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[FM20] The Lion of Leon


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Cultural y Deportiva Leonea, a very long name for a club with a very long and colorful history in Spanish football.  The club was formed back in 1923 in the town of northwestern Spanish town of Leon.  The club has spent most of its history in the 2nd, 3rd and even 4th tiers of Spanish football.  The town even tried to shut the club down in the 1930's thanks to the Spanish Civil War but the club survived.  The club had a brief appearance in the 2nd tier which allowed the club to form an alliance with Leeds United.  Leonesa has Qatari ownership through the ASPIRE Academy which allows the club to import top talent from both Qatar and from the ASPIRE Academy in Senegal.  After spending years reading @_Ben_ youth development work, this save will be focused on youth development as well since the club, at present, has good facilities for 3rd tier Spanish side (average overall).  Here's the goals of this save:

  • Get Leonesa into La Liga
  • Develop my own talent - first to sell as a way to improve facilities and then to use academy to push into the higher divisions
  • Use my American manager and import American talent to supplement the academy produced talent
  • Become the "go-to academy" in Spain 

One of the ways that I will be keeping tabs on my youth talent is creating a "Top Ten Prospects" list every July 1st and January 1st.  The only criteria for this list is the player must be 19 years old or younger at the start of the season (July 1st).

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The toughest part of this save is will meeting the board's goal of getting into LaLiga 2 in just two seasons while developing the young talent at the club.

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Top Ten Leonesa Prospects (July 1, 2019)

10) Jairo - Right back (19 years old - Leonesa B) - 6'0" 167 lbs.

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Jairo should be a rotational right-back with our B team for the 2019-20 season.  A tall wing-back who ticks a lot of boxes for what I looking for in a Leonesa player.  He's quick.  He makes good decisions with the ball.  He passes the ball well.  He tackles well.  His only glaring weaknesses are his positioning and crossing.  He should be good enough for a rotational role with the first-team in a couple of years.

9) Willy Ibanez - Center midfielder (19 years old - Leonesa B) - 6'0" 158 lbs.

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Ibanez is just a couple tools away from being a complete central midfielder.  He's determined with a good work-rate.  He can pass the ball really well for a 19-year old.  He is able to mark his opposite number but lacks the tackling to take the ball from him.  What does he lack?  He has trouble reading play and what could happen next.  He is not composed when he has the ball under pressure which could lead to poor passes straight to the opposition or freezing up altogether.  Another player who should have a rotational role in a couple of seasons.

8) Juan Rodriguez - Right back (18 years old - Leonesa B) - 5'6" 130 lbs.

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Rodriguez has some key differences which put him slightly ahead of Jairo at the right-back position for the B team.  He's faster and is a better decision-maker on and off the ball.  However, his passing a weaker than Jairo's and he is six inches shorter than him as well.  He should grade out to be a good lower level right back with his pace and decision making but his lack of height will hold him back against higher level competition.  Still good enough to be a rotational option with the first team in a couple of seasons.  Hopefully, he will grow some too.  :)

7) Marcos - Center back (17 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 6'4" 171 lbs.

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Marcos is a big and physical center back checking in a 6 feet 4 inches and 171 pounds.  You can see that he wants to be a brute in muscling the opposition off the ball.  He's not going to be a distributor of the ball from the back.  He's going to beat up the opposition.  He's a smart defender who marks well and typically makes the right decision.  He needs some time to work on the mental side of his game so it will be a few years before we see him with the first team.

6) Nezar S'Rifi Center Midfielder (18 years - Leonesa B) - 5'10" 141 lb.

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S'Rifi is a Belgian central midfielder who can run for days and usually toward the opposition's goal.  Can't tackle worth a hill of beans but that won't be his job.  His job will be to attack the opposing goal.  He can cut open the defense with a pass.  He can dribble by them.  He can unleash a shot from deep in the midfield.  A very good central midfielder with a very bright future with Leonesa.

5) Juan Pino - Center Midfielder (17 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 5'9" 145 lb.

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Who will be that link between S'Rifi and the defense in terms of getting S'Rifi the ball?  Juan Pino.  Pino is not a flashy midfielder but he does all the dirty work that a midfielder needs to do to link play.  Pino still has a lot of developing but he has a high ceiling.  It will be a few years but we should see him with the first team.

4) Roberto Fernandez - Left back (19 years old - Leonesa (on loan at Bolivar) - 5'10" 148 lbs.

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Fernandez is spending the season with Bolivar in South America plying his trade as an attacking left-back.  To this point on the list, he's the most complete player.  He still needs some grooming put the season in South America should allow him to blossom.  Leonesa will reap the benefits when he returns for the 2020-21 season as our starting left-back.

3) Javier Alvarez - Center forward (19 years old - Leonesa B) - 5'10" 163 lbs.

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Alvarez is a technical and physical center forward but as a ten-cent head which is why he is only the #2 ranked center forward on this list.  Does not want to put the work in to help link the midfield with the attack to help the team as a whole.  Needs to become a more well-rounded center forward.  All that said, he should pop up with the first team in the next year or two.

2) Rodri - Center back (15 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 5'11" 136 lbs.

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Rodri is a gem in the making.  The youngest player on the list at just 15 years old.  Already an elite header of the ball and has great potential awareness.  Still needs some time to have his body "fill out" and get stronger.  Has all the mental and technical skills needed for a first team center back but just needs his body to mature.

1) Moha - Center forward (18 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 6'1" 169 lbs.

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Moha is the top prospect for Leonesa for the 2019-20 season.  He hits all of the criteria for the top prospect.  He's a more developed prospect (compared to Rodri who still needs to grow physically).  He is ready to step into the first team in the very near future while having a high ceiling.

The club currently has five players in the first team who are loans from other clubs.  These loans will be cancelled so I can give players from the club the chance to get some first team minutes.  Here's those loan players and their projected replacement.

CB Angel Moreno - #2 prospect Rodri

CM Alfonso Martin - #5 prospect Juan Pino

RF Gabriel Gudino - unranked Christian

AM Augusto - #6 prospect Nezar S'Rifi

CF Sergio Benifo - #1 prospect Moha

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September 2019 Recap

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The good news from the month of September: our defense was rock solid with just two goals allowed in eight matches.  The bad news: our offense was as impotent as a 60-year old whose Viagra prescription can't get refilled.  Just six goals in eight matches.  It's this lack of offense that has us down in 6th place.  We had an injury crisis to start the month with all three of our starting midfielders out due to injury.  Two of them have returned but the loss of all three really held our offensive back this month.

Record Breaker

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Nothing speaks to youth development than setting the record for the youngest-ever player in the league during the first month of the save.

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October 2019 Review

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An absolutely great month.  Six wins, zero draws, zero losses.  Just two goals allowed for the entire month.  15 goals scored in the six matches.  This is a huge improvement from our six goals in eight months during September. I've bounced between using a 4-1-2-2-1 formation and 4-3-2-1 formation.  Ideally, I'd like to use the 4-1-2-2-1 formation but with the injuries still lingering I've needed to go with the 4-3-2-1 formation which plays into the current squad's strengths.  

I've got a new laptop so I can watch the games now in 3D and not the 2D match screen though the 2D screen does have it's benefits like seeing the team's overall shape.  But overall, the game is moving a lot quicker which I approve of since I'm stuck under "stay-at-home" orders until June 15th at the earliest.  

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November 2019 

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Another undefeated and untied month sees Leon close the gap of Bilbao Athletic to just one point.  We were a bit more "grindy" with the wins this month.  A lot of 2-1 and 1-0 games.  We needed a stoppage time goal to put away Pontevedra in the semifinals of the Copa Federation which is a cup competition for teams that did not qualify for the Copa del Ray.  A whopping 90k goes to the winner.  I'm liking what I'm seeing on the field.  The only negative is the center forward is getting a lot of his shots blocked.  Not sure if it's because he has poor technique, a weak foot, slow decision making.  It could be a variety of problems which will rectified in the coming seasons.

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The Copa Federation final takes place in December.  It's a quick competition.  Only five rounds.

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The media are quite impressed with my defensive abilities.

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December 2019 Review

Copa Federation Final

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An early first half goal was enough for Leonesa to lift their first piece of silverware with Brooks in charge.

Copa del Rey

 I thought by playing in the Copa Federation meant that we would not be playing in the Copa del Rey for the 2019-20 season.  For some reason, that was not the case and we were entered into the first round of the competition where we were drawn against Segunda Division side Sporting Gijon.

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Our defense was difficult for them to breakdown but our offense couldn't find the net either and the match went to penalties.  It even went to "bonus penalty kicks."  Our young centerback, Rodri, scored in the 8th round.  Gijon missed and we had advanced to the 2nd round.

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LaLiga side Villareal will be visiting us on January 12, 2020.

League Play

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The extra cup matches caused a blip in our league form.  Our defense is still solid but our offense started to slip again as we were more interested in passing the ball around the outside of the defense but not make the defense-splitting pass to give us a chance to score.  We are still in the promotion playoff positions just four points behind Bilbao Athletic and only three points ahead of 5th place.  These six teams are the only teams that are in contention for the playoff places.

Stats

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Youth Intake

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Not a golden generation like I was hoping for but it looks like we should have a few good players coming through.  The wingers and wing backs look like they could be bright spots of the intake.  The Qatari goalkeeper could be interesting as well.  @_Ben_

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January 2020 Review

Copa Del Rey

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The defense played a massive role in denying the Villarreal offense access to the Leonesa goal for 120 minutes.  We were lucky enough to find the goal in extra time to prevent the game from going to penalty kick lottery.

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We were drawn up against on the heavyweights in the third round and they did the professional job as expected.  They scored an early goal which demoralized us and then added three more just to make sure we couldn't mount a comeback.

League Play

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The success in the Copa del Rey has dragged down our league form.  This is the worst month that I've had since I took over the cup.  No league wins but also no league losses.  Just three mind numbing ties and only one goal scored in those three matches as our forwards seem to have forgotten where the goal is.  They can find the 12th row of the stands or 15 feet wide of the goal or just miss on the short side or kick it right at the goalkeeper.  Hopefully, now that the fixture congestion has eased due to the lack of cup games, we can start to find the back of the net again.  The three draws have seen us slide from 2nd to 4th place.  It's still a six-team race for the four playoff spots though Bilbao Athletic is starting to pull away from the pack.

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4 hours ago, quee said:

Will be following! Interesting read so far! :D

Thanks, I've got a big update coming in the AM (I'm on the US East Coast) and I've taken my first group of youth candidates.

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February-March 2020 Update

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Our league form has improved since January but it has not been great.  We've settled into a win at home, lose or draw on the road pattern.  It has been enough to consolidate 4th place but that's about it.  Bilbao Athletic has pulled away from the pack and seem destined to win the title.  We are slowly pulling away from Barakaldo for the last playoff place.

2020 Youth Intake

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The announcement led me to believe that it was not going to be a great intake.  An intake that I could build the core of a team around.

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We have a very multi-national but uninspiring intake.  We pulled two players away from the ASPIRE Academy in Qatar and one player away from the ASPIRE Academy in Senegal.  We also brought in an Englishman (presumably because of our affiliation with Leeds United) and a player from the Central African Republic.  I know the Qatari and Senegalese players are from the respective academies because they join us as 18 years instead of 16 or 17 years like the rest of the intake.   Based on star ratings, it's not a great class but what do the players look like when I look at their Team DNA?

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First: what do the colors mean?

1) In the personality column, blue boxes represent good personalities.  Red boxes represent bad personalities.

2) The first set of numbers represent the Team DNA.  Anticipation - how well they can read the play.  Composure - how well they can handle the game situations with and without ball.  Concentration - can they stay focused for all 90 minutes.  Decisions - how well can they make the correct decision.  Determination - how willing are they to put in the work on and off the field to get better and help the team win.  Red boxes = rating of 1-5, Yellow boxes = rating of 6-10, Green boxes = rating of 11-15, Blue boxes = 16-20

3) The second set of numbers is just their technical, mental and physical attributes added together.

4) The third set of numbers is their positional DNA using a modified version of @_Ben_ formula.  I'm only using 10 categories compared to 11 for Ben.  But the math is basically the same, (attributes added together)/20*10.  Highest possible rating is 100.  Red Boxes = 1-20, Orange Boxes= 21-30, Yellow Boxes = 31-40, Light Green Boxes = 41-50, Dark Green Boxes = 51-60, Light Blue Boxes = 61-80, Dark Blue Boxes = 81-100

Looking at all the boxes, the personalities from this intake are poor.  Many red boxes compared to just three blue boxes.  The core DNA appears to be below average with a lot of yellow boxes sprinkled in with some red.  Very few green boxes.  The positional DNA is similar to the core DNA.  Lots of orange and yellow boxes and very few light green boxes with only two dark green boxes.  Hopefully over time, the core DNA will turn green and the positional DNA will turn green with the occasional blue.

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Al-Thani is the top-ranked player from the intake.  He has the potential to step into the senior team right away in a back-up/reserve role.  That time could boost his rep up to where he is selected to the Qatar U19 team.  Not a great player but definitely a useful player.

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Ali is the second player to join us from the ASPIRE Academy.  He's going to need some time to develop which means some loan moves since our B team doesn't play meaningful matches or any friendlies for that matter.  So, he has one year with the U19s before his playing time would drop a lot unless I brought him into the first team which is just not ready for at the moment.

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Diallo is a very raw winger from the ASPIRE Academy in Senegal.  He's more raw than even Ali.  He's definitely not a first choice winger should he reach the senior team because could see a spot start or time off the bench.

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Kanoute is the highest-rated Spaniard from the intake.  He has some potential given his core and positional DNA attributes are pretty far along.  Don't know how much room for growth he actually has.  Will spend a couple of seasons with the U19 team before a decision has to be made on the next step of his development.

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End of Season Update

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We finished 3rd in the league after we recaptured some of our form that was lost in January and early February.  Looking at all the categories, 3rd place is about where we should have finished.  We were tied for 2nd with 21 wins, had the 3rd fewest losses with five and had the third best goal difference at +29.  Real Sociedad and Alaves will see their B sides get relegated to the fourth tier.  

The Segunda Division B playoffs have a unique format.  The four group champions go into their own four-team playoff.  The two winners get promoted to the Segunda Division.  The two losers enter the non-champions promotion playoff in the second round.  The non-champions playoff have the four 2nd place teams play the four 4th place teams in the first round while the four 3rd place teams play each other the first round.  The six winners are joined by the two group champions playoff losers in the 2nd round and it is a blind draw from that point with two teams qualifying from this playoff format as well.

We were drawn up against Cartagena in the first round and dispatch them with 6-0 win in the two-legged tie.  We beat them 3-0 at their place to open the tie and then 3-0 again at ours.  In the 2nd round, we avoided the two group champion losers in the draw and drew another 3rd place finisher in Ferrol.  Ferrol made things difficult for us at our place and grabbed a 1-0 smash and grab win.  They were tough to break down at their place.  We switched our formation to a 4-2-3-1 at halftime and found the two goals that we needed to advance to the final round of the playoffs.  The two group champion losers, Castilla and Bilbao Athletic, were defeated in the second round.  We got paired with 2nd place Salamanca in the final round.  We played the first leg at home and defeated them 2-1.  The fans decided not to show up for the away tie and we took advantage.  An early goal gave us a 1-0 lead followed by a penalty kick goal in the second half for security saw us take a 4-1 aggregate victory and earn promotion to the Segunda Division for the 2020-21 season.

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The board viewed our promotion as ahead of schedule.

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 Stats

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It took us some time but we found an attacking trio with Aridane (33 - 11 goals) in the middle, Julian Luque (28 - 16 goals) on the right, and Dioni (30 - 15 goals) on the left.  This was lucky accident as I needed to find someone to replace Andy Kawaya, who went down for the season with a hip injury.  Kawaya wasn't the best goalscorer but provided lots of service on the left-hand side with 12 assists which ranked second on the team behind Luque's 13 assists and Luque had a full season compared to Kawaya's 3/4 of a season.  The other player who proved himself especially during our playoff was Carlos Uhia.  He fell out of favor in the middle of the season but again because of injuries I had to reinsert him into the lineup.  He produces and sparks the offense.  He had seven assists during his limited time on the field and led the team with 0.62 assists per 90 which is more than double the rate than the next player on the team.  The defense is solid but can use some improving on the wings.  The middle is solid especially if I can sign Rodri to a new contract once we get promoted.  I'd like to keep him around and playing first team matches instead of selling him to a larger side who will put in the B team or even worse the U19 team.

U19 Coaching Staff

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Now that I have a U19 team with players that I want to develop.  I brought in a coaching staff to develop these players as well develop them as coaches.  It's a good mix of personalities which will only help the players grown.  As you can see, my American English keyboard struggles with the Spanish accents.

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Top 10 Youth Prospects (as of July 1, 2020)

It's time to see who the Top 10 Youth Prospects are at Leonesa as we head into the 2020-21 season.  Remember, a prospect is defined as 19 years of age or younger on July 1st.

10) Hussain Ali - Left Back (18 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 6'3" 176 lbs. (Last year - unranked)

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Ali was part of the 2020 youth intake and joins the top 10 ranking in the last slot at #10.  Ali was one of two players who joined us from the ASPIRE Academy in Qatar.  He is part of a crowded left-back position at Leonesa as he sits 4th on the current club-wide depth chart.  He will spend some time in the youth team before getting promoted into the B team or loaned out to a lower division club in order to gain match experience.

9) Fousseiny Kanoute - Center Midfielder (16 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 5'8" 134 lbs (Last year - unranked)

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Kanoute is the highest ranked Spaniard for the 2020 youth intake and enters the youth prospect rankings at ninth slot.  On face value having a central midfielder in the top 10 rankings is a good thing.  But Kanoute is the 3rd highest ranked midfielder in the top 10 list.  As a 16-year old, he's got time to develop in the U19 team before he has to move on to the B and first team.  He's a good project to have in the team.

8) Edgar Montes - Attacking Midfielder (16 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 5'9" 134 lbs (Last year - unranked)

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The 2020 youth intake continues to dominate the bottom half of the rankings.  Montes is an attacking midfielder who will be converted into a False Nine/Deep Lying Forward in order to find a better fit into our 4-1-2-2-1 formation.  Montes is a very smart player who should have some room to grow and get playing time as forward since the forwards in the 2020 youth intake were not the greatest.

7) Jack Potter - Right Forward (16 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 5'9" 134 lbs (Last year - unranked)

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Potter is the second to last entry from the 2020 Class on the top 10 list.  Potter can play both wing forward positions though he is more effective on the right side.  Wing forward is a position of strength within the first time so Potter will get plenty of time to develop with the U19s and B teams before getting called up to the first team.

6) Nezar S'Rifi Central Midfielder (19 years old - Leonesa) 5'10" 141 lbs (Last year - 6th)

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S'Rifi spent the entire 2019-20 season with the first team playing both as a sub and a starter.  Could see similar playing time for the 2020-21 season.  This will be his last year in the rankings.

2019-20 Season Stats: 28 appearances (16 starts) 0 goals 1 assists; 94% pass completion; 30 key passes; 6.82 rating

5) Juan Rodriguez - Right Back (19 years old - Leonesa B) 5'7" 132 lbs (Last Year - 8th +3)

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Rodriguez spent the entire 2019-20 season with the B team playing in "invisible matches."  I call his matches invisible because he has matches that show up in the stats but the B team did not have any fixtures listed.  I can only assume that the B team is in some lower division that is unseen.  Rodriguez could make the first team in the 2020-21 season is a backup role to get groomed for the starting role in the 2021-22 season.

4) Juan Pino - Center Midfielder (18 years old - Leonesa) 5'9" 149 lbs (Last Year - 5th +1)

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Pino moves up one spot in the 2020-21 rankings from his 2019-20 rankings.  He spent the entire 2019-20 season with the first team mainly as a starter in the "water carrier" role in the midfielder.  His job was to link the defensive midfielder with the attack-minded midfielder and forwards.  He did a great job in this role and hopefully he is right to make the jump to LaLiga 2 division play.

2019-20 Stats: 35 appearances (31 starts) 1 goal 0 assists; 90% pass completion rate; 40 key passes; 6.86 average rating

3) Mohammed Saqr Al-Thani - Goalkeeper (18 years old - Leonesa U19s) 6'3" 171 lbs (Last year - unranked)

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Saqr Al-Thani is the fifth and final member of the 2020 Youth Intake to make this year's top 10 list.  Saqr Al-Thani, like Hussain Ali, joined us from the ASPIRE Academy in Qatar.  Could join the first team as the #3 goalkeeper once he ages out of the U19 team since he joined us at such an advanced age (18 years old compared to the typical 16/17 years old).  The upside is he's more of a finished product but the downside that finished product isn't the greatest in terms of quality.

2) Moha - Center Forward (19 years old - Leonesa) 6'2" 171 lbs (Last Year - 1st -1)

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Moha slides down one spot from last year's rankings and that is a sole product of his lack of production with the first team last season.  He got plenty of playing time.  He got plenty of shots on target.  He just can't find the net.  As a center forward, that's what you get paid to do.  Maybe that could change as he ages and figures out the game.  He's got a lot to live up to as the #2 prospect in the system.  It's time to earn that ranking.

2019-20 Stats: 22 appearance (10 starts) 1 goal 0 assists; 60% shots on target; 6.62 average rating

1) Rodri - Centerback (16 years old - Leonesa) - 5'11" 143 lbs. (Last year - 2nd +1)

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Rodri jumped from #2 to #1 on the back of a stellar 2019-20 campaign as one of the starting centerbacks with the first team especially as the season went on.  He is a very smart player and a fast player who can make up ground on a forward if they get by him.  He can also find the net too.  He scored more goals, last season, than #2 prospect Moha.  Lots of big name clubs have come sniffing around for his services.  The question will be "how long can I keep him at Leonesa?"

2019-20 Stats: 34 appearances (31 starts) 2 goals 0 assists; 83% pass completion rate; 95% tackles won; 1 key tackle; 6.92 average rating 

 

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SUMMER 2020 REVIEW

Leonesa had an active summer in the transfer market.  The goal of the save is to bring players through the academy but the earlier than expected jump to LaLiga2 changed those plans in the shorter term as we need better players to ensure safety in the higher division.  Hopefully, a prolonged period of time in LaLiga2 will allow the bank balance to rise and allow me to improve the academy which will bring better players through the academy.

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The biggest piece of business was signing Rodri to a contract extension.  His contract was slated to end of the season so this became priority #1.  A bump in salary offset by a bump in the minimum release clause.  I fully expect that Rodri will be sold before his contract expires in 2023.

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Two players were sold which brought in about 500k in transfer revenue while three players were shipped out on loan.  Those three players are players who are caught in limbo.  Not good enough for the first team but have too much first team experience to get sent down and play with the B team.  Six new faces were brought to reinforce some weak spots in the lineup.

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Alfie Jones is the kind of defensive midfielder that I'm looking for that best fits our formation.  He is primary function is to be the distributor from the back.  His secondary job is to break up attacks from his deep lying position in the midfield three.  Jones can handle both of those jobs and is a big upgrade over Antonio, who played the position last season before he went down with a hip injury.

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Alvaro Figalgo is the first of three players who joins us from Castilla in Madrid.  Figalgo is a more attack-minded midfielder than Jones.  He is an upgrade over both players, Carlos Uhia and Samuel Marcos, I had in the position last year and as a result those players slide down the depth chart while Figalgo moves into the starting advanced playmaker position.  Marcos, at times, can slide over the water-carrier midfielder role while Uhia becomes strictly a backup.

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Angelo Gabrielli is our first player from the Americas on the team under my watch coming from Newell's in Argentina.  Plays mainly the right back position but can fill in on the left if needed.  Right back was a big need as our first choice right back, Aitor Fernandez, is 34 years old and is starting to show his age.  Gabrielli moves right into the starting lineup.  He should provide both offense and defense from that position which is what I'm looking for out of my wingbacks.

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Dario Poveda comes from the Atletico side of Madrid while bringing youth to our aging attack.  Poveda will jump to the head of the line when comes to the center forward position.  Adriane will start the training process to become a center midfielder in hopes of extending his career.  Dioni now becomes the first sub off the bench at both the center forward and left forward position.  The Poveda signing provides us with a lot of flexibility in our attack.

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A player with a mouthful of a name, Fran Feuillassier, joins from Castilla as well.  This left winger is a big upgrade over the current starter, Andy Kawaya, who also missed the last quarter of the season with a hip injury.  Feuillassier can also player on the right side again giving us flexibility in attack.  

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One more player from Real Madrid joins us in the form of Javi Hernandez, a left-back who can also play inside.  Before the Alfie Jones signing, my plans for Hernandez was to train him to become a defensive midfielder but now he can go back to his more natural position on the left side of the defense.  Left back was a less pressing need than right back so Hernandez will be brought along more slowly than Gabrielli.

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A look at our overall Positional DNA, season preview (Barcelona B is excluded since they can not get promoted), and our friendly schedule (tough early with some pushovers at the end to build confidence).

Coaching Change

I didn't want to make a change for the sake of making a change but I was given the opportunity to make a massive upgrade at Head of Youth Development so I pulled the trigger.

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Improvement in personality (Model Citizen compared to Model Pro), increased in reputation (upgraded from regional to national) and improvement in talent evaluation.  I'm interested in seeing if a Head of Youth Development with a national reputation will bring in better players compared to a Head with a regional reputation.  

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48 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

I had Alfie Jones in my save.He made very good season in Segunda division B but i sold him after our promotion to LaLiga123 due no-EU players restriction.

The non-EU restriction is two players in my save but Jones is counts as an EU player.

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September 2020 Update

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We have gotten off to great start solely based on the scoring ability of August 2020 Player of the Month, Dario Poveda, who has scored all but one goal for us.  Poveda has shown a knack for capitalizing on the defense's mistakes.  Miss a header and the goalkeeper isn't their to collect ball...Poveda puts it away.  Slow to make a decision....Poveda closes you down, takes the ball, and scores.  Plus, he is willing to put in the work to link the midfield and the attack in order to keep the ball and help close out a tight game.  Our defense was tight to start the season though it has become a bit more leaky against Cadiz and Las Palmas.

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October-November 2020 Update

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We had a decent two months which saw us consolidate our position in the upper half of the table.  We are closer to the automatic promotion positions than the relegation battle.  That's the good.  The bad has been Dario Poveda has seen his goalscorinig form dry up.  No one on the team has really picked up his slack.  Moha had a nice one-timer against Logrones which was nice because it was the first match where he had the "tries first-time shots" trait.  Sergio Marcos has been the biggest goalscoring threat out of the midfield.  Out of the nine matches, we were shutout three times and held to one goal four times.  Thankfully, our defense has been solid which has allowed us to post a 2-4-1 record in those seven matches.  Hopefully, Poveda can start to find the back of the net again.

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One of the interesting things about Leonesa is it's partnership with the ASPIRE Academy in Qatar and Senegal.  Mohammed Saqr Al-Thani (I gave him the 20A moniker so I can track which youth class and rank within that class) has received his first call up to the Qatari national team, @_Ben_, and was named the starting goalkeeper for those two matches.  He is rapidly moving up the depth chart.  I have not been impressed with our current back-up, Lucas Giffard.  He has thrown away points by allowing late goals which has turned some potential wins into draws.  Al-Thani might get a game or two with the first team and see if handle the back-up role better than Giffard.

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December 2020 Update

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Just a slog of a month.  Only three goals in four matches and taking to penalty kicks by a part-time non-league team in the First Round of the Copa del Rey.  This has seen us slip to seventh in the table but still in the playoff places because Barcelona B is ineligible for promotion to La Liga since they are B Team.  The good news about the first half of the season is just three losses but the negative is we have won as many games as we have drawn.  I am fairly confident that we do not need to worry about relegation this season since we already 32 points and 42 points earned you safety in the 2019-20 season.  We do have to worry about losing Rodri in the window.  Lots of big name teams have sniffing around for his services.  He has probably played his last full month for Leonesa in December.

The positive about any potential sale is I should finally be able to convince the board that we should upgrade the youth facilities as well as the academy coaching and recruitment.  At present, they continue to say that upgrades can not be afforded due to "our present financial situation" even though we are well in the black.

Youth Intake Preview

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Reading between the lines, the 2021 intake should be an improvement over the 2020 intake.  Last year's intake was described as "not a great group of players."  This year's group is described as "an excellent group of players coming through."  However, it looks like that I won't get a direct internal replacement for Rodri should he get sold in January.  It, also, looks like that our best player will be another non-Spaniard as the HOYD as singled out a Senegalese center forward as a player to watch.  I'm happy to see that our offense should get some upgrades but we need upgrades on the defensive side of the field too but I'll need to wait for those.

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January-February 2021 Update

Rodri Sale

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Everton was the first club to meet Rodri's four million euro release clause.  Rodri had little interested in going to England.  Atletico Madrid followed just a couple days later with a four million euro bid of their own.  Rodri signed with Atletico and I lost my best defender. The upside is I could finally make some improvements to my academy and hopefully churn out more players like Rodri in the future.

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Yup.  Everything is getting upgraded in the next six to twelve months.

January-February 2021 Update

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We were able to survive a couple of matches without Rodri then we hit a terrible stretch of form as we had to juggle, yet again, league matches with Copa Del Rey matches.  I played A- teams in those cup matches and we continued to find a way to win matches 1-0 and extend our cup run.  The downside, our league took a hit.  In February, we looked like an amateur side out there.  Defenders getting caught in possession leading to 1v1 breakaways on the goalkeeper, wide players making ill-advised cross-field passes,  our central midfielders running around like chickens with their heads cut off and not pressing effectively, and forwards doing well....nothing.  Just painful games to watch as we slid to 6th in the table.

First Academy Callup

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Al-Thani becomes the first player from the 2020 youth intake to make his debut at the club as we drew against 16th place Extramadura.

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On 21/05/2020 at 18:54, keeper#1 said:

Reading between the lines, the 2021 intake should be an improvement over the 2020 intake.  Last year's intake was described as "not a great group of players."  This year's group is described as "an excellent group of players coming through."  However, it looks like that I won't get a direct internal replacement for Rodri should he get sold in January.  It, also, looks like that our best player will be another non-Spaniard as the HOYD as singled out a Senegalese center forward as a player to watch.  I'm happy to see that our offense should get some upgrades but we need upgrades on the defensive side of the field too but I'll need to wait for those.

think that the feeder clubs will probably have better youth facilities than you - therefore, the players that they send you (regardless that Spain > Senegal > Qatar in youth rating) will be of higher quality than yours. I think that is why, in my game, Leonesa have built a strong squad for Qatar but haven't produced any Spaniards of note.

I'd make the most of as many Senegalese and Qatari internationals as I could before you hit that weird point where you facilities are good enough that you produce good Spaniards but Spaniards who aren't good enough to be internationals at the expense of bringing through international (and, as such, more valuable) foreign youth players.

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6 hours ago, keeper#1 said:

January-February 2021 Update

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We were able to survive a couple of matches without Rodri then we hit a terrible stretch of form as we had to juggle, yet again, league matches with Copa Del Rey matches.  I played A- teams in those cup matches and we continued to find a way to win matches 1-0 and extend our cup run.  The downside, our league took a hit.  In February, we looked like an amateur side out there.  Defenders getting caught in possession leading to 1v1 breakaways on the goalkeeper, wide players making ill-advised cross-field passes,  our central midfielders running around like chickens with their heads cut off and not pressing effectively, and forwards doing well....nothing.  Just painful games to watch as we slid to 6th in the table.

Also - well done on this! You're making LaLiga 2 look much easier than I did!

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2021 Youth Intake Day

Best of the year....youth intake day and it's a good class highlighted by a Qatari defensive midfielder.

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DM Tarik Abdulaziz Kardeen is head and shoulders the best player in the 2021 youth intake.  However due to LaLiga2 rules, I'm only allowed two non-EU players on the roster and both slots are filled for this season.  @_Ben_ As a result, Kardeen will need to wait until the 2021-22 season to join the first team even though he is good enough to play for the first team right away.  What does the rest of the class look like.

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We've brought one first team player in Kardeen AND we've brought in our first Model Citizen in Mor Faye, a Senegalese-French goalkeeper from the ASPIRE Academy in Senegal.  The French 2nd nationality is a huge plus because he will not take up a non-EU slot on the roster when he's ready for the first team.  Another highlight is Venezuelan-Spanish central defender Alexander Merino.  He could be ready to follow a similar squad path that Rodri followed.  He is definitely needed as we are getting weak quickly at the center defender position.  On the whole, the class has a higher mean Leonesa DNA (6% higher than last year's class) and their raw attributes are better than last year's class.  There's more yellow and light green on the positional DNA side of things and more yellow and green on the Leonesa DNA side.  The only down side is the poor personalities in the class.  Out of the model citizen GK, there isn't a lot to write home about.  Kardeen has a "spineless" personality.  Not sure how that will translate on the field, @_Ben_, or how to improve the personality.  Thankfully, by joining the first team next season, I'll be able to get him into a mentoring group quickly.

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Looking at the Top 30 players from the two youth intakes (only the bottom two players are missing from the picture), the top five players in Leonesa DNA are all from this year's intake as well as six of the top 10.  The top five are an interesting mix of personalities: spineless, light-hearted, mercenary, balanced, and model citizen.  Should be interesting to see where they stand a year from now.

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This is how last year's intake evolved over the course of the year in terms of Leonesa DNA.  Almost every personality had some level of improvement.  Only "low determination" saw a decline and "fairly sporting" stayed flat.  The biggest improvement came from the two professional categories.  Unambitious was surprise to see jump 19% but if you look at the first chart, the jump is from a very low starting point so even with the jump, the player is still a poor player overall and not a likely candidate to join the first team.  The three unambitious players are all the bottom half of the DNA rankings chart shown above.  With a year under their belt, this class has a Leonesa DNA mean which is only slightly higher than the starting point of the 2021 class which bodes well for the 2021 class in terms of getting first team chances over the 2020 class. 

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8 hours ago, keeper#1 said:

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DM Tarik Abdulaziz Kardeen is head and shoulders the best player in the 2021 youth intake.  However due to LaLiga2 rules, I'm only allowed two non-EU players on the roster and both slots are filled for this season.  @_Ben_ As a result, Kardeen will need to wait until the 2021-22 season to join the first team even though he is good enough to play for the first team right away.  What does the rest of the class look like.

Ignoring the annoying non-EU issue, you've got yourself a really interesting player here:

  • With some player instructions - you could easily make him a roaming BWM - he is strong, aggressive, works hard and his trait of runs with the ball, combined with his decent dribbling, for his age, will see him move forward.
  • His CA is already three stars and his attributes will be quite skewed due to his lack of a really 'poor' foot. When you add in the high CA-free/free-ish attributes of aggression and free kicks as well as corners - his points are well used.
  • Get him in any mentoring group you can as Spinless is one of the worst! His personality means: Pressure 1, Determination 1-9, Leader <19. I don't know what personality he'll move to once he reaches 10 nor am I really sure what he can do, aside from play actual meaningful matches, to improve his pressure rating.
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March-April 2021 Update

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The match against the Barcelona B stands out from the slog of close wins and draws.  The Barcelona B team is a juggernaut that no one in the league can stop.  They are just running away with the league title and everyone else is just playing for 2nd and 3rd place which are now the two automatic promotion places.  Our poor form from February is a thing of the past and we are back to playing close matches where we find a way to win.  

We are firmly in the playoff places which is nowhere near where I expected us to be at this point in the season.  I fully expected us to be down in the bottom half of the table battling against relegation.  The four relegated teams seem like they are set in stone with five matches remaining.  Las Palmas are going to have to perform some type of great escape to overcome the seven-point gap between themselves and Extremadura for 18th place.  I would hazard to say that even Elbar is safe at this point.

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We are way ahead of the board scheduled vision for the club.

Other Youth Players

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Alexander Merino is our Venezuelan-Spanish defensive midfielder.  However, given his lack of pace but strength in the air, he is getting re-trained as a ball playing central defender.  One of the keys of our team is building up our attack from the back so Merino's strength in the air as well as some training on his passing will turn him into a decent ball playing central defender.

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Gustavo Sierra is a center forward who needs to put in a lot of work on his game if he wants to develop into a player that can make it into the first team.  He's got some good "old man" traits like passing and vision for the level of play.  But it needs to work on some of the important club and positional DNA categories.  He does not read the play well (anticipation), he has poor balance, his team work is not the best.  In short, he needs to become more a team player while working on his physical traits. 

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May-June 2021 Update

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We finished the 2020-21 season just outside the automatic promotion places in 4th place.  We played four straight 0-0 draws to kick off May which probably cost us a chance at automatic promotion.  The last two matches were 2-1 victories which gave us some momentum heading into the playoffs.  We entered the semifinals and got matched up with 7th place Zaragoza who got into the playoffs on goal difference.  A pair of victories saw us dispatch them and enter the finals against Tenerife.  Against Tenerife, our goalscoring problems reared their ugly head again.  A 0-0 draw on the islands followed by a 2-0 loss in Leonesa.  We missed out on promotion to La Liga at the final step.  But looking at the big picture, it is probably for the best.  We are not ready for La Liga football.  We need more growth and development as a team.  Plus moving up so early would have meant that I would have been focused on survival not youth development.

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Hopefully, we can carry this success and tactical acumen going into next season because I love our shape when we are in possession of the ball.

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Alfie Jones sitting in front of the two center backs in possession as the deep lying playmaker.  The two wingbacks have pushed up and are in line with the two center midfielders providing width to the formation.  The two wing forwards have tuck inside and are in line with center forward.  The only problem we run into is the center forward gets "double teamed" by the opposition's center backs and is forced backwards with the ball.  But I am pleased with the shape.

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We were a one-man show in attack led by Dario Podeva, who scored 21 of our 54 goals (39%) this season.  Sergio Ramos was our second leading scorer with eight goals and he missed the second half of the season with an injury.  We had two creative forces...one on each side of the field.  Javi Hernandez had 11 assists from his left back position.  Julian Luque had 10 assists from the right forward.  We are lacking a creative set-up man in the middle of the field.  Marcos could be that set-up man with his 2.17 key passes/90 minutes but we will see how he returns from his injury.

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Kardeen has barely been at the club for a month and he has already received his first call-up to the Qatari national team and will make his debut with the Leonesa first team when the 2021-22 season resumes in September.

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Summer 2021 Notes

It was a relatively quiet offseason for Leonesa.  I didn't want to shake up the roster too much after last season's 4th place finish and run to the semifinals of the Copa del Rey and promotion finals.  We shored up some key areas on the field and tried to make sure that our younger players were going to get the playing time they need and at the proper level for their current ability.  

I have run into my first problem with the board.  I promoted two of my U19 coaches to the senior side since my number of available coaches for the senior side has increased from 4 to 6 with the intention of bring in fresh coaches with great personalities in the U19 coaching staff.  However, the board will not allow me to spend the money needed to bring those new coaches into the club.  The difference between the potential coaches and the maximum that board will allow me to spend on coaches.  200 euros per week per coach.  The coaches want 1,500 euros per week.  The board won't let me spend more than 1,300 per week.  As a result, my U19 staff is down to a manager, an assistant manager, and one general coach who is willing to work on a month-to-month contract for only 220 euros per week.  We will soon see how much impacts the development of the players still in the U19 team.  Hopefully, at some point, the board will stop being obstinate and give me the 200 euros per week needed to sign some new coaches.

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Six players were shipped out.  Those players won't be a big loss because they didn't have much of an impact with the first team.  The biggest risk is selling Moha who was our top-rated prospect for the first two years but couldn't score goals.  Three central players were brought in to shore up the spine of the team.

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Cris Salvador is a ball-winning central midfielder whose primary job will be to win the ball and restart or recycle possession for the attack.  A ball-winning midfielder was something that we were lacking last season so he brings some balance to that area.

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Tropi is more of an attack-minded midfielder who will take some of the burden off of Sergio Macros who broke down from the heavy workload last season.  Tropi's addition will push some of our current midfielders down to a level that they should be playing and not forced into starting roles with the first team.

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Manu Hernando is the big signing of the season.  He is our Rodri replacement but just four years old than Rodri.  As a result, he has a more developed game than Rodri but he immediately fills the hole in our backline that was caused by Rodri's departure.

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The media still do not respect us and our finish from last season.  We have moved up one spot to 15th in their season preview rankings.  Time to prove them wrong again!608003241_2021SummerFriendlies.thumb.jpg.795ac06dbe382ed0e29d6dc26a2cc697.jpg 

Another good set of pre-season friendlies heading into the season.

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August-September 2021 Update

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The new midfield has caused some very choppy results.  We are either really good or really bad and that can be seen in the results.  A nice win over the Real Madrid B team but we continue struggle against the Barcelona B team.  September was book-ended with a pair of great results with a really crap filler.  All told, we are still in the playoff places thanks to the Real Madrid and Barcelona B teams occupying playoff spots which they can not take advantage of due to league rules.  

Off the field, I got my job offer which I quickly declined.

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October-December 2021 Update

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We've improved on the field though I'm not pleased with the results.  Our midfield is still having difficulty gelling together.  The defense still gets caught in possession and gives away breakaway chances.  Our center forward is more interested in passing the ball to the wingers or center midfielders than he does in taking the defender on and attempting a shot on goal.  Our backups were ineffective in our first round Copa Del Rey match.  We needed a last second goal to tie the game and then won on penalties.  The good thing about our solid defense is we are in every game.  The bad thing is we keep the opposition in every game.  At some point during the offseason, I'm going to need to have a tactical rethink and shake some things up to give us more attacking opportunities.  Just a lot of plodding possession football without much purpose.

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PEANUT BUTTER!  This will likely hinder his development.  He was playing well when he was in the game for both Leonesa and for Qatar.  He still has a spineless personality as his determination is stuck on nine and has not improved since he joined the intake in April.

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Leonesa currently has two of the top five players in Qatar.

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I now have a contract through 2024.  The board finally agreed to increase the wages available to our coaches and physios.  However, this availability has not been reflected in the wages I can offer to U19 coaches and physios.  So, I'm stuck with just one general U19 coach and no U19 physios for my U19 team.

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Another defensive-minded intake shall be coming for the 2022 intake.  I figured out why this is happening.  Our HOYD has a "park the bus" tactical style so this is probably why the intakes have skewed toward the defensive side of the ball.  I'll be looking for a HOYD that is more balanced in terms of his tactical style while still having a positive personality.

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OMG my local team in this forum, i love it.

Few things to mention: first one, the Copa Federación and Copa del Rey received a lot of changes this season and most of them are very difficult to implement on the game. Yes, teams qualified to Copa Federacion are the ones who didn´t make it to Copa del Rey, but the 4 teams that reach its semifinals get a qualification to this major cup. Normal qualification to copa del rey (in the third tier) is by finishing in the 7th first places excluding B teams. So Cultural Leonesa shouldn´t have played the CopFed in the first place, they directly qualified for CdR.

Second one, to this day the partnership with Leeds is broken. What tied this 2 teams was Ivan Bravo and he left Aspire project in Cultural Leonesa to enter a new one in second tier Alcorcon. But hey, free great players for FM.

A lot of things are outdated in this game regarding Segunda B, it´s completely abandoned by the game researchers. Speaking about domestic cups, the Spanish Federation established some money prizes for both of them depending on the rounds played, and they did it in a very clear way, everyone can search them in the federation webpage. But the game doesn´t care about that. Most of the teams of the division have no fans according to the game (Salamanca has like 150 fans and 300 people attending to the stadium in game while in real life they average 4,5k people in their stadium). If Segunda B is a though division because it has almost none money intakes, in the game is a torture. No money intakes at all, so be quick in your promotion to the second tier. In real life, Copa del Rey is key for a lot of teams; taking cultural leonesa for example, this year we beated Las Rozas, Huesca and Atletico de Madrid and lost in penalties against Valencia. Those last 3 games, with the tickets money, the sponsorship , TV rights and cup prizes gave Leonesa so much money that this season is covered despite it couldn´t be ended. You can´t get that in the game cause no one on SI cares about Segunda B.

Some player roles on the team and even things like player position and heights are a joke hahaha So enjoy the experience with my team!

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On 22/05/2020 at 16:34, keeper#1 said:

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January-February 2021 Update

Rodri Sale

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Everton was the first club to meet Rodri's four million euro release clause.  Rodri had little interested in going to England.  Atletico Madrid followed just a couple days later with a four million euro bid of their own.  Rodri signed with Atletico and I lost my best defender. The upside is I could finally make some improvements to my academy and hopefully churn out more players like Rodri in the future.

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Yup.  Everything is getting upgraded in the next six to twelve months.

January-February 2021 Update

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We were able to survive a couple of matches without Rodri then we hit a terrible stretch of form as we had to juggle, yet again, league matches with Copa Del Rey matches.  I played A- teams in those cup matches and we continued to find a way to win matches 1-0 and extend our cup run.  The downside, our league took a hit.  In February, we looked like an amateur side out there.  Defenders getting caught in possession leading to 1v1 breakaways on the goalkeeper, wide players making ill-advised cross-field passes,  our central midfielders running around like chickens with their heads cut off and not pressing effectively, and forwards doing well....nothing.  Just painful games to watch as we slid to 6th in the table.

First Academy Callup

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Al-Thani becomes the first player from the 2020 youth intake to make his debut at the club as we drew against 16th place Extramadura.

If you win Ponferradina 0-5 in real life, you would be the most loved person in León

Edited by cudithekid94
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January 2022 Update

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January was a good month for us on the field.  Only six goals allowed in nine matches.  Three of those six were in our Copa del Rey loss to Valencia when I fielded a very "cup rotation" team like I did in the cup matches against Zaragoza and Espanyol.  In league play, we allowed three goals in five matches and claimed three wins and a draw.  The lone loss was against Eibar who scored early and shut up shop.  We took all six points, this season, from Castilla which I consider a major victory on the season.  The Barcelona B team is still the "gold standard" of the La Liga B Teams.  We are now ahead of them on the table (3rd place to 4th place).  Our 3rd place standing is still good enough for the playoffs.  The automatic promotion places may be a bridge too far for us this season.  Like last season, we lack the depth to compete against these sides.  It is likely that will have to go through the lottery of the playoffs to know our promotion fate.

Transfer Activity

The winter was busy team for us on the transfer front but all on the sale end.  We made two sales and brought in zero players while promoting from within.

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Javi Hernandez was brought in during the summer 2020 transfer window and spent the entire 2020-21 season and first part of the 2021-22 season as our starting left back.  He had three offers all from Italian clubs (Lazio, Napoli and Atalanta).  Napoli and Atalanta offered his minimum release clause of 2.4 million euros.  Lazio came in with a lower offer but I was able to negotiate a 40% of next sale into their lower offer.  1.4 million euros was paid up front with another 500,000 euros paid when he plays 20 matches for the club.   If he sells for 2.5 million, I'll make that million euro difference back.  It's a risk but I think he has the ability to continue to improve and jump to an even bigger club in a couple of seasons.  He joined on a free, played 44 matches for Leonesa, and was sold for 1.4 million euros not a bad piece of business for the club.

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On deadline day, Atletico came in with a bid for the top prospect from my 2021 youth intake class.  I felt this was a low-ball offer and countered with an offer my own.  Tarik, even with his three month injury, wasn't really developing.  Now, that could have been a function of his injury but it also could have been a function of his "spineless" personality.  I figure it was more the personality which is why I made the counter offer.  Atletico accepted the counter offer showed below.

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I increased the guaranteed money from 4.5 million euros to 7.75 million euros with an easy attainable clause of 1 million euros for appearing in one international matches.  Considering that he was playing for Qatar while stuck in my B team last season, he's a lock to make the Qatar national team now that he is part of the Atletico Madrid setup.  Like Hernandez, I get 40% of Tarik's next sale so I'll make even more money there.  His release clause was a very high 12.5 million euros so I jumped at the chance when Atletico came for his services.

Where did the money from these sales go?  Right back into the infrastructure of the club.

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Winter 2022 Transfers.jpg

Edited by keeper#1
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February-March 2022 Update

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The last two months has been two months of treading water which no winning or losing streaks.  This treading water has left us right where we finished January - just outside the automatic promotion places but firmly in the playoff zone.  Our defense has been subject during this time but this has been caused by a combination of poorly timed short term injuries (less than one week) and card accumulation suspensions which has forced me to mix and match the back line.  Then there was the roller coaster of the match against Barcelona B.

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Down 4-0 at halftime.  Change the goalkeeper and a center back at half time.  We storm all the way to tie match at 4 only to watch it slip through our fingers in stoppage time as Barcelona scored the game winner and went home, 5-4, with all three points.  I need to figure out how to defend their 3-4-3 formation.  The two extra center forwards cause big problems for our defensive line  especially when the midfielders push forward creating a five-man attack for our four-man defensive line to cope with.  Normally our defensive midfielder should track back and play as the fifth man in the defensive line but he did not during this game.  The wing forwards did not track back either due to their attacking nature.  If the wing forwards track back too much, then they congest the defensive half and make it easy for Barcelona to press and make it difficult to break out of our defensive half.  I think it comes down the defensive midfielder.  Next season, I will probably set him as a half back in his normal defensive midfielder position or as a libero with a support duty in the defensive line.  I have a few players with the CB-DM-CM accomplished positional situation.  Any thoughts from the readers who are more tactically adept? 

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2022 Youth Intake

But first a look back.

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Good news: every player in this group improved their Leonesa DNA during the course of the year.  The forwards showed the most improvement but they had two neutral personalities, one neutral-negative personality (fickle) and one negative personality (unambitious).  The model citizen had great improvement both in his DNA and across the board.  He will likely be with the first team next season.  The negative groups are showing the largest percentage increase because they have the most room to grow.  So they either grow and have a large percentage boost or they stay flat.  The other personalities have "flatter" growth but it's consistent growth.

Now let's look at this year's group:

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Our first "golden generation" of players which is badly needed after the first two intakes even though we made a good bit of money off the sale of Tarik (thank you, Atletico Madrid).  The first two intakes were very top heavy intakes which lacked the depth we needed to back fill positions from within instead going out and bringing in talent on frees.  We will still need to bring in players on frees but that will be less frequent now.

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I've been given a group of players who both have potential for the future and the ability to help us now.  One 2.5* player and another 2* player in terms of CA and almost the entire intake has the ability to get to 3* in terms of PA.  Now, how does it look when we start pulling the data apart.

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Outside of the goalkeeper, it looks pretty damn good.  We have another 6+% bump in mean DNA over last year's intake so we've improved over 12% from year 1 to year 3 for DNA.  The positional DNA is showing a lot more light green with the occasional dark green.  The raw technical, mental and physical data is the best of any intake across the board.  Our starting point is better and our potential end point is higher which will only mean good things for the club going forward.  Qatar continues to be the source of our best intake players but the Spanish players are starting to catch up to them.  The personalities of the top talent is another positive for this group.

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This is where we can really see how good the 2022 class is.  It didn't produce the top ranked DNA talent of the first three years.  That still belongs to Tarik from 2021.  But it has produced five top 10 talents (two defenders, two midfielders, and a forward).  It has also produced 13 Top 30 talents.  Granted only 48 players have been generated at this point in the 2020s but it is a very encouraging sign for this class.   

RF Asier Blazquez 

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A tiny little guy checking in at only 5 foot 3 inches and 121 pounds.  Obviously, he likely the ball played into his feet and not in the air (only 1 jumping but 15 heading?!?!?).  He has an excellent first touch and can read the game well.  Ticks the boxes in some of the positional DNA which great ratings in agility and balance.  He has plenty of room to grow his game but could make a play to jump into the first team for the start of the 2022-23 season.

RB Gustavo

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We could a potential right side pairing of the future with Gustavo coming in as our top rated defender in the class and our best-ever wingback at this point.  Can read the game well and is willing to stick his foot in and make a tackle.  Needs to work on the physical side of his game but a lot of the key pieces of his game are there and he should make a play for a first team in the 2023-24 season depending on injuries/player decline among the first team wingbacks.

CB Pedro Miguel Abdelmotall

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The Qatari centerback with the Spanish sounding name.  He is the most complete player, right now, in the class.  He also has plenty of room to grow and develop into an excellent center back in the next couple of seasons.  He's fast which suits the high line that we play.  He also hits a lot of the positional DNA for the centerback role - positioning, marking, tackling, decisions, bravery.  He will have to wait to join the first team until next season.  I filled in the backup left back role with Hussain Ali from the 2020 intake and he is occupying the second non-EU slot on the team registry.  Over summer, Ali will be taken off the registry and Abdelmotall will take that second slot.

CB Babacar Faye

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Faye is another center back from the intake who has a lot of potential.  Faye is nowhere near the finished product that Abdelmotall is so it will take a couple of seasons for Faye to push for a first team place.  I don't expect Faye to join the first team until 2023-24 at the earliest.  He's much of a "stay-at-home defenseman" to steal a hockey phrase.  A little weak in the air but a very good tackler and decision maker while willing to stick his foot in and make a tackler.

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April-June 2022 Review

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Barcelona B had a late surge, probably inspired by their 5-4 win over us :), to claim the 2022 LaLiga2 title by one point over Deportivo LaCoruna.  Gijon claimed the last automatic promotion place by two points over Leganes.  Eibar qualified for the last playoff place on goal difference over Huesca.  We could have pushed Leganes for fourth place in the last match day for fourth place but I played a lot of back-ups in the last matchday because I wanted my starters well rested for the four games in 14 days playoff grind should we reach the finals again.  Castilla (Real Madrid B) and Bilbao Athletic (Athletic Bilbao B) join Fuenabrade and Extremadura as the four teams going down into the third tier for next season.  Our form heading into the playoffs was very patchy.  Only two wins in our last six matches and three losses.  Not the best way to head into the playoffs.

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We lost 1-0 at Alaves to open the playoffs before rebounding with a 2-0 win at home to claim the tie.  Leganes scored a late equalizer at our place to claim at 2-2 draw.  They, then, claimed another 2-2 draw and we finished the second match tied at 4.  I was expecting the match to go to penalties and/or extra time to see who would win the tie.  Nope.  Tiebreaker is higher seeded team advances which in this case was Leganes.  Had I know that the higher seed team was the tiebreaker, I would have pushed a lot harder in that last match for a fourth place finish.  Instead we have a third season in LaLiga2 to look forward.  Maybe the third time will be the charm.

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I'm still in search of a reliable second scorer.  Dario Poveda was, once again by far, our team's leading scorer with 23 goals.  Our second-leading goalscorer had eight, Julian Luque and he missed most of the season.  Most of our assists are coming from wing positions.  Our top four in assists were all wingers or wingbacks.  I need to find a way to get our central midfielders more involved in the attack next season.  Our center midfielders just don't want to make the defense splitting pass to our forward lines.  They are more interested in passing the ball back to the center backs and restarting the attack from there.

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I brought in another HOYD after the youth intake.  I "dropped" in personality from a Model Citizen HOYD to just a Professional HOYD.  However, I brought in a HOYD whose tactical style is more in line with my tactical style is.  The Model Citizen HOYD had a "Park the Bus" tactical style and a defensive playing style.  Wesdorp has a control possession tactical style and a passing playing style.  That's more in line with how I want to play.  His 4-2-3-1 wide tactical preference is also closer to the 4-1-2-2-1 formation that I'm currently using.

I just realized that I forgot to post a 2021 Top 10 Prospect Rankings.  I won't forget for 2022.

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July 1, 2022 Leonesa Top 10 Prospects

I forgot to do last year's rankings so there will be no listing for "last year ranking or stats."

10. Francisco Sevillano - Left Forward (17 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 6'2" 160 lbs.

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Sevillano is going to one of many players from the 2022 youth intake which makes the list.  He is one of three attacking players from that class on this list.  He is a tall winger who may be more adept at moving inside and playing a more central role than out of the wing.  He does have the nasty "avoids weaker foot" trait which I will need to train out of him.  He doesn't need to be two-footed player but he does need to use his weaker foot especially if wants to stay on the wing.  My tactical principle has wing players tucking inside and creating a more compact formation.

9. Francico Palacios - Left Forward (17 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 5'8" 130 lbs.

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Palacios is more of a true winger compared to Sevillano.  As a result, he will stay on the wing while Sevillano will get converted into a more central midfielder.  Palacios looks to be a winger that will take the defender on and try to beat them with their pace.  He is a good passer for his age but doesn't fully see the entire field quite yet.  He fits out tactical mold of a winger.  He is a left winger with a strong right foot so he is comfortable playing his "off wing."  A good player who should see the first team in a couple of seasons.

8. Malick Diouf - Central Forward (19 years old - Leonesa B) - 6'2" 174 lbs.

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A Senegalese center forward from our 2021 youth intake.  He could take over for Dario Poveda should a club come asking for his services.  Diouf has decent pace and he is very strong on the ball (great ability, great balance).  Needs to work on the mental side of his game (reading the game, seeing the field, etc.).  He will spend the 2022-23 season on the B team before getting called up to the first team for the 2023-24 season as a back-up.

7. Edgar Perez - Attacking Midfielder (16 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 5'5" 125 lbs.

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Perez is a player who could force us to switch around our formation in the coming years.  Right now, we play a 4-1-2-2-1 formation without a true attacking midfielder playing directly behind the center forward.  Perez comes in as an "undersized midfielder" who will learn how to play as a False Nine/Deep Lying Forward to develop into our current formation.  However, should this hinder his development, he will go back to training as an attacking midfielder and we will try to adapt the formation to his strengths.  As a 16 year old, he's got a couple of seasons with the U19s for us to figure which path his best for him and the team.

6. Luis Anlberto Calonge - Center Back (16 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 5'10" 149 lbs.

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The club has been very good at pushing out undersized players for their position. Calonge is no different as a center back who checks in at only 5'10" and 149 lbs.  As a result, he may get some training as a defensive midfielder to see how he fits in there.  If he works out, he could move to the defensive midfielder role.  If it doesn't, like Perez, he will go back to his more natural position of center back.  Calonge is a very smart and also a very young player so he's got some time to figure out his game.

5. Gustavo - Right Back (16 years old - Leonesa U19s) - 5'6" 130 lbs.

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Look at what we have here - another smallish player for their position.  Gustavo is a right back who checks in at only 5'6".  But he makes up for this lack of size with his smarts.  Not the fastest player but he is brave, he is very aggressive.  He wants to make the tackle.  He also wants to get involved in the offensive side of the game too.  Gustavo has the potential to be a very good all-around right back for the club in a couple of years.  

4. Alexander Merino - Defensive midfielder (18 years old - Leonesa B) - 6'0" 135 lbs.

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Merino is the exact opposite of Calonge.  Merino is a defensive midfielder who is more suited to being a center back.  He's bigger than Calonge but he is also slower than Calonge.  This lack of speed could hinder him with our tactical style of playing with a high line which means I should play him as a defensive midfielder.  A good question to have.  The downside is I have less time to answer this question as he is 18 years old compared to Calonge who is just 16 years old.  Merino could be that "Barcelona B defensive midfielder/libero" that I've been looking for in order to beat them.

3. Babacar Faye - Center Back (18 years old - Leonesa) - 6'0" 165 lbs.

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Faye is a product of the ASPIRE Academy in Senegal who has become part of our youth academy.  Faye jumped right into the Leonesa B side before moving into a rotational role to the first team for the 2022-23 season.  He would probably be better served spending another year in the B team but Hector Rodas is really starting to show his age at 34 years old.  The club, in the long run, is better served in giving Faye the first team matches that should go to Rodas.  As a result, Rodas gets demoted down to the B team.  

2. Pedro Miguel Abdelmotall - Center Back (19 years old - Leonesa) - 5'11" 158 lbs.

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Abdelmotall is the Qatari with the Spanish sounding name who, like Faye, will be part of the center back set up for the 2022-23 season.  He takes the place of Marcos who just hasn't quite developed during his time with the first time.  Pedro is a fast center back who is strong on the ball and able to get the opposition off the ball.  Pedro is a very smart center back.  He should quickly find his way into the senior side with Qatar is the very near future and will feature heavily in our center back rotation this season.

1. Asier Blazquez - Right Forward (17 years old - Leonesa) - 5'3" 127 lbs.

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Blazquez is a very small right winger who will get time with the senior team for the 2022-23 season.  He will back-up Julian Luque this season.  Luque needs a good back-up as we saw in the first part of last season when our attack really stagnated in his absence.  Like Palacios at the bottom of the rankings, Blazquez is a fast winger who is willing to go past his marker rather than out-think his marker.  He is more suited to playing on his "off wing" which will fit our tactical mindset.  Another player who could be a world-class player if he was only just a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier.

 

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4 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

Exactly the same happened in my save with "the higher seed team" it is very harst and you can't see these rules early in season..:rolleyes:

Decide who advances on the field.  "Higher seed team" is crap to determine who gets promoted.

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August-September 2022 Update

I've switched things up a bit tactically.  I'm still using the 4-1-2-2-1 on the road and at home against equal competition.  I've moved to a 4-2-3-1 against weaker competition.  Not quite 100% sold about using this formation against weaker competition both at home and on the road.  Maybe I'll loosen the reins as the season goes on.  Right now, we are off to a flying start.

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Up in fourth place with a three goal and a four goal outing.  Played things a little closer to the vest for most of September when we were playing teams around us in the table to consolidate our position as a playoff contender.

Player Purchase

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I've mainly been scouting the Spain U19 leagues thus far in my save to see if they unearth a gem.  After two plus years, they uncovered Marco Jimenez who is a ready-made engagche which is what I'm looking for in the middle of my three-band in the 4-2-3-1 formation.  He came to us as a "promising" player for the cut-rate price of 550,000 euros and at just 16 years old, we should make a tidy profit off of him a couple of seasons.

Sell-on Clauses

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Made just over 500,000 euros in sell-on clauses.  Any money I that I received from Arajuo I considered it as money found.  I had hoped to make more money off the sell-on of Hernandez whose club sold him back to Spain for less money than we sold him to Lazio.

Blazquez Sale

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Atletico Madrid is responsible for 95% of my current bank balance thanks to their purchases of my academy players.  They bought Rodri for 7 million euros.  Bought Tarik 21A for 7.75 million with the potential of the sale reaching 8.75 million euros plus a 40% next sale clause.  Now, they bought Asier Blazquez 22A for another 7 million after activating his release clause after Blazquez played just two matches for us.  That's over 21 million in player sales most of which sits in our bank account with the remainder going into infrastructure upgrades.

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October-November 2022 Update

Club Takeover

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This takeover came out of nowhere.  About once a year, the club had takeover rumors but they were just that....rumors.  This year, no rumors.  Just a message in October that the club was taken over by a consortium.  But the consortium did one positive thing and one negative club for the club as a whole.

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They invested some money into the club and then used that money upgrade our first team facilities.  This was something that I had earmarked for a couple years/couple of player sales down the line.  Now, the new board will do it for me.  Thanks board!

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The board, though, cut our affiliation with Leeds United which will impact our baseline scouting knowledge in the UK.  I learned about my defensive midfielder, Alfie Jones, because of this affiliation.  Will I miss out on other Alfie Jones who could help the club because of this link?  Time will tell.

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Our main striker, Dario Poveda, has gone missing for the better part of two months and it has impacted our on the field results.  We have slid down to seventh place and deeply involved in the battle for the last playoff slot.  We aren't that far off the last automatic promotion slot and we have a game in hand.  But, if Poveda can't start finding the net soon, we could be watching the playoffs on TV for the first time since joining La Liga 123.

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I was shocked to see three £7m player sales but then I remember the minimum release clauses! That's some really important money for a club of your stature.

How have the players got on since they've been sold?

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5 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

I was shocked to see three £7m player sales but then I remember the minimum release clauses! That's some really important money for a club of your stature.

How have the players got on since they've been sold?

Not well at all.  Rodri spent two seasons playing for Atletico's U19s before finally getting called up to the B team this season.  Tarik has spent his entire career in the Atletico B team.  Blazquez's career at Atletico is setting up to be similar to Rodri's.  Atletico has stashed him on their U19 team.  Hopefully, he will get called up to, at least, the B team next season.

Atletico signed Rodri and Blazquez by activating their minimum release clauses.  With Tarik, I have a nice 40% sell-on clause if someone else comes calling for his services.

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December 2022-February 2023 Update

Youth Intake Preview

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We start with the youth intake preview.  About the same number of positives as negatives.  My HOYD rates the group as excellent overall especially on the attacking side of the ball with a quality attacking midfielders and center forward coming in.  Another Senegalese goalkeeper is coming into the club as well.  The last positive is a quality defensive midfielder.  The negatives are mainly on the defensive side of the ball and out on the wing.

January 2023 Transfer Window

It wouldn't be a transfer window without Atletico Madrid coming in and signing another one of my academy players.  This time, they made an 11th hour bid for Pedro Miguel Abdelmotall (22C) by activating his seven million euro minimum release clause.  He played a total of ten matches for the club before moving on.

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As a result, we made an 11th hour signing of our own since the youth intake preview did not give me a warm fuzzy feeling about our incoming center back class.

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Mirani wanted out of VVV and he ticked couple of boxes for signing him.  He's, in my opinion, a solid defender and he has a very positive personality to help groom the young center backs that remain at the club.

But I would like to thank Atletico Madrid to continue to bank roll our club.

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League Update

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We have consolidated our usual place in the table.  Just behind the automatic promotion places but firmly in the playoffs.  Hopefully, this will be the year that we finally breakthrough and get one of those automatic promotion places since the playoffs have not been kind to us.

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I do enjoy smashing the Atletico Madrid B side after they poach my academy products.

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Rodri and Pedro, both academy products, were Atletico's center back pairing and we tore them apart.

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3 hours ago, keeper#1 said:

This time, they made an 11th hour bid for Pedro Miguel Abdelmotall (22C) by activating his seven million euro minimum release clause.  He played a total of ten matches for the club before moving on.

I really like him actually - hopefully he can go on and perform a little better than your other sales have!

Out of interest - who offers your young players contracts? Whilst these are very realistic, have you not thought to offer them higher deals to get around it?

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