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Old 04-09-2020, 03:02 PM   #1
Greyfriars Bobby
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
An American Adventure (FM 16)

Hello, everyone. First of all, I hope you and those you love are healthy and safe.

This afternoon, I found myself in the mood for a new Football Manager experience, perhaps something I've never tried before. I've tended to avoid managing in the United States because, even though my wife, my kids, and I all enjoy watching MLS, it's just too much different from the rest of the football world. For example, I need a refresher course on MLS's roster rules at the beginning of every season, and I like the idea of promotion and relegation.

I decided to look for a "fantasy" database that would allow me to manage in an American football system that looked more like what I'm used to seeing in the rest of the world. I found one that might be a lot of fun.

A user called "Milo Bloom" created a database for Football Manager 16 that includes a fictional American football pyramid with nine levels. I counted 342 playable clubs, with another 300 clubs in a non-playable lower level from which teams could be promoted. Each of the clubs has a kit, a stadium, and a RESERVE stadium. The amount of work "Milo" has put into his creation is simply astounding.

"Milo" recommends loading lots of players into the database, so there are enough for teams to have full squads. My kids, who are taking quite a bit of interest in this project, suggested I add some players from Europe to make things more interesting. I thought that sounded fun, so we'll see some English, Dutch, and German players in our story. My 10-year-old daughter Beth hopes at least a few Liechtensteiners and Luxembourgers make it over, since she persuaded me to add footballers with those nationalities to the player pool.

"Milo" also suggests letting the game sim a few seasons at the start, so things begin to settle out some. I'm in the process of letting it do that now. I'm not sure I have the patience to wait that long, however.

Right now, I have no idea where I'll begin my managerial career. I'm inclined to start in a city with which I have some kind of personal connection. I also think I'd like to begin fairly well down the pyramid, rather than at a big club. Once I'm through simming, I'll be back to reveal my first managerial destination.

I hope my American Adventure will provide all of us with some amusement during these stressful times.

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Old 04-09-2020, 06:09 PM   #2
Greyfriars Bobby
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
28 June 2016

I decided I didn't want to wait four or five years to get going, so after one year of simming, I started looking for jobs.

One or two of the clubs I thought I might want to manage were relegated out of the lowest playable leagues, so those options were taken off the table automatically. That left me with a list of six possible destinations, so I decided to apply for each of them.

I was invited to interview for two positions, and a few days later, I received a job offer from...



I noticed that lots of the clubs in this "universe" wear colors that are associated with a local university or another professional sports team. The navy and orange kit Charlottesville wear are obviously inspired by the University of Virginia's colors. Dallas wear blue and silver, and Ann Arbor turn out in navy and gold.



Klöckner Stadium is the "real" UVA soccer facility, too.

Founders fired their manager after a mediocre 2015/16 season, which saw them place sixth in the nine-team United States Soccer Mid-Atlantic Premier League. Their 10-11-11 record and -2 goal differential are very meh, and that's what the team was last year: meh.

I took a look at the Founders' roster, and I definitely want to make some upgrades. The board is giving me a $3125/week wage budget, and the current squad is being paid about $1200/week. I don't have a transfer budget, but it looks like I'll be able to bring some players in on free transfers.

I'll be back after the pre-season with a look at how the team is shaping up.
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Old 04-09-2020, 08:53 PM   #3
Greyfriars Bobby
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
30 July 2016

As the first matchday in the 2016/17 USS Mid-Atlantic Premier League programme approaches, it's time to look at the squad I've been able to assemble.

My assistant manager, Adam Whitehead, provides the star ratings. For our level, Adam isn't too bad at evaluating talent (6 for Judging Player Ability, 7 for Judging Player Potential).

Goalkeepers


Both our 'keepers are young and very, very raw. Cerda is a slightly better shot stopper, while Vaughan understands the game better. I'm looking for an upgrade here, but he's not easy to find.


Full Backs


When I arrived at the club, there wasn't a right or left back in the senior team. My first priority was finding some.

Greene played for Silver Spring in Patriot League One (a level higher than we are) last year, but he was released at the end of the season. He's quite good for our level. Moose, whom I picked up from Wake Forest after they were relegated to the lower leagues, is a hard-working player whose long flat throw will be a fun weapon to have on set pieces.

If any full backs at our level can push forward and join the attack effectively, Greene and Moose can. What this means is that their attributes for Crossing and Dribbling are higher than 1.

Tiny Cross and diligent Benítez are the backups. Martínez is a much, much better center back, so you'll meet him in a moment.


Center Backs


Martínez is tough and plays with an attitude, as evidenced by the 10 yellow cards he was shown last season. He'll start at center half, paired with the promising Poll. Ideally, I'd like to find a more polished player here, one who's comfortable enough on the ball to play it out from the back. I'm not holding my breath.

Rodgers and O'Sullivan struggled to keep up in limited duty last year, but Andy looked decent during our preseason friendlies.


Central Midfielders


I want to play with a defensive midfielder shielding my back four, and we had nobody in the team who had ever played that position. I lured Webster away from Lynchburg with the promise of more playing time. A natural leader with a high degree of professionalism, he'd be our captain if he weren't 15 years old. Kim, a former Morgantown man, has many of the same qualities, but not to quite as high a level.

I really like our central midfield pair. Acosta is very athletic and diligent; his mental game needs work, but he's 17 years old. Callahan is the more creative player, as evidenced by his four goals and 11 assists last season. Wood and Gomez provide depth.


Wide Midfielders


Flores is fairly quick and flashy. He'll start on the left wing, and I've awarded him the captain's arm band. Mathers and Harvey have battled throughout the preseason for the other wide midfield spot. Dan is a tricky dribbler, while Jim has a better nose for goal. My assistant is very high on Mathers' potential.

Again, we have two young reserves here, Jones and Parker.


Center Forwards


Schrader is clearly the man. He scored 10 goals for Founders last season, and knocked in four more in five preseason appearances. He's as good in the air as you'd expect a 6'6" striker to be, and he's also surprisingly deft with his feet.

I like Wong, too. He's got a great attitude, a deft touch on the ball, and the ability to finish. He has lots of promise.


Final Thoughts
I was able to solve the team's biggest problem during July: the absolute lack of wide defenders. Finding a pair of DMs was also a plus. I like the fact that this database is set up in such a way I can't bring in players from all over the Country. Realistically, nobody would move from Kansas to Virginia to play football for $120 a game, and players don't do it in my football world, either.

I have had to open up the coffers to keep a few of the Founders from leaving for nearby clubs, though. I gave Schrader and Callahan big raises to keep them in Charlottesville. Fortunately, I was able to do so. And, I still have more money to spend if I find players I'd like to hire.



Chapel Hill Rams were relegated from Patriot League One last year, and the oddsmakers have tipped them to go right back up again. Charleston Timbers, another relegated club, and last year's runners up, Wilmington Iron Pigs, also look better than the rest of the teams in our division. Meanwhile, we're picked to battle against relegation with Dundalk Conestogas, Bristol Speed, and Rocky Mount Rapids. All those clubs were promoted from the lower leagues. Frederick County Hessians and Go Ahead Dover return for another season in the Mid-Atlantic Premier.



Fortunately, our board aren't expecting me to do anything more than avoid the drop, while we win a cup match here and there.
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Old 04-09-2020, 11:27 PM   #4
Greyfriars Bobby
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Before we begin the season, I want to give you an overview of the United States football league system in my "universe."

There are eleven levels of football in the USA. The top ten levels are playable.



When I saw the American Premier League had a 4.5 star reputation, I decided to see how it compared to the other top leagues in the world.



Whoa. The top American league is the best football league on the planet!!

Naturally, if the APL is the world's best league, it must be home to some of the world's best clubs...



What we have here is a world in which association football has seemingly replaced American, gridiron football as the dominant football code in the United States.

Where does the USS Mid-Atlantic Premier League rank?

The league in which Founders play is one of the USS Regional Premier Leagues, at step 9 on the American system. These leagues are comparable to the Regional First Divisions in England, which are the eighth level of the English system. Other leagues with similar reputations are the Dutch Hoofdklasse (Level 4), and the Spanish Third Division (Level 4).

It's clearly fantastic, but it's going to be fun to see how this turns out!
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:53 AM   #5
Chas in Cinti
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Following...
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Old 04-18-2020, 01:39 PM   #6
Greyfriars Bobby
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas in Cinti View Post
Following...

Thanks, Chas. I've pressed rewind on this dynasty, as I'll describe in my next post. It's the same scenario, but one thing is different, and that difference might make it more interesting for all of us.
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Old 04-18-2020, 02:58 PM   #7
Greyfriars Bobby
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 August 2015

No, that date isn't a typo. I've restarted this football world, and I've turned the calendar back a year.

I realized as we went along that I had, without really thinking about it, populated the world with fake players. My kids and I decided it would be more fun to see some familiar characters in our story, so I started a new save with real players instead. I'm managing Charlottesville Founders again, so the basic outline of the story remains the same. Top flight American clubs are once again among the world's biggest.

It will be a LONG time before Charlottesville will encounter any well-known, real players, as squad members or opponents. Still, it will be fun to see if any of the stars of world football decide to make their way to America.

So, since the Mid-Atlantic Premier League season is about to begin, let's meet the new, 2015/16 Founders.

Their star ratings come to us from my assistant manager, Steven Thompson. He has a good eye for talent, given the level at which we play.

Goalkeepers


I like our first choice 'keeper, Ramírez. I doubt there is a true sweeper keeper in our league, but his first touch isn't as clumsy as most, and he has a 2 for his Passing attribute, rather than 1. I like playing with a sweeper keeper, so we'll see how Felipe does. He is good at basic goalkeeper things, too.

Freeman probably won't play much unless an emergency arises.


Full Backs


When I arrived, Perry was the only right back in the senior team. He works hard and can put in a decent cross, so he's not uncomfortable pushing up the pitch when we have the ball. Morales, who has a very similar skill set, will start on the left side of our defense.

My head (only) scout, Beau Lasso, told me about Goodman, a determined youngster who can play all across the back line. He was looking for a club, so we picked him up. My staff think he'll turn into quite a player one day.

Flatley is included here because he can play left back, but he's our best center back. I'll talk about him in a minute.


Center Backs


Flatley is an imposing presence in the center of our defense. He's far from a lumbering hulk, however; he is comfortable on the ball, a necessary quality for the possession-based style I like to play. His professional attitude makes him a fine teammate.

I can use Duffy here, but his skills make him just as good farther up the pitch, and I need him more there. So, that means Murphy gets a shot at center half. He's surprisingly good in the air for a player his size, so I'm assuming he's quite a leaper.

Frost and Goodman, both of whom have lots of promise, give us depth here. Frost's marking and tackling skills are superb for this level, but he'd have a tough time beating the cones on the training pitch for pace.


Central Midfielders


O'Neal will play the holding role in front of the defense. I wish he were a bit more technically sound, but otherwise, he'll be fine. He is one of our team's most important leaders, too. I'll make sure teenager Battle gets some playing time.

Duffy is the best player in the side, a cultured player who is comfortable as our primary creator or as an all-action midfield boss. I can pair him with Mullen or Kamara, depending on whether I want a general-purpose player or a flair player, respectively. They will both have a chance to do what they do well.

I'll need to reach down to the reserves or the U18s if I need more depth here.


Wide Midfielders


Banks, who captains the side, is a pacey winger who can find the net. He'll play on the left, with Carroll, not quite as quick but a more dangerous scorer, on the right.

Coleman and Houghton, who will be stars for the reserve team, will also provide cover for the first team.


Center Forwards


Papoulias will lead the line. He is quick enough to outrun all but the quickest defenders, and he knows where the goal is. Dusty is also a very dangerous set piece man, especially deadly on free kicks.

Eaton and Fuentes are nondescript, functional backup strikers. Nothing more, nothing less.


Final Thoughts
Best-case scenario:
  • Ramírez, Flatley, and Duffy give our team a spine no side in our league can match.
  • Duffy lives up to his preseason media hype, and is indeed the league's best player.
  • Wide men Banks and Carroll combine for 15 goals and 15 assists.
  • Papoulias turns into a goal-every-two-games scorer.
  • We make decent runs in the cups and, at season's end, Captain Banks lifts the league trophy.

Worst-case scenario:
  • Injuries force me to depend on lots of wobbly teenagers, who are overmatched at the senior level.
  • None of our front three can reliably find the goal, and we lose 0-1 matches with dismaying regularity.
  • My attempts to bring in reinforcements are unsuccessful, and with the team languishing near the bottom of the table, I'm sacked in January.



The teams in second through fifth places qualify for the Promotion Playoff, so basically, I'm tasked with keeping the team in the top half of the table. That's why the worst-case scenario featured me getting the sack, if I can't manage to deliver on that promise.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 04-18-2020 at 03:02 PM.
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