to see if it will match with yours before you get on a team with anyone, no matter your method of entry into the team.
Lastly, playing PUGs is a huge way to get your name out into the competitive scene and make friends within it. If you are not playing in PUGs now, then I encourage you to start. I will post some lower skill level PUG groups that you can get started with. The key with PUGs is to not be too excited or annoying, to put it straight forward. Keep it simple at first, be humble before you think about gloating or acting out without knowing anyone in the PUG. PUGs also have a certain way of being ran, and I think the best way to learn how they are ran is to simply go play one and see for yourself. Explaining it here would be kind of unnecessary. To play in them, simply sit in the lobby voice channel (if it is discord or mumble) and wait until they start. Once again if you are new to this system, let the PUG leader know and ask for help throughout the process.
I wish you luck on your journey, and keep in mind that the beginning will be difficult, but also the most fun after you get your feet on the ground. Keep in mind not everyone in the community is nice, it is kind of an interesting community. Some of it is kind and will spend time with you as a player, and some are the most toxic players you will ever meet. Just something to keep in mind, but it will be worth it in the end, as most players are at the very least going to treat you with some form of respect, whether it be with a written out competitive plan, or just talking with you casually.
As promised, here are the links to the above mentioned items:
UGC LFT Thread for North America: http://www.ugcleague.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?13-North-America
UGC LFP Thread for North America: http://www.ugcleague.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?14-North-America
Example LFP Post: http://www.teamfortress.tv/40706/lfp-scouts-and-medic#1
Example LFT Post: http://www.teamfortress.tv/43472/cinder-lft-scout
UGC Team Leader Board S25: http://ugcleague.com/rankings_tf26_currentseason_all.cfm
UGC General Discord: https://discord.gg/ugctf2
--UGC 6v6 Steel Admin
edit: As you can see this was for a guy wanting to enter UGC steel. esea.net is available of course as well. Visit that site for more information on the tf2 league.