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Old 08-11-2014, 10:19 PM   #1
bbgunn
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Osaka, Japan via Honolulu, Hawaii via Birmingham, Alabama
Aloha Means Soccer (FM14)

PRELUDE



There's nothing quite like a sunset in Hawaii. Such a beautiful thing. I was lucky that the balcony to my second-floor apartment faced west toward the Waianae mountain range. I didn't have a view of the ocean, but I did have a view of the mountains, and that often sufficed when I needed to wind down after a long day.

As I sat on the lawn chair on my balcony, watching the sun descend behind the mountains, drinking a sugar-free iced tea with just the right splash of lemon, my cell phone rang. It was Kimo Thompson, one of my best friends. We went to the same high school together, West Honolulu High School. We played soccer there, then we both got soccer scholarships to the University of Hawaii and played there as well. I guess I had a bit more potential than Kimo did; he couldn't get a pro contract, and he stayed in Honolulu and went into business, but he continued to play soccer for local amateur teams, and he remained connected to the soccer world. Eventually, he became the organizer for the largest adult amateur league in the state.

Meanwhile, after graduating from college, I didn't get any consideration from any Major League Soccer teams, but I did sign with Orange County in what was then called the A-League, the league right under MLS. I injured my hamstring early on, though, and missed most of the season with recurring hamstring problems. After the season, the club let me go.

Over the next couple of years, I tried latching on to any sort of professional team. Lower level teams in the USA and Canada. Japan. Puerto Rico. But nothing really worked out, so in 2004 I came back to Hawaii. With my teaching degree in hand, I was able to teach physical education at my alma mater, West Honolulu High School. The next year, my old soccer coach retired, and I was chosen to take over the soccer team that I played for as a student.

We did well. It took some time, but we built a powerhouse. We shocked the mighty private school soccer teams to win two state championships the last two years. I realized that I really enjoyed coaching soccer, and I began to think about the possibilities at higher levels. Could I coach collegiate soccer, or even for a professional team?

I talked about my ambitions with Kimo one morning about a month ago at a sports bar as we watched Chelsea-Aston Villa. Kimo, a very charismatic guy, had all sorts of connections. He said, "Braddah, if you really serious about this, let me see what I can do for ya."

I hadn't heard from Kimo since then... until I got that phone call.

"Howzit, braddah?" I answered.

"Hey, B.B., I got you a good gig, cuz."

"You serious?"

"Yeah. And you won't believe where."

"Wait... where are you sending me, Kimo?"

"Aloha Stadium."

"You stay joking, braddah. Stop fooling around."

"No joke, cuz. Some people are starting up a team here in Honolulu. It's called the Islanders. A semi-pro team. They're ready to go, but they need a manager. They're really impressed with your work at West Honolulu, and they think you can do a good job for them."

My heart started racing. "A pro team... here... in Honolulu?"

"Semi-pro."

"This is awesome, man! Mahalo, braddah!"

"No prob, cuz. But you need to meet with Mr. Armstrong, the chairman, tomorrow."

And just like that, I was the new manager of a semi-professional team in Honolulu. It would be the highest-level soccer team in Hawaii since Team Hawaii in the old NASL in 1977. But this is no first-division team. This is a sixth division team.

The official name for the team is Honolulu Islanders FC. They play at 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium, although I'm not sure how they're going to fill that place. Even the University of Hawaii football team doesn't sell out. Anyway, the Islanders play in the Gold Coast Division 2, which is part of the sixth division of the eight-level U.S. soccer pyramid. That league consists of teams all around the western United States and Canada. Right above the Gold Coast Division 2, in the fifth division, is the Gold Coast Premier League, again consisting of western teams. If you keep going up, you have the USL-PRO 2 WEST, then the USL-PRO (the lowest nationwide league), then the NASL, and at the top, MLS. (All the teams in the seventh and eighth divisions are amateur.)

Of course, it's way too early to talk about promotion to MLS. I'm just excited to be managing a somewhat professional team here in my hometown!
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Last edited by bbgunn : 08-11-2014 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:26 PM   #2
bbgunn
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Osaka, Japan via Honolulu, Hawaii via Birmingham, Alabama
OUT-OF-CHARACTER NOTES

First of all, thanks to Radii for alerting me to the USA Level 8 Mod for Football Manager 2014. I'm happy that it includes two Hawaii-based teams. I thought about running the eighth-division, amateur Hilo Tsunami, but I'm not able to play FM every day or as much as I would like, and that would be too much of a challenge for me right now. Plus, I'm a Honolulu guy anyway.

I'm going to stick it out with the Islanders. I'm not so interested in the climb to MLS as I am just enjoying managing Honolulu. Of course, if we make it all the way to MLS, I'm not going to complain. But that is not necessarily the goal. With that in mind, if I get sacked from Honolulu, the dynasty is over.

I make no guarantees that this dynasty will last. I haven't had a sustained one since my TCY UAB dynasty way back in 2006. I'll do my best, but read at your own risk. Do know that if this dynasty is aborted, you will get a full refund, no questions asked. Might not even get to that point, though, because I could be fired sooner rather than later.

I read all the FM dynasties here, but I'm afraid I can't make mine as detailed as a lot of those, due to time constraints. It'll probably be more along the lines of mrtourette's (which I enjoy a lot!), but we'll see. I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Of course, if you want more details about a player, game, team, etc., feel free to ask, and I'll see what I can do.
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Last edited by bbgunn : 08-11-2014 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:44 PM   #3
bbgunn
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Osaka, Japan via Honolulu, Hawaii via Birmingham, Alabama
12 January 2013

I met with the Islanders' chairman, Nick Armstrong. Seems like a decent guy. He's giving me philosophical freedom with the team, which is good. He's also giving me $64,000 a year on a part-time contract. That's payment for part-time work? Hell, I don't even need a second job with that much dough.

Also, the Islanders will have a wage budget of about $130,000 a year, and currently roughly $40,000 of that is used among the team's current players. And I'm thinking, I make more than all of my players combined. Freaky.

We also have a transfer budget of $9,600. I'll try not to spend it all at once. I really can't complain, though. We didn't have a transfer budget at the high school.

Afterwards, I meet with the staff. I tell them to handle the reserves and under-18 squads, while I focus on the first team. Of course, all tactics, transfers and player decisions will be handled by me.

While in my office ahead of the first meeting with the players, I'm looking through my files and I notice that none of the staff are making more than $7,000 a year. I'm feeling guilty with my $64,000/year part-time contract. I need to keep that a secret.

Finally, the first team meeting. I introduce myself... and then the players basically say, "OK, Coach, gotta go" and leave. Seriously... that is what happened in the game. I clicked on the option to introduce myself, and there were no other options available after that (and no reply from the players). I had no choice but to end the meeting.

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Old 08-12-2014, 12:03 AM   #4
AnalBumCover
College Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: La Mirada, CA
Nice. Love these fantasy USA soccer dynasties. Following, not only for entertainment purposes but also to check for any issues with the mod and how I can improve it.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:09 AM   #5
bbgunn
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Osaka, Japan via Honolulu, Hawaii via Birmingham, Alabama
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalBumCover View Post
Nice. Love these fantasy USA soccer dynasties. Following, not only for entertainment purposes but also to check for any issues with the mod and how I can improve it.
Thank you, and I completely forgot to thank you for the work you did on the mod. It's excellent so far!
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:45 PM   #6
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
I'll be following along, too. I'm thinking about buying FM14--even though I'm stil not sure my laptop can run it without difficulty--just so I can give this USA mod a go.

Anyway, I'll be supporting the Islanders. Hope your reign is long and successful!
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:23 AM   #7
bbgunn
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Osaka, Japan via Honolulu, Hawaii via Birmingham, Alabama
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyfriars Bobby View Post
I'll be following along, too. I'm thinking about buying FM14--even though I'm stil not sure my laptop can run it without difficulty--just so I can give this USA mod a go.

Anyway, I'll be supporting the Islanders. Hope your reign is long and successful!
Thank you very much!

This Islanders save is the first I've done in the full FM14 (I was playing FM Classic until then), and it is much slower on my laptop. I guess that does give me time to jot down notes for this dynasty while FM is simming. But too bad the USA mod doesn't work in FM Classic.
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:31 AM   #8
bbgunn
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Osaka, Japan via Honolulu, Hawaii via Birmingham, Alabama
Honolulu Islanders FC
MORE PRE-SEASON NOTES - 2013


My assistant manager suggests we have a friendly game against our reserve team so that we can observe our players. I agree, and the game is set up for the next day at Aloha Stadium.

I evaluate our players, and I decide on a 4-5-1 with a DM, two MCs and two attacking midfielders on the flanks. In previous versions of Football Manager, I preferred the 4-4-2 diamond, but I stumbled upon this 4-5-1 in an FM14 Brazil save last month, and I like it!. Because of my preference for this formation, I'm pretty happy that I can implement it.

Here is my first starting lineup. All of the players on the team are from Honolulu, and all are American unless otherwise noted.

GK - Jorge Avilez - 23 yo, 0.5 stars (ability)/4 stars (potential), USA/MEX
DL - Costa Kamatuka - 25 yo, 4.5 stars, captain, USA/NAM
DC - Sean Castillo - 23 yo, 5/5
DC - Brett Walsh - 19 yo, 5/5
DR - Michael Leiweke - 25 yo, 5 stars
DM - Craig Beck - 16 yo, 1.5/5
MC - Ricardo Marin - 16 yo, 4 / 5, USA/MEX
MC - James Gabb - 27 yo, 3 stars
AML - Luis Roberto Canales - 18 yo, 5/5
AMR - Ty Paul - 27 yo, 5 stars, vice-captain (considered best player by Ass Mgr)
ST - Thomas Grimm - 16 yo, 2 stars/ 5 stars, USA/GER

Other first teamers:

GK Eric Wright, 16 yo, 1/5
D (RLC) Aaron Conner, 16 yo, 5/5
DC Jordan Mellor, 15 yo, 4.5/5
DC Andrew Wellman, 16 yo, 3.5/5
M (RL) Steve White, 16 yo, 1 / 5
AMR, ST Justin Collazo, 16 yo 1.5 / 5, USA/MEX
AML, ST Barry Kehoe, 15 yo 5 silver / 5, USA/IRL

We need backup players at DM and MC, and I would love to improve our goalkeeping. But we have a ton of quality depth on the back line. The defense will be good.

Finally... look at these nice kits we have! We might not win much, but we'll be looking mighty good at Aloha Stadium.

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Old 08-13-2014, 08:25 PM   #9
bbgunn
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Osaka, Japan via Honolulu, Hawaii via Birmingham, Alabama
Honolulu Islanders FC
January/February 2013


13 January
Friendly
Honolulu Islanders vs Honolulu Reserves
WON 4-0

We went scoreless in the first half to scare me a bit, but then we opened up things nicely with a nice win. Goals came from Canales (49), Grimm (60), Steve White (73) and a penalty by Paul (86).

After the game, I find out that we canít really schedule any friendlies against any other teams other than our own, as our board wonít let us travel, and other similar status teams - including the amateur, eighth-division Hilo Tsunami - think it is too far to travel. Hell, even the L.A. Galaxy think itís too far to fly out here. I guess weíll have to wait until the Hawaiian Islands Invitational that begins on February 12th. In the meantime, I'll keep trying to find some opponents for friendlies.

1 February
A few of our better players were without contracts, so a priority was to get them signed. But we lost one: James Gabb, who was poached by the Baton Rouge Capitals. They are USL PRO; we could not compete with the full-time contract they offered him. So heís gone. That makes us really weak at MC. Our other starter at MC, Ricardo Marin is just a kid, and there is nobody else that can play the MC position. For now, Steve White will fill the position. He's a 16-year-old wide midfielder who can play both sides and has good potential (relatively speaking), but has no experience in the MC role. I will start training him in this new position.

5 February
U.S. defeats Jamaica 3-1 in the WC qual 4th phase, a.k.a. the "Hexagonal". It is the first game of the Hexagonal. USA is tied for first with Mexico and Cuba, who won games over El Salvador and Panama, respectively.

9 February
MC Ricardo Marin goes down in practice with a torn hamstring. He's out 3 to 4 months as he needs to see a specialist. Big blow, especially with the Hiroshima game coming up in the Hawaiian Islands Invitational. This tournament involves teams from around the Pacific Rim. The quarterfinals feature us, Hilo Tsunami, FC Hiroshima from Japan, and Western Sydney Wanderers FC from Australia. The other two teams in the semi finalsÖ i know one of them is New York Red Bulls of the MLS, according to media reports, but I donít know the other. Anyway, we play FC Hiroshima. They are heavy favorites.

12 February
Prior to our game against FC Hiroshima, Western Sydney creams Hilo 4-0.

13 February
Hawaiian Islands Invitational - Quarterfinal
Honolulu Islanders vs FC Hiroshima
LOST 1-3

I had a bit of hope for us in the 24th minute when Thomas Grimm, standing at the top of the penalty box with the ball, places a nice through ball to Ty Paul cutting in from the right. Paul put that into the top corner for a 1-0 lead. But Hiroshima scored the next minute, again five minutes later, and it went downhill from there.
Canít really fault that performance against higher quality competition. I tell the boys that I was pleased despite the result, and they were all elated.
With his goal, Paul was obviously the best player for us. Avilez was pretty good in GK, all things considered. On the other hand, our back line was bad. But again, better competition.
Last, attendance was nearly 18,000! Who said soccer can't work in Hawaii?

Hiroshima will play the Wanderers in the semifinals, while New York Red Bulls will play FC Seoul.

16 February
Signed 16-year-old DM Luke Garner (4 / 5) from Winston-Salem, NC. First non-Honolulu native on the roster. I hope he can fit in. I ask Kamatuka to give him a warm welcome to Honolulu, take him to Waikiki, etc. The kid is quite determined and has great natural fitness, and he has decent defensive skills and passing. Looks to be more talented than Beck at DM, so we are going to give him a run at DM. Good to get a little depth at DM. Now we need a GK, and one or two MCs.

17 February
We sold 1,000 season tickets. Not a bad start, although we have a long way before we start filling 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium.

19 February
In the Hawaiian Islands Invitational, Western Sydney beat FC Hiroshima 2-1 to advance to the final.

20 February
NY Red Bulls beat FC Seoul 3-0 to advance to the HII final against Wanderers FC. FunnyÖ the Wanderers-Hiroshima game attracted 12,000 people, but this one attracted only 7,000. Must be a lot of tourists from Japan and Australia.

22 February
I gave MLR and hopeful MC Steve White a non-contract, as he just turned 17. What is a non-contract, you say? Well, according to the terms of the agreement, White will not earn a guaranteed yearly salary, but instead will "play for pay." He will get an appearance fee for every game he appears in, and there is also a substitute fee for when he rides the bench, and a bonus for goals. I don't have the terms in front of me, so I'm not sure, but I think he gets something like $120 for playing in a game. I wish I had opportunities like that when I was 17. The ladies are going to be lined up for the kid.
The next non-friendly game for the team is the Gold Coast Division 2 opener at San Jose Frogs on March 16. We need some more friendlies, but nobody wants to travel to play us, and the board wonít let us travel to anybody. Might have to just schedule games against the reserves and under-18s.

23 February
49,000-plus fans at Aloha Stadium watch the New York Red Bulls pound the Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 in the Hawaiian Islands Invitational final. New York are club champions of the Pacific Rim, baby!
Meanwhile, the Invitational gives us $500 to be split among the team. Big time money, homie!
Also, we were labeled as the big underachievers in the Hawaiian Islands Invitational by the American Soccer Review. I donít see why; did they expect us to beat Hiroshima?

25 February
I give some of my younger starters some game time in the Islanders' U18 match hosting San Jose Frogs U18. They win 2-0. Grimm had two goals and was player of the match.

28 February
GK Jorge Avilez gets a gashed head in training. Out 2 weeks. Hopefully okay by the first Gold Coast Division 2 match, but itíll be close.

I schedule a game against our U18 team for March 2nd. It's better than nothing.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:19 AM   #10
bbgunn
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Osaka, Japan via Honolulu, Hawaii via Birmingham, Alabama
Honolulu Islanders FC
March - 9th April 2013 (Because I forgot to print screen the standings on April 1st)


1 March
We have to register our first team squad. We are allowed a max of 44 players on the first team, but seeing as we only have 28 players across the first, reserves, and under-18 teams, I register everybody.

2 March (Sat)
(Home) Honolulu Islanders 0-2 Honolulu U18s (Friendly)
Ugh. Losing to FC Hiroshima is one thing, but there is no way in hell we should have lost to our U18s, and I let them know that. One goal was an own goal by our so-called captain, Kamatuka. Yeah, it was a nice friendly with some of our youngsters. But I wanted the team to play in game mode to get ready for the season, and they didnít.

Next game is against our reserves on Mar 9.

March 9 (Sat)
(Home) Honolulu Islanders 1-0 Honolulu Reserves (Friendly)
Thatís more like it, although Iíd like to think we should have scored another goal. Grimm had the only goal for us, in the 9th.
Thatís it for the friendlies. Next game is our Gold Coast Division 2 opener at the San Jose Frogs on March 16th.

March 16 (Sat)
(Away) San Jose Frogs 3-1 Honolulu Islanders (Gold Coast Division 2)
After falling behind 1-0 in the 10th, Grimm scores for us in the 29th - the first-ever league goal for the Islanders. But another goal by San Jose in the 56th sees us fall behind again. The Frogs get a player sent off with a second yellow in the 61st, so I thought we had a chance. But San Jose scored again in the 84th to put the game away.
And like that, we lose our first league game. We had more shots 12-7, but they had more shots on target 4-2. Again, the back line had lower ratings than everybody else.

20 March (Wed)
(Home) Honolulu 1-1 Sonoma County Sol (Gold Coast Cup Qualifying Round)
Honolulu advances on penalties 19-18

In our first cup game, Collazo scores for us in the 65th. But wouldnít you know it, we allow the equalizer five minutes into stoppage time. In penalties, we won because, basically, Sonoma County was the first one to miss. Terrible goalkeeping at this level. 19-18Ö I was beginning to think that it was going to go on forever.

After the game, I realize that we need some depth at MC. Desperate, I look around and sign three greyed out players:

MC Sebastian Wooten, 16 yo, 1.5 / 5, $2200/year
MC Toraino Taylor, 18 yo, 0.5 silver / 5, non-contract
MC John Parkin, 17 yo, 0.5 silver / 5, non-contract

With those signings, let me update my current starting lineup:

GK Jorge Avilez
DL Costa Kamatuka
DC Sean Castillo
DC Brett Welsh
DR Michael Leiweke
DM Luke Garner
MC Ricardo Marin*
MC Sebastian Wooten
AML Luis Roberto Canales
AMR Ty Paul
ST Thomas Grimm

*With Ricardo Marin out until May or June, Toraino Taylor will be starting for a while.

22 March
USA draws 0-0 away to El Salvador in World Cup qualifying.

24 March
My scouts find a 15-year-old DC/DL named Brett Leathers, from Columbus, Georgia. The scouts think he is already better than our two current starting DCs. Seeing as weíre having trouble signing players, I go ahead and ink him. Iím convinced enough to put him in for Castillo in the starting lineup. Our DCs have performed badly, so I wonder if he can help.

26 March
Mexico beats USA 1-0 at Estadio Azteca in World Cup qualifying. USA is 1-1-1 in the standings, with 4 points, and is tied for 2nd with El Salvador. Mexico has a record of 3-0-0 with 9 points.

29 March
(Home) Honolulu Islands 2-2 Northern Nevada Aces (Gold Coast Div 2)
The first league home game for us! Castillo, in for Welsh, who had a slight injury, scores early on in the 4th, but Northern Nevada pulls one back in the 36th. Things get worse when the Aces score in the 90th, but we salvage something in stoppage time when Leiweke heads one in off a corner. We started GK Eric Wright in place of Jorge Avilez, as the coaches now believe he is better.

Board Confidence
Theyíre satisfied so far. The positive is the locker room atmosphere, but the negative is the loss to San Jose.

Monthly Training Review
Backup DC Aaron Connor improved in fitness.

2nd April (Tuesday)
(Away) Yakima Reds (12th) 0-1 Honolulu Islanders (16th) (Gold Coast Div 2)
The first of two away league games in four days in the cold Rocky Mountains. It was zero degrees Celsius and windy at kickoff. No problem for a bunch of boys from the Islands, right? (O.K., so Yakima is not exactly in the Rockies. Sue me.) Grimmís first half stoppage time goal was all we needed to get our first league win. I like how we had 59% of possession. The back line was much improved as well, with Leiweke and Kamatuka having good games.

5th April (Friday)
(Away) Colorado Rush (20th) 1-1 Honolulu Islanders (10th) (Gold Coast Div 2)
After a pretty boring first half at the small, windswept stadium at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado, the Rush open the scoring in the 61st minute, but we answer six minutes later as Sebastian Wooten equalizes. Not bad for a formerly greyed-out player. Wooten and AML Luis Roberto Canales were our best players, but DC Brett Leathers had a game to forget.

Standings on April 9th:
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