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[FM21] A career in (South) America


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About two days I was haunted by a big problem: I wanted to start a career and I had absolutely no idea in which league and with which club to play. But at one point I had an idea : I'll start a career with a very old club. I didn't know much about old clubs. I knew that the oldest club that is still active is from somewhere in Sheffield and I even wondered if this club was Sheffield United or Sheffield Wednesday. It was only after a check on Wikipedia that I discovered that the oldest club was neither Sheffield United nor Sheffield Wednesday ... but Sheffield FC, a club currently playing in the 8th league. So, the Sheffield FC option is not available yet. However, I did not regret that I checked because there is an interesting page on the club's website :

https://sheffieldfc.com/pioneers-2/

So, I found that I have enough options for a first career in FM21. However, one name caught my eye: Albion FC from Uruguay.
A rather unusual name for a South American club. Of course, I know about West Bromwich Albion and Brighton & Hove Albion. I had also heard something about Burton Albion and Stirling Albion. But these are British clubs. Time for Wikipedia again ...

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This club is very old. It was an amateur club for 127 years, until 2018. So until when it obtained the first important performance of the last century: promotion from the 3rd league to the 2nd league. However, the club had its moments of glory: in 1900 it was one of the four clubs that participated in the first edition of the Uruguayan national championship.

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This club seems to be a good option for a first FM career ...

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Albion Football Club

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First of all, it would probably be necessary to detail what Albion FC represents in Football Manager: from the point of view of Albion's reputation, it is the 29th club in Uruguay.

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Okay, but Uruguayan clubs? Are they powerful ? Yes, but not very much. In terms of reputation, the best Uruguayan club would rank in the first 5-6 places in the Sky Bet Championship, the 2nd English league. The best clubs in the Uruguayan 2nd league would probably be candidates for the first places in Vanarama National. And Albion ... would probably be a top club in the English 6th league. Of course, reputation is subjective. But it's a pretty good indicator of the level at which I'll start my career.

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Of course, it would have been an additional challenge if I had started my career with a minimal reputation (Sunday league player) and without coaching badges. Also, with a different nationality and without "knowing" Spanish language. But for a first career in FM21 I prefer a moderate challenge.

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Club, facilities, money

The club owns its own stadium but the senior squad plays its own home matches on a larger stadium. Unfortunately, the "larger stadium" is used by 4 other teams (two senior teams, 2 reserve teams), which will probably affect both the match schedule and the field condition. To be honest, I don't know what effect this situation will have on the club's expenses. Will money be invested in both stadiums? Or only in our own stadium, which is in a very bad condition ?

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Facilities : poor ... basic ... poor ... basic ... that is, the minimum possible. Some investments will be needed ...

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Generally speaking, the budget is small. Only £ 3,900 / week (£ 206,000 / year), of which 3,200 are already allocated. As the club is professional, players cannot sign contracts unless the salary is at least £ 4,700 / year, or £ 90 / week. These amounts are lower for youth but even so the budget is not big enough, especially if the salary demands of the players will be higher and higher

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League rules

Promotion to the first league does not seem too difficult because even the 6th place offers the chance to participate in the play-offs. However, the limit of (only) 3 foreign players is quite restrictive. Fortunately, there are no restrictions about youth players.

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The president wants us to be promoted to the first league in no more than 3 years. It should not be a difficult goal to achieve. The request regarding players under 23 is also quite reasonable. More difficult seems to be the mention of "work within payroll budget". I hope I won't be sacked if I'll spend too much ...

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Players

When I first saw the list of available players I was happy : "wow, they have a lot of stars so it means they are really good players". Then I realized that they actually have so many stars because the qualitative difference between the best players and the weakest players in the squad is quite small. We will definitely need better players for a possible promotion. However, there is one positive thing : most players can hit the ball quite well with both feet, which will allow the development of more complex tactics.

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Comparison between Albion players and other players in the league. Only a few encouraging things : determination, decision, tackling are really good. Otherwise ... the players have the level of a team that fights to avoid relegation.

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When I started the game I avoided checking the "add players to playable teams" option because there are enough "real" players in the database and I wanted the newly generated players to come exclusively from youth intake. In addition, I moved all players from Reserve squad to Senior squad. The effect of this decision: Reserve squad and U19 squad are currently made up of gray regens. The clubs in the first league have many reserves but the smaller and poorer clubs in the lower leagues do not have enough players to complete all squads. It's not a problem because the newly generated players wouldn't have been much better than the gray players anyway.

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Players who will probably be starters at the beginning of the season :

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The staff

We don't have enough coaches, we don't have scouts, we don't have too much money. For now. But I found out that the president prefers a 4-3-3 DM wide formation. Eventually 4-1-4-1 DM. The assistant manager also has his opinions. He has already begun to suggest that "we should play 4-2-3-1 wide." Unfortunately for him ... the president is more important than an assistant manager. So I will start the season based on the president's preferred formations, to which will be added that 4-4-2 preferred by the general manager.

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The locker room atmosphere before the big meeting between the new manager and his players :

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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2021, February. Pre-season.

We played 8 friendlies. Most of our opponents were amateur lower league clubs. The only stronger opponent (Comunicaciones from Argentina) defeated us without problems and they could win at a much higher score. Positive aspects: we earned some money (not so much, about £ 1000) and we improved our cohesion. In addition, we did not have too many injuries.

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Two of Albion's best players preferred to leave. Not because they had some offers but because they wanted a higher salary. Personally, I didn't think they are be so good as to earn twice as much money as other players. I also hired a (chief) scout. I would have liked at least one additional coach but the club leaders opposed it. We don't have enough money ...

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2021, February - March

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Only 6 points out of 6 matches. Unfortunately, we lost points in the matches played against teams that fight to avoid relegation (Vila Espanola and Cerrito). The match against Cerrito was special because we managed a rare performance: zero shots. It's not about we didn't shoot on target. We didn't shoot at all.

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We didn't start the season too well, but at least we're not in 11th or 12th place ...

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2021, April

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4 more points. But the team plays weaker and weaker. At the beginning of the season the players were able to build quite well. Now, they lose possession after two or at most three passes.

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We are still on the 10th place, but we lost too many points in the matches played against the teams that fight to avoid relegation

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2021, May - June

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But it does not matter anymore. Because ...

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We lost that match. Of course, I was fired. I mean ... not really fired, but my contract wasn't renewed. It's not exactly what I wanted, but that doesn't mean the career is over ...

Edited by GreenTriangle
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  • 4 months later...
Posted (edited)

The Uruguayan career ended in great failure. So, it's time for a new challenge ... but at a not so high level. For example, in Central America. Of course, there are some strong leagues in this area. The Mexican Premier League and the American MSL both have extremely high reputations. There are also other leagues that have a higher reputation than the Uruguayan second league. But as in my previous save I had not loaded the North and Central American leagues ... a new save (new game) was needed.

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Why did I load these nations? First of all, I loaded those North and Central American nations that have professional leagues: Canada, Mexico, USA, (North America); Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama (Central America); Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad (Caribbean). I added - optionally - 5 more nations whose domestic competitions could provide players for possible transfers: Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Suriname. 

I also loaded some South American and European nations. Spain (an important destination for Spanish-speaking players), England (preferred by players from Jamaica and Trinidad), France (for Haiti), Colombia (source of foreign players and destination for Central American players), Ecuador and Venezuela (nations geographically close to Panama and the Caribbean). We have omitted Argentina (an important source of foreign players in Central America) but I might add it in the future.

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My virtual representation has undergone some changes. Until now he had a license (National A) and some experience (professional player, local level). He doesn't own anything now. This is not very realistic but it is more challenging.

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Since my career in Uruguay ended in May (2021), it was necessary to go on holiday until June 1, 2021. After returning from vacation I took a look at the list of available leagues. As the Uruguayan second league had a reputation similar to that of the second leagues from Guatemala or Honduras, I did not have many options. I had to look for a new job in El Salvador (2nd league), Panama (2nd league) or Nicaragua.

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Of course, I applied to almost all possible clubs in those countries and I waited to see what would happen. I received a few invitations to the interview ... and finally, a club offered me a job :

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Conditions did not seem very restrictive. Work within salary budget and sign players to sell for a profit, without players over 30. Nothing special. All clubs require this, implicitly or explicitly. Keep backroom staff size? All right, one season I could survive without additional coaches. Being an established Segunda team?  It shouldn't be too difficult.

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The Club.

One Lobos Chalchuapa.  The name is interesting. "Once Lobos" means "Eleven Wolves" in Spanish. "Chalchuapa" is an old name and means in Nawat (the local Native American language) "The place with a lot of jade".

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The club is almost 100 years old. The biggest performance : many years ago they played a few seasons in the first league. Home games are played on a relatively small stadium (3000 seats). Training and youth facilities are only basic, while junior coaching and youth recruitment are really good, at least compared to those of other clubs in the Salvadoran 2nd league.

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Finances. Well ... this is the problem. The wage budget is very small, only $ 4700 per month. There is also a budget for transfers, but it is insignificant. The fact that the budget is "red" means that - practically - the players' contracts cannot be renewed. $ 150 per month for a star player is less than the minimum amount (around $ 250) that must be paid to a player who signs a contract.

Another problem: youth setup expenses are much too high. A truly competent manager would minimize youth coaching and youth recruitment. But since I'm not a competent manager ... I won't make such decisions. For now.

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However, the virtual representation of our finances is no exception. Most clubs in the country have low incomes ... and that means they don't have too much money for transfers. In the previous season 95% of domestic transfers were "free". Transfer fees were paid for only 3 players, and the maximum amount was $ 12,500. As for transfers abroad ... the maximum amount received was $ 40,000. This means that there are no chances at all to balance the budget of my club by selling a few players. Maybe if I'll sell the whole team, and maybe not even then ...

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The club's reputation is surprisingly good. It would seem that Once Lobos should aim for a possible promotion. At the moment, the board does not have promotion as an objective ... but it is very possible to request this in the future.

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The recently finished season was not bad for Once. They ranked 3rd in the Apertura and 2nd in the Clausura. Unfortunately, they failed to achieve notable performance in the playoffs, being eliminated both times in the first round. By the way, the competition system is ... "South American". The second league in Salvador is divided into 2 groups of 10 teams each. There is an opening stage (Apertura) and a closing stage (Clausura). Every team plays 14 games in Apertura and 14 in Clausura, best 4 teams from each group being qualified for Apertura / Clausura playoff. Winners of these two playoffs are qualified for league final ... and the winner of this final will be promoted to the first league.

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League rules are quite simple. Only 3 foreign players. It doesn't matter their age or where they were trained. As long as 22 of the 25 registered players are Salvadoran citizens, everything is fine. And complicated, because there will always be available a lot of good players ... but who will not be eligible, being foreigners. On the other hand, the summer transfer period lasts "only" 4 months, enough time to overexcite all players with excess of ambition and low loyalty.

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The staff. It is satisfactory. We have performance analyst, loan manager and recruitment analyst. We don't have a coach, but that's not so important because we can't hire one anyway. We don't have money and these coaches don't work for free. We do not have staff for the U21 squad and the board refuses any request for improvement. Because we don't have staff, there is no point in letting young players train themselves. I'm not sure they'll be able to, so I decided to move everyone to the reserve team. But there are also positive aspects. The HOYD and the assistant manager are pretty good. That should be enough for now.

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Squads

We have 38 players. 27 of them are 17 years old or younger. Normal, because the players generated by the "add players for playable teams" option are generally very young. This means that almost all the clubs in the second league received such very young players. However, the quality of the players is difficult to assess. The club has only one scout, and that scout is rather mediocre. Neither the assistant manager nor the other staff members are very gifted in terms of the ability to evaluate the players. At first glance, it would seem that there are about 15 to 20 good players, at least for a second league club from El Salvador.

However, two players should be noted. First: the goalkeeper, Portillo. He has very good technical and mental skills. But he's only 170 cm (5'8 '') tall ... and he's mediocre in terms of jumping reach (only 6). Second : Harold Mendoza. He does not have exceptional abilities but he is very balanced and can play almost any role in the central area of the pitch.

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According to the team report, the senior squad is quite good, at least from a technical and mental point of view. There are some physical problems but, overall, it seems to be a squad that could easily get a qualification in the league playoffs. 

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Team cohesion is very good. Locker room atmosphere is ... pretty good. So far, everything seems to be fine. In terms of managerial support, however, there are serious problems. Team leaders are disappointed that Mr. Nobody (no license, no experience) has been hired as manager. "Who the **** is this guy and what is he doing around here ?" Unfortunately, being leaders, they can influence other players. For this reason, team leaders must be treated with great care so as not to give them reasons to demoralize younger players.

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Yay ! A lot of money ! We are rich now !

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July 2021

The board's requirements changed at the beginning of the new season. Until a few days ago, only "being an established Second Division team" was required. Now the demands have increased: they want the team to be in the top 4 in both the Apertura and the Clausura. So that means qualifying in the playoffs of both competitions. In addition, they require a very good performance (ie at least qualifying for the semifinals) in both playoffs. Things are already starting to get a bit complicated ...

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Transfers. Because there is no money for salaries, it is obvious that transfers (even "free" ones) are not possible. However, players can be loaned. The problem is that we have only one scout and he can't make miracles. ("Player attribute masking" is enabled and information about potential players for a loan is extremely limited). In any case, there was only one emergency : one or two good left defenders were needed. The scout worked for almost three weeks just to solve this problem. Unfortunately, the transfer period will start two weeks after the league starts.

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The financial situation is getting worse. Unfortunately, in the coming months there is no chance of improving it.

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This would be the squad with which Once Lobos will approach Apertura (the two loaned players will be added later)

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The average prediction is quite optimistic. Normally Once should qualify for the playoffs and eventually even reach the semifinals.

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Friendlies.  The results are quite spectacular but not significant. Except for the first two games, almost all the opponents were inferior in quality and the results from the last 8 games were predictable.

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August 2021

7 games played, 13 points out of 21 possible. The team played very well, above expectations, but unfortunately lost important points in matches in which - maybe - they deserve more. In the second round we lost 1 - 4 a match in which a draw would have been more fair. Then, in the 6th round, our offensive players missed at least 3 clear chances to score and only got a 0 - 0 in a game that we could have easily won.

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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September 2021

Not bad. 5 games, 4 wins. The defeat was to be expected (Atletico Marte played in the first league last season) but the fact that we conceded 4 goals is disappointing.

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October 2021

We have a problem. In fact, we have more problems. Some players are inconsistent and opposing teams play more compactly than at the beginning of the season. We also have some bad luck. Even if we didn't play like at the beginning of the season and we still deserved to win at least 4 points in the last 3 games. We only got one point ...

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Posted (edited)

November 2021 (regular stage)

The last two games of the regular season were quite easy, both opponents not having a very high quality level. We managed to qualify for the playoffs but there, of course, we'll meet much more difficult opponents. The atmosphere in the locker room is - for now - very good. Even managerial support is a little better, though not enough.

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November 2021 - playoffs

Well, it was stressful. In the first match we received a goal in the first minute of the game (more precisely, in the 23rd second). We came back, we had the advantage (2 - 1, 3 - 2) ... and the opponents scored the third goal in the 91st minute. It was not a bad result, but there is a small inconvenient detail: in case of a draw in the second match qualification was to be decided based on the best place in the regular season. We were ranked 4th, our opponents 2nd. So, we had to win. Unfortunately, the opponents scored (again) on their first shot on goal ... and in the 93rd minute, when the score was 1 - 1, we scored the winning goal. Which goal was denied by the referee ...

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How did the players do during the Apertura? Some of them had remarkable performances (especially the playmaker, Mendoza and the right wing, Escobar). But others ... In any case, the team needs some new (and better) players.

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The board is "satisfied". So they are probably willing to accept the failure to qualify for the semifinals, but they will certainly not accept another failure.

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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Once Lobos squad : the best 13 players (or, at least, those 13 players who played well in the Apertura stage) :

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A brief assessment of how the team played in the Apertura stage. Surprisingly, it can be said that the team played very well both offensively and defensively . But ... why didn't the good play lead to some very good results? Of course, one of the causes was - in some games - bad luck. But the main cause was the manager's lack of experience. I made some mistakes and now it's important to learn and not repeat them.

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After only 6 months the club has a loss of $ 90,000 (much more than the entire yearly wage budget). However, the issue was partially solved by a board intervention (which injected $ 110,000). It's not enough, but at least this will allow me to offer salaries of up to $ 550 in the near future, enough to renew contracts for some players.

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No coaching courses for the moment ... and, of course, no license, not even a National C license.

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Youth intake preview looks interesting. So, in summary, a good central defender plus (maybe) a pretty good defensive midfielder and a pretty good striker.

However, I would like to make a speculative statement : HOYD does not "see" any fully developed player now. It's a preview, which means he can only see the range in which the PA of the newgens will fit. For example, he "sees" that a newgen will have a PA between 90 and 120 and that this player will be compatible with a certain position on the pitch. But he do not see more. Moreover, it also depends on what he will make the comparison with. Certainly not with the best players at the club, but probably with mid-level players, with players who usually "play" on the reserve bench. The comparation between a very roughly rated player and a player who plays only occasionally for the first team can be labeled sometimes as "a terrific group of players" or "a golden generation". In fact, it is safer for any such label to be interpreted as "He think we'll get 3, or 4 or 5 newgens which could be better players than our current reserve players." (I want to mention that I am not "sure" of what I said above. It's just speculation and it can be wrong !)

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Well, Mr DoF gave me an interesting suggestion. But he did not give me the solution for the countless refusals I received. Practically, almost all players over the age of 17 did not even want to hear about a contract or a loan at our club. Worse, even some 16 and 17-year-old players did not agree to be loaned to us.

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In the end, however, we managed some transfers. In fact, we have proposed trials for about 50 players. About half of them accepted, and out of the 10-12 who seemed good enough, we managed to convince 6 players to come to us on loan. They are all very young, 17 years old, and none of them are much better than the players we already had in the squad.

As for the departures : two players left. Our 170 cm tall goalkeeper and Ramirez, a good player but who has always been injured in the last 6 months. I wouldn't say these two are a big loss ...

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The fact that absolutely all the players in the squad have 4 PA stars is a simple coincidence. I was not specifically looking for "only 4 star PA" players. In fact, on this occasion I discovered that the scout (the only one we had) and my assistant manager had very different opinions. Some players strongly recommended by the scooter have been labeled by the assistant as "mediocre" and other players are considered very good by the assistant and "mediocre" by the scout.

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The comparison between the team report from June (2021) and the current one seems to suggest that the current squad is just a little better. Just a little.

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Friendlies. Quite good results, especially given that in all of them 4-5 trialists played 45 or 90 minutes. However, it is obvious that "official" games will be more difficult.

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January 2022

We managed to get 5 points even if both in the first game and third game the team played poorly.

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The atmosphere in the dressing room is very good and the managerial support has improved significantly in the last few weeks. It's normal because these two players which left in December were team leaders and they both had a rather bad opinion about their manager.

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February 2022

The first three games in February were frustrating. The team did not play badly but the results are not satisfactory. Only 4 points out of 9.

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I didn't expect that, but ... Of course, I promised I would try to improve the game and the results. I'm not sure I can do that but at least I can try.

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The first match after the meeting was a great disaster. Until the 25th minute the opponents had 5 shots, of which 4 were on target ... and all were goals. Clearly, chances of avoiding being sacked are minimal now.

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What can I say ? It does not matter anymore.

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March 2022

The first game of the month. I'm not surprised, a possible victory would have been a miracle.

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Consequences :

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However, there is one positive thing: I have gained some experience and my skills are now a bit better developed :

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Of course, I immediately started applying for jobs. And I quickly received two interview offers

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Surprisingly, both clubs notified me almost at the same time that they were willing to offer me a job. The fact that I had two offers allowed me to choose. The question is ... what to choose. A short presentation of those two clubs :

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There is also a detail that does not appear in the screenshots: from the 2nd Guatemalan league I could relegate, but from the 2nd Honduran league ... no, because there is no promotion-relegation system. This, as well as the fact that the name of the club is ... interesting, led me to this choice :

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So I'm the new (virtual) manager in Río Lindo. Brief statement: Río Lindo is a small town where about 3,500 people live. "Brasilia" does not play its home games in Río Lindo, but in the neighboring city, Santa Cruz. The stadium is quite small (2400 places) and, since Santa Cruz is not a big city either (only 18000 inhabitants), attendances or gate receipts income will probably never be very big. The club is semi-professional and has minimal facilities. As there is not much money, obviously the chances to improve the facility in the coming years are not too high.

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Being a semi-pro club, Brasilia does not spend too much on wages. Last year they spent more money to build their stadium but now income and expenditure are much lower.

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Board's requests are not restrictive at all, especially since there is no relegation from the 2nd league.

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The team does not have much potential. Media prediction ranks it as one of the weakest teams in the second league. Results seem to confirm the prediction: only one win in 9 games and 8th place (last) in the table.

By the way, the 2nd league includes 32 teams divided into 4 groups of 8 teams. It is played in two stages, opening (apertura) and closing (clausura). Each stage means 14 games in the regular season and a playoff with 16 teams (top 4 teams in each group are qualified). The winner of the opening playoff and the winner of the closing playoff play in the league final and the winner of this final is promoted to the first league.

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The senior squad is full of "stars" (at least in terms of PA) ... but that doesn't mean those players are very good. In fact, the assistant's report is much more suggestive as it confirms the low quality of these players. I could say we have one of the weakest senior squads in the entire league.

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Players from the u21 team are in the same situation: potentially they seem pretty good but probably their quality level is low. Worse, the development of any young player will be severely affected by the club's minimal facilities and mediocre backroom staff.

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Did I say the backroom staff is mediocre? It really is ! Maybe with one exception : the assistant manager is really good (for this level, of course)

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April 2022

Last 5 rounds of the season were played and the results were better than I expected. We were lucky in 3 matches and we probably don't deserve to win 8 points ... but for now it doesn't matter.

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Some statistics. They doesn't contain much useful information, but at least they could suggest a list of players who have stood out ... and a list of those who are not needed. 

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The atmosphere in the dressing room is completely different from that of Once Lobos. First of all because Once was a professional club and Brasilia is a semi-professional club. I have neither a license nor experience, so ... a semi-pro club is more suitable for my professional level. Secondly, at Once Lobos were 3 team leaders and all 3 showed from the first day their lack of trust for their new manager. At Brasilia there is only one team leader (Erick Velasquez) who is more concerned with his own injury (6 months !) than with my managerial (lack of) qualities.

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Youth intake 2022

It looks very impressive but in fact it is a confirmation that the senior squad has a low quality level. Probably the best teams in the league (or those with better facilities) have received young players who do not have so many "stars" ... but they are certainly better in terms of quality. In addition,  at a club with minimal facilities even youngsters with high potential have a low chance of reaching that potential. Probably only 5 or 6 of these players will end up as good or better than the senior squad reserves. 5 or 6 if i'm lucky. They could be even fewer.

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Immediately after the last match I received some encouraging news: the wage (and transfer) budget will be increased from 15,000 per year to 25,000 per year. It's not a big amount, but it's better anyway.

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Final tables for several leagues in nearby countries :

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Continental competitions and World Cup qualifications :

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Something about the club's reputation. It's very low. From this point of view we are about the 40th club in the country. This, plus the fact that we are only a semi-professional club significantly restricts our chances to transfer good players.

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The table above is probably not very significant, which is why I tried to compare the reputation of our club with the reputations of some English clubs. It seems that our reputation is similar to that of some clubs which play in the 7th English league. The best clubs in the country would be at the EFL League One (3rd level) level. And the strongest clubs in North America could play in the EPL.

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June - July 2022

The best member of the backroom staff (my assistant manager) has left. He did not even want to discuss a possible extension of the contract. Unfortunately I can't replace him because I promised that I won't make any changes in the staff. I can't even hire an additional scout and I can't replace the chief scout, despite the fact that he has very low JCA and JPA abilities.

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Finances. They're a little better now. We have a higher budget wage, which is very good because some of the best players have already started asking for new contracts and higher salaries.

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Fortunately, board's expectations have not changed. We do not have a clearly specified objective, we just need to get reasonable results.

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We released a few players who weren't needed or who really wanted to leave ... and we made two really good transfers. I invited about 40 players to the trials. Some of them didn't want to come, others were even weaker than my players ... and others did not want to talk about any transfer or loan.

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Senior squad does not differ much from that used last season. In addition to the two transferred players, we also included in the team the best players received at the youth intake in April. By the way, the team also includes two other players received at the 2021 youth intake (Marvin Alvarez and Clavesquin)

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Team report does not seem to be very encouraging. We continue to have a mediocre squad, maybe a little better than a few months ago ... but clearly below the average of the second league teams.

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Media prediction is based on the club's reputation and the quality of the players who are part of the senior squad. As our reputation is low, it seems that our team is a bit better this season ... or that other teams have lost important players during the summer break.

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We played countless friendlies. Maybe not all these friendlies were necessary but I had to check the players and adapt the tactical configurations. Results were not so important.

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August 2022

What can I say ? 13 points from 5 games. It can't be better. However ... there is a problem: the team played well but not as well as the results would suggest. XG describes much better the way the 5 matches were played: about 8 expected goals for and about 7 expected goals against. In other words, opponents let a lot of space in their defense and did not focus enough in our half.  This does not mean that opposing teams will continue to play in the same way until the end of the season.

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We lost the best central defender (and one of the best players in the squad) because I did not properly negotiate the loan agreement. I forgot to specify that I want him to play DC and his team manager recalled him because the player does not play as NCB. 

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September 2022

I was expecting this. Only 5 points. Opponents are playing something different now. We are no longer in first place but we still have the chance to qualify for the playoffs. But only if we can get some points in the last 4 rounds of the opening stage.

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October 2022

We were extremely lucky in the first game ... but we didn't manage to end our poor run of form. However, those 3 points we won were still enough to qualify for the playoffs.

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Qualifying for playoffs is not in itself a great performance because 16 teams (half of the 2nd league) can get it. But Brasilia is a relatively small and poor club and the fact that we finished in the top half is encouraging for the moment.

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The dressing room atmosphere is not good at all but I don't have much to do yet. Because I have limited facilities and the quality of the backroom staff is low, I can't get all the information I need. Players' reactions suggest I don't have a very professional team at my disposal. Most players think they did their job well and any failures are not their fault. Of course, season expectations were not too high and the players are not wrong if they are satisfied with what they have achieved, but their reaction imposes certain restrictions on me. I can't ask the players to play better ... but I can ask them to ignore the importance of next matches and play without any pressure. 

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November 2022. Playoffs.

It could have been much better ... but even worse. The second game was really good. We didn't qualify but I didn't expect to succeed either.

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Players stats. Bernardez and Nunez are players received at the 2022 youth intake and Marvin Alvares is from the 2021 intake.

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The best 11 players in the senior squad and the best player in the u21 squad (Castillo):

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November 2022 - January 2023

I promised many things. So many things that I have to check the list of promises every month because I can't remember them all.

- I got rid of some of the restrictions regarding backroom staff. Unfortunately I can't take advantage of that. I would have needed an assistant manager and a job but we don't have enough money to hire people with better skills than those who already work at the club. For now, I use my HOYD as an assistant manager. It's not a long-term solution (his coaching skills are limited) ... but it works. As for the recruitment team, they are good at anything ... except scouting. They all have low JPA and JCA. Unfortunately, even scouts who would have accepted the salary offered by us did not have higher attributes.

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- The players we loaned create a lot of problems for me. In September we lost a very good central defender (Padilla) and in November-December we lost two more players: midfielder Rhodes and goalkeeper Vargas. The first of them can be easily replaced. The second, however, was our best goalkeeper. In both cases I was wrong because I did not properly appreciate the terms of the loan agreement.

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- Romero is a very important player for us because he is practically our playmaker. In the fall season he did not play very well and the fact that he is unhappy affects both his game and the game of the whole team. I do not intend to give up on him and he has not received any interesting offers (all the offers received are "no money" and I do not intend to let an important player leave us for free).

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Why am I worried about Romero's situation? Because three other important players have exactly the same opinion. Romero probably has a higher ambition, but that doesn't mean the other three might not react the same way one day. We don't need other strikers but ... I'll transfer an additional experienced striker to reduce the players' dissatisfaction.

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Youth intake preview. As far as I understand, we could receive a central defender with potential of "future first team player" and some players with potential of "mid-level players compared to the current group, possible future reserve players". But because my HOYD can only see a generic image (players are not fully defined yet) ... his evaluation is only indicative. In addition, my HOYD doesn't have good judging skills, so his opinion can't be too accurate either.

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About the manager's development : something strange happened. In just 8 months, two of my attributes ("working with younsters" and "level of discipline") have grown unusually much. I don't know if it's a random development or it's related to certain actions I've done.

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Honestly, I don't know if (and how) I can use this information. Of course, a player who has a negative influence should not be a leader or highly influential player. But I have no idea what effects the lack of leaders has.

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For now, the financial situation is good. However, some expenses are too high and must be cut: staff wages. And who is that staff member who "eats" almost a third of the budget? Well ... the manager himself. It sounds hilarious, but I'll have to sanction myself and cut my salary by 75%.

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Transfers. I managed to find a pretty good striker. Unfortunately, it's not exactly what I would have liked but other better ones didn't want to negotiate with us. I tried to borrow Vargas (the goalkeeper) again ... and I really did. We negotiated convenient clauses and brought him back to our squad. But immediately after that the player was transferred to another club in the first league and the loan agreement was canceled.

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Squads. We have countless stars and we are very galactics from this point of view. From other points of view, however, we have a mediocre squad, especially in terms of acceleration, pace, vision and many other abilities.

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Friendlies. I tried to restore the team's morale. Looks like I made it. But I failed to change the tactical configurations as I would have liked. Opponents have played much weaker than in official matches and I'm not sure what I've changed now will work well in those matches.

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January - February 2023

It hurts. Only 4 points out of 18. And we don't even deserve more.

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March 2023

Some people might ask : hey, man, how many times have you used the famous tactic called "reload" ? I really didn't use it. I did nothing but change some team instructions (tempo > standard, pressing intensity > more urgent, defensive line > standard, line of engagement > higher). By the way, I use gegenpress, a configuration that is known not to require special tactical skills. Of course, it would be much more realistic and challenging if I used a more difficult configuration, but each person has his limits. At the moment I am only a manager fired twice in just a few months. In any case, we defeated (with a less aggressive gegenpress) some teams that we normally would not have had any chance to defeat. How could that be explained ? I'm not sure, but I guess opponents thought these matches were easy to win and didn't focus on them. Unfortunately, this means our good run of form will end when our opponents will start taking us seriously again.

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April 2023

The last 3 games can be easily characterized : a lot of luck. We won 7 points but in at least 2 of those 3 games we played weaker than our opponents.

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We managed to qualify for the playoffs. Not because we played very well but because our opponents considered us a second hand team that can be easily defeated. In the overall table we are on the 11th place, far above the most optimistic expectations.

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Playoffs

What can I say ? The team played well, even very well (for our level). But they managed the great performance to concede 6 goals from 7 shots on target ...

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Player stats.  We depend on a core of 5 players (Marin, Marvin Alvarez, Johnson, Bernardez and Luis Paz). Three of these five players are youngsters trained at our club. Unfortunately, other players don't play at the level I would have expected. Especially Romero, a player who doesn't want to or isn't able to play better.

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Youth intake 2023

It's not a big difference compared to the previous season, except that this year the average current ability is lower. It's pretty weird, and I'll talk about that later.

Oh, one more thing: that name, Erick Welcome. Sounds interesting. I can say he is really welcome at our club.

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What does u21 squad look like after this youth intake? Very promising, at least in terms of potential. However, one aspect is worth noting : the best players of the 2022 intake (Bernardez and Nunez) are not sought after by important clubs. There is some interest for Bernardez, but only from some second league clubs. And only if it is available "for free". Nobody wants to pay a transfer fee, not even $ 3,000.

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Some team stats. We played 32 games (28 in the regular season, 4 in playoffs), scored 49 goals and conceded 50. Regarding goals scored, it should be noted that it was relatively easy for us to score because we do not have a great reputation and the opponents left enough space in their defense. With goals conceded, it's something else. We received a lot, partly because the quality of our players is low ... and partly because I used gegenpressing and our (way too) advanced defensive line was easy to overcome when opponents really focused to do it.

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The board is very satisfied, which is normal because the team exceeded their expectations. As for next season, goals are minimal. We'll probably have to avoid to lose too many games. And, additionally, I have to decrease club's expenditures as much as possible.

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I also received the notification regarding budgets for next season. They are bigger. When I was hired, the cumulative budget (wages and transfers) was about 15,000. Last season it was 25,000. Now it has reached 30,000. What can we do with this budget? Can we strive for professional club status? No way ! For a professional club the minimum would be at least 80,000, maybe even more. Improving facilities? It can't be done yet. In fact, my problem is I can't even renew my contract :

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 Four days later, however, the "absolutely necessary" moment arrived :

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I did't forget I have to reduce expenditure, so I decreased my wage by 75%.  (Truly heroic attitude. Luckily, this is just a game).

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Future transfers preview. I have to give up two players. The first one (Jose Paz) gets injured whenever I really need him. It is obvious his injury proneness is not good at all. Second, the great Romero. He definitely wants to leave and it's better to let him do it. As for the arrivals, I agree with my players : we need at least two good midfielders.

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At the beginning of the season the backroom staff consisted of 14 people. I gave up some of them because they were not strictly necessary, at least for now. Others flatly refused to extend their contracts because "they are looking to move to a more prestigious club." The consequence : at 1st of July the staff consists of only 5 people (including me). Immediately after the mass departure (or because of this?) the board decided to propose an increase of wages for the only one coach i'm allowed to hire. Which wouldn't be bad, especially since I urgently need a good assistant manager.

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16 hours ago, GreenTriangle said:

Youth intake 2023

It's not a big difference compared to the previous season, except that this year the average current ability is lower. It's pretty weird, and I'll talk about that later.

A little more about these youth intakes :

Intake 2022. 15 players, many of them apparently having a (very) similar PA

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But do they really have a similar PA ? The real distribution of their PA :

- 20 and below : 2 players

- between 21 and 30 : 6 players

- between 31 and 40 : 5 players

- between 41 and 50 : 1 player

- between 51 and 60 : 1 player

There's a difference between 25 and 50 ... I think. But my HOYD doesn't seem to see this difference. However, in this case, both players with a PA higher than 40 are easy to identify because they have a high CA.

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Intake 2023. 16 players, many of them apparently having a (very) similar PA

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The real distribution of their PA :

- 20 and below : 5 players

- between 21 and 30 : 3 players

- between 31 and 40 : 6 players

- between 41 and 50 : none

- between 51 and 60 : none

- above 60 : 2 players.

Can anyone identify those two players who have a PA higher than 60? I can't. Of course, my HOYD has low skills. His JCA / JPA are 5 and 6. But even so ... how come he can't distinguish between "32" and "more than 60"? 

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And a little more about my tactical approach.

As I said before, I use gegenpressing. Which is not really a tactic but a template on which derived tactical configurations can be built. It is known that gegenpressing is very effective. Some people say it would be unrealistically effective. But how does gegenpressing differ from other templates? I made a list :

Differences between : control posession and gegenpressing (Default mentalities : balanced / positive)
Huge differences : tempo (lower / extremely high)
Big differences : transition when posession has been won (default-balanced / counter)
Significant differences : passing directness (shorter / standard)

Differences between : tiki taka and gegenpressing (Default mentalities : positive / positive)
Huge differences : tempo (much lower / extremely high) and transition when posession has been won (hold shape / counter)
Big differences : passing directness (much shorter / standard)
Significant differences : -

Differences between : vertical tiki taka and gegenpressing (Default mentalities : balanced / positive)
Huge differences : tempo (lower / extremely high)
Big differences : focus play (through the middle / balanced)
Significant differences : passing directness (shorter / standard)

The first conclusion : in terms of defensive approach there are no big differences between gegenpress, control-possession and tiki taka. Instead, there are big differences in the overall reaction after the moment of winning possession. Gegenpressing is very aggressive and the other templates are not.

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Differences between : wings play and gegenpressing (Default mentalities : balanced / positive)
Huge differences : attacking width (extremely wide / fairly narrow)
Big differences : focus play (flanks / balanced), transition when posession has been lost (default-balanced / counter-press) and     line of engagement (lower / much higher)
Significant differences : tempo (higher / extremely high)

*****

Differences between : route one and gegenpressing (Default mentalities : cautious / positive)
Huge differences : transition when posession has been lost (regroup / counter-press)
Big differences : passing directness (extremely direct / standard) and use tighter marking (yes / default-balanced)
Significant differences : tempo (higher / extremely high), defensive line (lower / higher), line of engagement (standard / much higher) and pressing intensity (standard / extremely urgent)

Differences between : fluid counter-attack and gegenpressing (Default mentalities : counter / positive)
Huge differences : -
Big differences : tempo (slightly higher / extremely high) and line of engagement (lower / much higher)
Significant differences : passing directness (shorter / standard)

Differences between : direct counter-attack and gegenpressing (Default mentalities : counter / positive)
Huge differences : -
Big differences : transition when posession have been lost (default-balanced / counter press) and line of engagement (lower / much higher)
Significant differences : passing directness (more direct / standard) / tempo (higher / extremely high) and defensive line (lower / higher)

Surprisingly, there are great similarities between fluid counter-attack and gegenpressing. It can be said that fluid is a much less risky version of gegenpressing. Or, conversely, gegenpress is a much more aggressive version of fluid counter-attack.

Since this resemblance seemed interesting to me, I intend to use in the next half of the season only tactical configurations based on the fluid counter-attack template. Of course, it's very likely it won't work and I'll be fired. Or to get extremely poor results. But, after all, this is also a form of realism. "My" club has by no means the strength to impose itself in the second league in the coming years. So I can afford to spend a season or two experimenting with various things.

Restrictions: I'll follow the general idea of the template. So, I'll use mainly cautious mentality and only occasionally standard mentality. I will use only shorter (default) or standard passing directness and only slightly higher (default) or standard tempo. I can give up 'Get stuck in' if necessary. Other changes to team instructions are not allowed. Instead, I can choose any role or duty and i can use any player instruction.

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Posted (edited)

So, a new season. But first, some final tables of the Central American and Caribbean leagues and, additionally, final phases of the main continental competitions held in the previous season :

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Board expectations. Same as last season : "hey, man, don't spend too much and ... it wouldn't be a bad idea to win some games. If you can".

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Club reputation. The previous season was very good for us (even just qualifying for the playoffs is a significant performance for my club). But that doesn't mean our reputation has improved much. Last year we were - as a reputation - the 29th club of the 2nd league (ie the 39th in the country). Now it's a little better, we climbed two places. But we continue to have a lower reputation than any club that plays in the English 6th league.

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Media prediction. Nothing special. We are "the little ones that any club with some good players would easily beat".

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Club finances. Everything is fine, for now, especially us because we managed to hire some new members of the backroom staff. They're not much better than the ones who left ... but at least now we have a coach and a scout. We do not have an assistant manager yet because good assistants demand much higher salaries than the club can offer.

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Transfers. A new player will come (Andino, a central defender). The second transfer (Javier Torres) played with us in the previous season, but than he was on loan. He was fired from his club (that clearly  proves his exceptional qualities !) and immediately signed a contract with us.

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The (senior) squad. Their quality level? Slightly better than last year, but still mediocre.

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Dressing room atmosphere. Everything is fine for now.

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As I said in the previous post, this season I will no longer use gegenpressing template but tactical configurations based on the "fluid counter-attack" template.

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August 2023

The first game was exceptional. The next three games ... we shot on target 14 times. We didn't score any goal, but it's normal, because we can't create clear chances to score. A lot of shoots were from outside the penalty box or from positions from which it is difficult to score.

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The atmosphere in the dressing room has already become ... interesting.

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September 2023

It hurts. I changed the tactical configuration, and this had immediate and spectacular effects: now we play even worse than in the first four games. However, we even managed to get a win. It could have been worse ...

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Why am I not surprised ?

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"I understand you, my friend. You've seen the last games, I know what you felt. It would probably be a good idea for us to do exactly what you did. At least this would boost our morale ..."

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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Of course, my coach (who I also use as an assistant manager) suggested I use the "weapon" called team meeting. I didn't accept because using it repeatedly can diminish its efficiency ... and it is very possible that I'll need its full potential in the future.

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October 2023

I changed the tactical configuration again. I had no illusions, but I wanted to check if by using a second striker our offensive game will improve. It hasn't improved.

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Last place in the group table, ... and 28th place in the overall table. Probably the use of "team meeting" would have brought us one or two or even three additional points, which would have allowed us a slightly better positioning in the tables. Generally speaking, however, this is our real quality level at the moment.

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The board are pleased. Really ? I'm happy to see this. But, of course, I'm sure they'll become much less pleased if I'll try to repeat these "performances" during the second half of the season.

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Player stats are quite interesting. My strikers scored 5 times. Good for them ! But they were not able to provide even one goal assist. Because I know them well enough, I know it's not their fault. The offensive midfielders were simply too far away to give them decisive passes. By the way, my wide midfielders scored quite often last season. Now, however, they have managed to score only one goal and provide only three assists in all those 14 rounds they played.

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A strange thing. In seven of the 14 games played, the opponent scored its first goal right from its first shot on target. Moreover, in two games we conceded the second goal from the second shot on target. I guess it's a coincidence ...

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This stat doesn't say too much. Eventually it suggests we played much weaker than last season. And I already knew that.

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 The "fluid counter attack" experiment is over. I have not yet decided what I'll do in the future. I could try another experiment or go back to tactical configurations based on gegenpressing. Most likely I'll choose the first option, even with the risk of being fired until the end of the season.

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Posted (edited)

So, I gave up the use of tactical configurations based on the "gegenpressing" template and I used tactical configurations based on the "fluid counter-attack" template. What happened as a result of this option ? I classified the goals scored / conceded according to the area from which the assist was sent or, if it was more significant, according to the way they were scored / conceded.

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I have not changed the distribution of players' positions / roles / duties nor their specific instructions. I mainly used the configuration defined by the "fluid counter attack" template, but in some games I changed the mentality, passing directness and tackling intensity.

Templates

There are some significant differences, especially in terms of decreasing our offensive strength. For this reason, for the second half of the season I decided to use a more risky template : control posession. Also, as low morale has led to an increase in the number of players' mistakes, I have decided to use "team meeting" when needed.

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December 2023

Youth intake preview. So ... we might get about three or even four players who seem to have the potential of a first team player. We'll also receive some players with a potential similar to the current reserves. But as our facilities are almost non-existent and the coaching staff is mediocre, the players will not be able to develop much. I would need some players with a reasonably good current ability ...

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January 2024

Transfers and squad.

I brought three players (Grant, Perez, Carlos Garcia), all being offensive midfielders. Four other players (Ramirez / DR, Giron / DL, Castillo / ST and Euceda / ST) were promoted from the u21 squad. In terms of departures ... our star player (Romero) was - at his request - on the transfer list. I asked for a very small amount, only $ 500. Nobody wanted him. That's about the level of my team ...

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A list of the best players the club has :

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The team's morale has been low since the pre-season, mainly due to the mediocre results of the friendlies. We managed the great performance to win only one game (out of 8) and to score only 5 goals.

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February

Three points only. I can't complain, we didn't deserve more. It could have been worse.

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Of course, the team's morale is getting worse. The team coach (who, for financial reasons, is also my assistant manager) suggested that a team meeting would be needed. I agreed with him.

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March 2024

Yay, one more point ! We should celebrate this event !

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Club atmosphere is better now, but only because I used the team meeting twice (at the beginning and at the end of this month)

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April 2024

Three more points! Awesome ! After a fierce fight, my team managed a great performance : to avoid the last place of the overall table !

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Some player stats. Nothing interesting to see ...

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And some team stats. From my point of view they are more interesting because they highlight certain trends in the game (FM)

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Youth intake 2024. Generally speaking, it's not much different from the youth intakes of the previous two seasons. We've got players with a lot of "stars" but who actually have a low quality level. However, there is one exception : a player who - in my opinion - will quickly become one of the best players in the league. With one condition: to leave us as soon as possible.

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The takeover

Chairman Hernandez is no longer willing to fund a club that has not achieved (and probably will not achieve in the future) any significant performance.

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It seems neither the new chairman does not want to invest too much. He decided to inject an additional amount ($ 3,000), which represents only 2% of the club's yearly expenditure.

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However, there are some positive aspects. First of all, the new chairman doesn't want to fire anyone yet, not even me. Second, the goals for next season (and the club’s vision in general) have not changed. Third, the new chairman accepted the budgets proposed by the previous chairman. I will therefore have a cumulative annual budget (wages and transfers) of $ 45,000, so 50% higher than the one available in the recently finished season.

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Somehow, I managed to cut the club's expenditure by $ 30,000. It's not enough. A new cut will be needed next season, and that's because a big increase in income is unlikely and the board probably won't be willing to spend more.

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I did not use "wing play" template at all and not even the modified instructions had anything to do with "wing play". I can't understand why did the game (FM) come to believe i used this configuration ...

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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Posted (edited)

Season 2023 - 2024, CONCACAF. Some national and continental competitions :

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June - July 2024

I would need a coaching license. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait. There isn't money for this ...

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... but there is money for other improvements :

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For now, finances are fine. Income fell because the board halved their annual funding, but even so the club found enough funds to increase the budget (wages and transfers) to about $ 50,000 per year.

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Interesting. Azacualpa FC have a better reputation than Brasilia Rio Lindo and in the previous season they managed a good performance (11th place out of 32). In media prediction they are listed as being a mid-table team. For now, however, I am not interested in damaging my relationship with my club's board.

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Squads, transfers, released players.

The club pays no less than 60 players, 24 as part of the senior squad and 36 in the U21 squad. Too many players for a small semi-professional club. Normally such a club does not need more than 40 players, youngsters included. The problem is (with very limited facilities and a mediocre backroom staff) evaluating the players' quality is difficult. Theoretically, almost all of them are "4-star PA players". But what does that means ? They are all good players or are they all mediocre ? The only solution was to release the players according to their attributes (especially the mental ones) and their personality.

Squads

Squads selection

We didn't transfer anyone because we didn't need extra players, and other clubs don't need our players. I received some offers for the best players, but all these offers were "no money".

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Released players :

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Senior squad members at the beginning of the season :

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Eight young players who were promoted from the U21 squad :

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The backroom staff. Nothing has changed, compared to the previous season :

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Expectations and media prediction. As in the previous year : "win a few games, if you can. Nobody expects more".

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All these friendly matches aimed to increase the team cohesion and improve the club atmosphere. Both objectives have been satisfactorily achieved.

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Tactical approaches. I intend to return to gegenpressing, but not to the predefined template. I'll keep those two instructions regarding the transition (counter and counter-press) because gegenpressing does not work without their use. Instead I will try to experiment with the mentality (positive, balanced or counter), engagement line (higher or extremely high), defensive line (higher or standard), tempo (higher or standard, extremely high not being recommended for a team without any special technical abilities). I will reduce the intensity of the pressing so as not to tire the players excessively and I will try to play both with and without "pass into space" and "play out of defence" instructions.

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August 2024

Wow, six points ! Not bad at all ! We were lucky and didn't deserve more than four points, but it's good anyway.

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September 2024

Four more points. Good enough. Unfortunately, the last two games have shown we are still a "bottom table" level team.

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Club atmosphere is getting lower and lower. And, of course, the number of dissatisfied players is getting higher and higher.

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October 2024

Another two points. We don't deserve these points either, but it doesn't matter anyway because with or without them we are still on the last place of the table.

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27th place out of 32. What can I say ? Disappointing ...

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Players' stats :

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September - December 2024

Finally, the board accepted my coaching course.

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We lost a very good left defender. But it was to be expected because I made a mistake when I accepted very restrictive loan conditions.

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I didn’t think it would be possible ... but I tried. Of course, without any success. We have no money.

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Youth intake preview. It depends on the interpretation. We could get four very good players ... or just two, one of them being able to play both MC and AMC.

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January 2025

After 4 years of career, I finally got a license. It didn't significantly improve my skills but it was necessary because I was the only manager in the 2nd league who didn't have a license. Some of them even have much more impressive licenses (national A or even continental C)

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In terms of transfers, the winter break was very quiet. I did not transfer any player, I did not release any player, senior squad remaining the same as in August. Instead, I increased the intensity of training and I changed the tactical configuration, giving up the (too risky) 4-1-2-3 DM and 4-3-3 wide configurations and adopting a more compact 4-1-4-1 DM

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February 2025

Seven games played, seven points earned. For our level this is a good performance.

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March 2025

We didn’t play worse than in February but now we were less lucky. Naturally, because in football (even the virtual one) no one can be lucky endlessly.

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Despite poor results, players continue to have a pretty good morale. Probably because we haven't reached the last place in the table yet.

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Wow! CDS Vida La Ceiba is - as a reputation - the 7th club in the country. Of course, this is just an interview. I do not have the reputation needed for a first league club and, moreover, I did not get good enough results in my managerial career.

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April 2025

Good enough. We played more aggressively (we had nothing to lose) and we managed to win a few points. Enough to avoid the last position in the group table and to get a pretty good place (24th) in the overall table.

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Players' stats.  It seems we have only one really good player, the striker Luis Paz. All other players are mediocre, regardless of their age and experience. From time to time one or other of them may have a very good run of form but, generally speaking, their quality level is low. Of course, their manager isn't too good either. He could have gotten better results even with these not very good players.

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Team stats. They are not very relevant. At most I could say this season was "lucky" in terms of the efficiency of my attacking players.

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But compared to the statistics from the previous season, some new elements are already appearing. We conceded 10 goals on every 27-29 shots. This ratio (29/10) is very low. It was far too easy for opponents to score. I probably left too much space in our defense. On the other hand, our offensive game was not good either. My attacking players can hardly reaching the opponent's box and are often forced to shoot at random because they are not properly helped by their teammates.

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But can it be said all these tactical configurations used were completely wrong? No. There is a proof : our U21 squad played exactly according to these configurations and did it quite well.

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Can be this explanained ? The qualitative difference between our senior squad and other senior squads is much highr than the difference between U21 squads. Other clubs can produce - maybe - equally good or better players, but they quickly promote them to the senior team or allow them to be loaned to other clubs. In addition, we receive more players (15-16) at the youth intake than the other clubs (7-9). So, our U21 squad is one of the best in its group. That means if our senior squad would be good enough I would probably have achieved very good performances even using less performing tactical configurations. It also means I didn't know how to adapt tactical configurations to the quality level of the team, so ... I'm not a good manager at all.

By the way, another proof of the failure to manage the team correctly : I shouldn't have allowed this player to do whatever he wants. But I allowed him ...

Mendez

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Youth intake 2025. It's similar to previous intakes ... with one exception. Marco Medina seems to be an extremely promising player ... at least for the 2nd league level.

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I did not expect this ! The cumulative budget (wages and transfers) will be four and a half times higher, meaning it will increase from $ 50,000 to $ 232,000 p / a ! However, as the income from other sources cannot be higher next year, it results the board will be forced to increase its financial support 6 times. In other words, our new chairman is a kind of sugar daddy. However, such a rain of money is a bit exaggerated. I would prefer to make my managerial mistakes with less money in the budget, which is why I not intend to extend my contract even if the club seems willing to accept an extension.

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Another interesting invitation to interview. Juticalpa FC have a very good reputation (they are the 5th club in the country) and have participated few years ago even in continental competitions. However, at the moment they are in a precarious situation, being only a few steps away from relegation from the first league (9th place out of 10 in the regular season, qualified for relegation playoff). However, I'll not accept this interview because even a possible relegated team from the first league represent a way too high level for a manager who has not achieved any performance during his career.

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I wished to try a new experience. As a result, I started looking for another club. But there were certain conditions : this club must play in the second league, have a slightly higher reputation than my former club and not be listed in the media prediction more than the "mid-table level team". I received some refusals, but in the end a club decided to offer me an interview ... and to hire me :

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July 2025. Some details about the manager and his career :

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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Leagues from the Central American and Caribbean region. Overall tables.

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And now, some details about the club that hired me. It's a professional club, so its players signed full-time contracts. However, it does not have too many financial resources and has not achieved any significant performance over time. All home games are played on a rather small stadium (only 4000 seats) but which, fortunately, has a very good pitch. Fortunately because this stadium hosts games for no less than 9 teams (ie 3 clubs, all of them having senior team, reserves and under21). Facilities are ... so and so. Training facility, youth facility and youth recruitment are rather mediocre (basic only). However, junior coaching is surprisingly good.

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About the location of the club : Quelepa is a small village, all matches of the local team being played in the neighboring town, San Miguel. Which is much bigger, over half a million people are living here. As a linguistic detail, "quelepa" comes from a local language and means "stone jaguar".

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As I said, in the previous years no significant performances were achieved. However, except for the 2022-23 season, the team successfully remained in the mid-table zone. Which is quite a lot for a club that for many years played in lower (regional) leagues.

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Finances. Well, here's a problem. The club has high debts, and this despite the board's serious efforts to support it financially. Almost two thirds of the club's income comes only from the funding provided by the board.

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Because it's not known if (and for how long) the board will be willing to spend more than $ 200,000 a year ... I'll probably have to cut expenditure in the future. However, as at my previous club, there is a small problem : I promised I would retain the size of the current backroom staff. I cannot, therefore, give up any of its members, whether or not I need them.

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Unfortunately, I also promised to keep my promises to the players, which was not a good idea. If I don't keep them (through my own fault or not), I will damage both my relationship with the players and my relationship with the board. That's why I'll probably avoid promising. I'd rather prefer to have unhappy players than have bigger problems with my players and the board.

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Club reputation. It's bigger than the one that Brasilia Rio Lindo had, but smaller than the one of my first club, Once Lobos. Comparative, it is similar to the reputation of a club at the bottom of the English 6th League.

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Squads.

We have three squads (at my old club, Brasilia, I only had two, seniors and U21). But that does not mean that we have many players. Only 35, and that's because the rules in El Salvador are different from those in Honduras. Here can be registered only 25 players and not up to 99. In terms of players' quality ... it's hard to assess. They are probably better than the ones from Brasilia, but, of course, the assistant's opinion can be subjective.

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Players' contracts and other details

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From the point of view of physical qualities everything seems to be fine. Even some technical skills are well developed, although mediocre technique and low defensive skills are not as good as they should be. Mental abilities, however, are worrisome. Teamwork, composure, anticipation, workrate, determination ... all are way too low.

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The available backroom staff looks pretty good, although it is oversized. Some of them have reasonable abilities and players will probably be able to develop well enough, even if their development will be certainly affected by the lack of some facilities.

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Of course, my reputation is mediocre, which is why even players can’t be too easily convinced they have that manager they want. On the other hand, there is another important factor : players' personality. Which can be extremely different from one team to another. It will probably be difficult for me to gain the players' trust. For now, my main concern will be to improve the cohesion and, if I can, to keep the atmosphere at a reasonable good level.

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July and first days of August

Transfers made in the last few days have been amazingly spectacular. I mean, I didn't transfer anyone. Nobody left, nobody came. The senior squad is almost the same as the one I found on my first day at the club, except for a few young players promoted from the reserve team.

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I moved all youngsters to the reserve squad because it is difficult for me to follow them as long as they are spread in two different teams. For now I'll keep the u21 squad only for youth intake players.

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My best 11 players. Maybe they're not all very good, but for now ... I have to believe the assistant's opinion.

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By the way, many of players on the list above are produced by the club, being received at youth intakes in previous years.

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I like this "be competitive". At least for now the board is tolerant. I don't necessarily have to get a certain position in the table and I don't have exaggerated restrictions in terms of style of play or transfers. However, I must take into account the media prediction. Certainly the board will not accept a position on the last 2-3 places of the group table.

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We played 9 friendlies. The first two opponents were extremely strong, being first league teams. The last 7 games (played against some lower quality opponents) aimed at increasing cohesion and improving the club atmosphere.

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I really wanted to play against my former players. The qualitative difference between these two teams was ... huge. What can this mean? Maybe players of CDL Quelepa are much better ... or maybe the former manager of the Brasilia Rio Lindo club was not able to form a competitive team. I'll see ...

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Manager support continues to be "poor". Unfortunately, the team has no leaders. There is a "highly influential player" (Rivera) but he is completely disinterested in helping his manager. Worse, he doesn't think the new manager is a good choice for Quelepa either. But there are also players who - it is not known why, they're probably masochists - sympathize with their new manager. But none of them is leader or "influential player".

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August 2025

My managerial debut at Quelepa was positive. 13 points out of 21 possible. There could have been even more but we stupidly lost a game (the one against Fuerte San Francisco) in which opponents had only two shots on target and scored their second goal in the 90+4 minute.

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September 2025

We won the first two games in September, but in the next three we only got two points, even if in all these games we had enough chances to win. We had a bit of bad luck.

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October 2025

Wow! 10 points out of 12 ! The team played worse than in the previous months but now we had that luck that we lacked in the previous month. We lost a very important player (offensive midfielder Marvin Alvarado, injured for at least 3 months) ... but on this occasion we discovered that our 17-year-old striker Hector Carabantes is surprisingly good if he is used on the AMC position

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November 2025, regular season

We ended the regular season with two defeats. It wouldn't be a problem, it can happen to anyone, but I was bothered by the extremely poor performance. It was played as if players wanted to go on vacation rather than play football.

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We managed to get the 3rd place in the group (6th in the overall table) and we'll play in the next stage, ie in the playoff in which the best eight teams of the league will participate. A pretty good performance for a club listed as "mid-table".

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November 2025, play-off

Quarter-finals. I had no illusions because I knew we were the weakest qualified team. However, the team played much better than in previous games and obtained an unexpected qualification in semifinals. In the second leg we could easily have won. But 60 minutes of very good play were followed by half an hour in which the team played extremely poor. It is possible that the half-time team talk was not exactly what was needed to keep the players focused.

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*****

Semi-finals. The draw gave us a difficult opponent ... but one we knew because we had played against it before. So, we had a chance to get good results and, who knows, maybe even get a qualification to the final. The very good result achieved in the first round really gave us a very high chance to qualify. Unfortunately, in the second round we managed to play well only one half (the first). In the second half I put too much pressure on the players, I chose a wrong tactic (way too risky) ... and we lost.

Short mention : in this stage rules for designating the round winner are : higher number of points; higher goals difference; higher position in the regular season table. Our position (3rd) was worse than theirs (1st).

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*****

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Players' stats. As the results were quite good - even better than I expected - there are also players who stood out. First of all, Marvin Alvarado, a player who was not considered by my assistant to be very good. But this player played very well, much better than other players that the assistant strongly recommends (especially Argueta). Other notable players would be Aparicio (goalkeeper), Mario Rivera (right wing), Luis Rojas (striker) and Hector Carabantes (AMC or, sometimes, backup for striker / right wing)

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Our best 11 players (until now) :

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Something is wrong : managerial support is growing extremely slowly. Team cohesion and club atmosphere are very good, but managerial support is still poor. Theoretically, it should be simple: a few conversations with players and a some praises should solve this problem. It's not that simple. I have a low reputation and players simply lack the confidence for such a manager.

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Are players dissatisfied with something? Training, treatment, playing time, management? No. Of course, they're not extremely happy ... but they aren't unhappy either :

Players' happiness

It seems that the lack of trust is caused by players' personality. I have many players who are characterized by a low temperament and a high level of "controversy". Such players are prone to react much more negatively than others to any event that bothers them. I have no choice but to wait, and in time to exclude some of these players from the squad. The fact that they have such a personality does not imply their lack of quality. They can be very good players, but their over-reactive personality can affect their morale and, therefore, their performance during matches.

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Personality / Media Handling : attributes

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Youth intake preview. So we'll receive at least one player who has a high potential, maybe even higher than the best players we have. It is not clear if it is only one or two players because a player can be as good as both attacking midfielder and striker. As for "an excellent group of players" ... doesn't mean too much. Eventually it could mean that we will also receive some players with a potential similar to that of the current backup players from the senior squad.

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Yay, I managed to transfer a player ! I knew that at the last youth intake my former club (Brasilia) received a very good young AMC. Initially they didn't want to give it to him, but we kept sending them offers ... and in the end they agreed, they even agreed to offer it to us without we have to pay any money. It seemed like an excellent business.

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Only after that I thought to check his personality. And what I discovered didn't like me at all. I just transferred a player I don't need. He has extremely low temperament and high controversy and is exactly this kind of player I have to avoid. Yeah, my exceptional managerial talent strikes again. Too bad I have to cancel this transfer, even if this boy has (at 16 years old) similar or even better abilities than my playmaker Argueta has at 20 ...

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January 2026

Thank you very much, Mr DoF. A very useful tip. I hope you heard something about the poor financial condition of our club ? We only have enough money for at most one better quality player. The least pretentious of them doesn't even want to negotiate for less than $ 875 per month.

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Of course, we didn't transfer any new player. Fortunately, we also didn’t lose players, at least not first team players.

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However, there are two changes in the senior team. First, we promoted the most promising youngster from the reserve team, Moises Mejia. Second, one of the players who are still on the list will leave in the near future, being in advanced negotiations with another club. I'm talking about Leonel Alvarado, a player who is not good enough for our "first eleven" anyway.

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Friendlies. We played poorly, unfortunately, and only the mediocre quality of our opponents helped us win a few games. However, the team's morale remained high enough.

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Not bad, but it could have been better ...

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And, of course, I quickly lost an important player, my best left midifelder. Unfortunately, those players who could replace him did not do well in previous games, and I don't think they will play better in the future. So, I need a new player :

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This player is not as good as I would like him to be. At least the combination "very low bravery" + "low strength" + "low balance" does not seem very suitable for a player who should fight with some strong and aggressive opposing defenders. But I couldn't find another better player.

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February 2026

What can I say ? We were veeeery lucky ! In the first game we played very well but lost two points from a penalty resulting from a completely useless foul. The second game was nice because we had two denied goals and the opponents scored their first goal from a position identical to the one where we were denied our first goal. The last game was very balanced ... but, of course, our opponents scored their winning goal in the 87th minute.

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Let's suppose we are going to play an away match against the leader of our group. Sounds pretty difficult, doesn't it? What if that team scores three goals in its first three shots on target? It seems extremely difficult. However, we played very well, we had at least 4 chances to score ... and we lost (5 - 2) a game in which our opponent scored three goals from long range shots. In the next two games we had a similar problem (we conceded a lot of goals) but the low quality of the opponents helped us to win.

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So far we've had a lot of bad luck, but we still have a pretty good chance of qualifying for playoffs.

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It seems that the managerial support has improved a bit. Team cohesion has also improved. Overall, it still seems to be fine ... so far.

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March 2026

Only 5 points out of 15. I don't have much to do anymore. This season is almost over. There are only 4 rounds to play and our chances of positioning on one of the first four places are almost 0 %.

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I knew what the answer would be, but at least I tried ...

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April 2026

One word: madness. So, the first game. We shot from all possible positions. Left, center, right, 10 yards, 4 yards, 20 yards, with and without defenders around, with the goalkeeper standing in his six-yard box or gone to buy some food. We only scored one goal, the opponents scored twice. All right, it still happens. The second game : we played poorly and ... of course, we won. The third game was quite balanced, although we created at least 3 clear chances to score. Opponents, however, scored 6 times and their striker (Repreza) managed a unique performance : during 90 minutes he shot 4 times. All four shots were on target ... and all four were goals (Ronaldo should hire Repreza as a teacher, he would have a lot to learn from him). And this despite the fact my defenders tried to mark him as strictly as possible. Fourth match : we played pretty poorly again ... but we scored five times ! It was probably some kind of compensation for the first and third game of this month.

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Of course, we didn't qualify for the playoffs. We positioned ourselves on the 6th place, a mediocre performance. Luckily for the manager, the position in the overall table was reasonably good (8th place) and the board is quite satisfied ... for now.

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Players' stats. Because the spring season was mediocre, it was obvious that players ’achievements were not too impressive either. At least two players (striker Rojas and offensive midfielder Marvin Alvarado) have played extremely poorly in recent months. Surprisingly, the goalkeeper and some defenders received quite high ratings despite the very large number of goals conceded by the team.

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Youth intake 2026

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At first glance, it seems to be a good intake. But I'm not sure how good it is. Neither the HOYD nor the assistant manager have good judging abilities, so it's very possible that some of their assessments will be subjective. Most of these players are very unevenly developed or have some problems with their personality traits. The only really promising youngster is Edwin Morales :

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Even Morales has some small problems : first of all, passing is much too low. Then vision, composure, concentration and dribbling. But at least ... there is a chance to become a very good player.

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Managerial support continues to be very low. Part of the players' lack of enthusiasm is probably due to the team's characteristics. Another part, however, is due to my inability to balance the players' morale. I can motivate them for a short period of time but we do not have very close relationships. In addition, I try to avoid promising them too much and I do not negotiate any dissatisfaction, no matter how unhappy they become afterwards. It's not the best way to improve their morale ...

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I'm not sure to what extent the manager's attitude influences the assessment of his abilities, but some influence seems to exist. Generally speaking, I do not take into account the mental state of players when setting up their training program. I only change something if one player becomes deeply unhappy or I have too many unhappy players. Probably from here comes that low level (only 6) regarding mental coaching.

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Finances

The club loses at least $ 70,000 yearly. This means in the future there are no chances to increase budgets or invest in facilities. I have nothing else to do but try not to exceed this $ 20,000 cumulative annual budget (wages + transfers). So, not only i can't transfer new players - at least for now - but it will even be necessary to give up some of those players we have in our squads.

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Injuries

Of course, it is possible I was wrong either in terms of training or in terms of overloading some players. However, my assistant claims that four players on this list (Guzman, Marvin Alvarado, Oscar Hernandez and Sinisterra) are more likely to get injured. I'm sorry to do that, but I'll give up at least two of them.

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For various and unclear reasons, the board seems to be satisfied with the manager's performance. I'm not so satisfied, but I'm not in the habit of contradicting chiefs, especially if their decisions are fine with me. In any case, they offered me a new contract.

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As I said, it will be necessary to give up some players. Normally there is no need for a detailed table, but for me it is easier to make decisions then I have all the data regarding available players :

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And this is the result (ie these are squads with which I'll start the new season) :

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I only have 21 players in the senior squad, and three of them are goalkeepers. Quite risky (especially in case of a large number of injuries), but if necessary I can call on some of that youngsters from the reserves squad.

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So, 13 former players left and the squad personality changed quite a lot :

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However, this does not mean that from a qualitative point of view we now have a much better team. Not nearly. Our senior squad can be assessed as being at the average level or even slightly below average level of the league.

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In the media prediction we are listed as being the 13th favorite. As expected, because the team quality and the club reputation aren't high at all.

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The board's requirements continue to be very reasonable: "be competitive ... and don't spend too much." There are also some rumors regarding a possible takeover but for now there are only rumors.

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So far, we only spend $ 17,000 a month out of the 20,000 available. But in the future there will be some contracts (re)negotiations and, in addition, activation of some salary increase clauses, so for now we cannot spend more.

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And now, some details about some national and international competitions :

Central American and Caribbean area. National leagues, final tables, season 2025 - 2026 :

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CONCACAF continental competitions, last 5 years (2021 - 2025) :

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World Cup 2022 and 2026; European Championship 2021 and 2024 :

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July 2026

We played a lot of friendlies. Only two opponents were very good (Aguila and Jocoro, both teams in the first league) and they both easily defeated us. Their level is clearly much higher than ours. Fortunately, we also played against some lower quality opponents. We won most of these games and these positive results helped me to keep the team's morale at a fairly high level.

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August 2026

The first two games were won quite easily, the team playing really well. But the third game ... was a disaster. We lost (0 - 5) after a game in which we failed to build any clear chance to score. Opponents did not play exceptionally but they successfully used all those halves of goal chances they had. In the fourth game we managed an exceptional performance, winning (4 - 2) oagainst ne of the main favorites for promotion. We were lucky because opponents played extremely risky and offered us a lot of spaces for counterattacks.

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*****

I can't believe it. The team plays very well (13 goals scored in just three games !), well above the level of a mid-table team. Of course, this series of very good results will not last very long. We do not have consistent players and our opponents (ie the AI) will in the end find ways to create problems for us.

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18 points out of 21 ! It's not bad at all. But only 7 rounds were played and anything is possible ...

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September 2026

It was expected. Only 6 points out of 16 possible. We were a little lucky with that 3-0 victory but we were unlucky in those two games when we allowed opponents to score in the last few minutes. I probably didn't choose the best way to approach these two endings. I shouted to players to be focused, but this was not enough.

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Difference between us and the team that is on the first place has increased a lot. Our goal for the end of the opening stage will be strictly the qualification for playoffs, thus 3rd or 4th place. For now we have good chances to meet this goal.

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*****

Although our last results were not very good, the club atmosphere (which had become very good since August) remained at a high level. Moreover, players' support for their manager is surprinsingly high now. It's the first time in more than a year when this support is slightly better than "average".

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October 2026

10 points out of 18. Again, we played pretty well, although we were humiliatingly defeated by a weaker team (CD Topiltzin). We qualified for playoffs, but we have a problem : the tactical configuration used so far is less and less efficient now. For now, I have no choice but to return to that configuration (based on a 4-4-1-1 positioning) used in the previous season.

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*****

6th place in the general table. A pretty good achievement. It could be even better, of course.

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I have to mention an important aspect : for a long time I thought promotion to the first league is decided after a final round played between the winner of the "opening stage" and the winner of the "closing stage". That's what happens IRL. In game, however, it will be promoted that team which is first in the overall table (= cumulative table for opening and closing stage). As the winner of this overall table usually accumulates 85-90 points, it is obvious that our 34 points are not enough for a possible promotion. Additional rounds (opening stage playoff and closing stage playoff) have the role of choosing the winner of each of these two stages but they don't have any importance for promotion.

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November and December. Playoffs

Quarter Finals

Our opponent will be Once Deportivo. The best team in the overall table ... and which in the previous season played in the first league. What are our chances? They are extremely low, almost zero. All I had to do was play more aggressively than my opponents (AI) expected, hoping they'll not score a lot of goals.

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What can I say? Even in a dream I would not have imagined that we could win at their stadium. And this difference of 4 goals is ... crazy. The second leg was much more difficult. In the second half our opponents definitely dominated us, but we were lucky with that goal scored (on a counterattack) exactly when we ended up being crowded in our own penalty box.

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Semi-finals

We were lucky, Municipal Ilopaneco being the weakest opponent available. They have a better club reputation than ours but they don't have better players.

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Overall, a well-deserved qualification. We played better in both games, even if we failed to win the first game.

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Opening stage - Final

The final opponent was to be Once Lobos Chalchuapa. That club which fired me early in my career. A very strong opponent, the 3rd favorite for promotion. However, we tried to play the way we played in the quarter-final, meaning we risked more than we did it in other games. Surprisingly, it worked! We won (4-0) away and the second leg was more easier than I expected because Once Lobos played way below their real potential.

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So, we won. We did not win the "Second Division" (as it is written) but only one of its stages. Were we the best team in the league? No, not at all. We were lucky. First, we met opponents who expected to defeat us clearly and easily. They gave us a lot of space for quick attacks or counterattacks. But, more importantly, there was a player without whom we probably wouldn't even have qualified for playoff : Hector Carabantes.  

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This guy won alone at least 7-8 games for us. He played 23 games, scored 23 goals, provided 11 assists and was always a great menace to any opponent. Why did he play so well ? I don't know. he probably has a great potential. I didn't check. Current attributes seem to describe a good player but by no means a high quality player. He probably has very good hidden attributes, who knows ? An interesting aspect : for 6 consecutive weeks he had the best training rating of the whole team.

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By the way, players' stats confirm my opinion. I can say we have some good players, at least for this level (2nd league). Aparicio, Rivera, Marvin Alvarado, Garcia, Punyed, Francis and Mario Rodriguez. But, of course, none of them can be compared with Carabantes.

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Manager support has increased a lot in just 10 days. From "a little above average" (before the first game of the final) it became "very good" immediately after winning the final. These two games seem to have been enough for me to become very influential.

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Youth intake preview.

It seems we'll receive two or even three players with a potential similar to that of our current important senior players. We will also receive some players who could become good enough to be backup for some first team players. I hope their personality will be positive enough to allow them to develop.

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As I said, we are far from being the best team in the league. Team stats are pretty clear : in the regular season we were a team at the level of "5th to 8th places, more 8th than 5th". In playoffs we were lucky, Once deportivo and Once Lobos being much superior in quality. Fortunately, they offered us a lot of space in their defense and we had a player (Carabantes) who was in an exceptional run of form.

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Are these statistics important? Yes, because they "tell" me that probably I won't be able to use too much time those aggressive tactical configurations I used during the fall season. AI is not a genius but it will understand the need to reduce spaces for my attacking players. So, in the spring season I'll try to use a configuration (based on the 4-1-4-1 positioning) not so aggressive but able to prevent opponents from crowding us in our penalty box. I don't know if it will work ... but I'll try.

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These are general configurations. In reality, I didn't use two wingers with attack duty too much. It's too risky. Usually the left wing plays support duty and the right wing plays attack duty, but sometimes reversing duties for wings can surprise the opponent. I don't have a holdng midfielder, which exposes the defense a lot. But such a midfielder would reduce our offensive strength, and several experiments have shown that it is better to score more than not allow more. I use some instructions specific for the gegenpressing shape, but not higher tempo. I don't have players able to play faster. Also, I gave up the "pass into space' instruction and the defensive line is not pushed forward. My defenders don't have good enough anticipation, quickness and agility. I tried something similar at my former club (Brasilia Rio Lindo) but results were disappointing. Probably those players did not have enough qualities to be able to play in such aggressive configurations.  As for that configuration I intend to use (4-1-4-1) ... it's still just an intention. The center-right midfielder coild be BBM ... but it might be safer if he is used as a holding midfielder or as a CM with support duty. I'll see ...

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Finances

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Our club's financial situation is not good at all. We have debts of almost $ 400,000. Fortunately, almost the entire amount is a owed to our board. Unfortunately, it is not known whether in these conditions the board will be willing in the future to significantly increase their contribution. We do not have very important sources of income. Prizes for winning national competitions are very small ($ 1000 for winning the second league and $ 15,000 for the national champion). We don't even have the option of gaining some money by playing in continental competitions. A decent participation in European competitions can mean at least $ 500,000 won. A qualification in the groups of European competitions can bring several millions. Unfortunately, these amounts do not exist in CONCACAF competitions. First of all, there are no groups, all qualifications being based on two-legs rounds. Secondly, prizes are very small (about $ 250,000, cumulatively, for qualifying for the Champions League semifinals and about $ 100,000, cumulatively, for qualifying for the CONCACAF League semifinals). So, we have only one solution: to reduce expenses as much as possible ... and to pray (no matter to whom) waiting for our board to give us more money.

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The fact we won one of the second league stages improved our reputation a little. Not much, but enough for the media prediction to be a bit more positive. We continue to be assessed as only the 14th favorite to win the league ... but our rating has dropped from 600/1 (in the fall) to only 250/1. A little better for us.

January 2027 - Media prediction

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Transfers

We were forced to transfer a player because our left flank was not properly covered. The best player, Francisco Alas, was injured and will not be able to return to the team until mid-March. His possible replacement, Oscar Hernandez, is prone to injuries (he has already been injured twice in the autumn season) and, in addition, he has played very poorly in recent months. As a result, we brought in a very promising player, David Rodriguez. His only problem is until the age of 21 he achieved almost nothing in his career. He played for three other clubs and ... he had rather mediocre performances. His transfer is therefore quite risky and it is possible that even at Quelepa he will not be able to stand out.

Oh, one more thing : it's about "future transfers" because the transfer period starts 5 days after the first round of the spring season.

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*****

There is still a change in the squad, apart form the the future arrival of David Rodriguez. Edwin Morales, although only 16 years old, seems good enough to deserve the chance to train (and maybe even play) with the senior team. Given the fact that we don’t have many quality midfielders, it is very possible he will play quite a lot of games, even if not all 90 minutes.

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*****

And a little about the second transfer made during the winter break. Marco Medina was "my" player at the previous club (Brasilia Rio Lindo). Specifically, he was received at youth intake exactly at the end of the season when I left. Since then, I was surprised by the very high level of his attributes ... and I was saddened by the fact that he had an extremely negative personality (conflictual, temperamental, unambitious). Of course, when I say "the level of its attributes is very high" I mean it is higher than the usual level for a player who plays in the second league in Central America. So, immediately after I was hired at Quelepa, I hurried to make a offer for Medina. Initially Brasilia refused any negotiations, but after a few months, they agreed to let him go. Even without asking for any money. It was clear he have some big problems and they want to get rid of him, no one will give up an exceptional player for free. For this reason I wanted to cancel this transfer ... but in the end I was curious to see if something can still be done with a player who has an extremely negative personality. Medina played for Rio Lindo for two years (because he could not be transferred before he turned 18) and, unfortunately, he played extremely poorly.

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January 2027

We played just a few friendlies but we didn’t need more. The atmosphere, cohesion and morale are very good anyway and players don't need a lot of games to adapt to the new tactical configuration.

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The spring season started very well, with 7 points out of 9 possible. They could even be 9 out of 9 but we have big problems when we have to score and our opponent plays very defensively.

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February 2027

9 points out of 18, but with a lot of luck. We didn't deserve to win against Once Lobos or against Vendaval. In addition, we got 0 - 0 against Racing, although the opponents played better than us and missed a penalty. We'll have to play better in the future ...

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It's good for now. We have no chance to reach the top 4 (overall table) but we have a good chance to qualify for playoffs.

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It's normal for team cohesion to be very high ... but the atmosphere and support for the manager are surprisingly good. Not because I did something specific, but probably as an effect of winning the playoff stage.

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March 2027

In the first two games we met opponents who were in an extremely weak form. Usually, many of those teams positioned in the last places of the table can play surprisingly well. In some cases, however, those teams have such big problems that they play very poorly. That's exactly what happened now. The next three games were much more difficult. We only got two points, although we played very well against Once Lobos and perhaps we deserved to win that game (especially because we had two denied goals and they scored their second goal just before the end)

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Qualifying for playoffs has become a bit more complicated. However, we still have a good chance because Ilopaneco will have to play against Limeno sand Once Lobos. And I don't think they'll be able to win a lot of points.

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April 2027

8 points out of 12, enough for qualification. We didn't play very well, but that's it. It could have been worse.

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The regular season is over. Deportivo Ahuachapan promoted to the first league. We still have the chance to try to advance as much as possible in the final stage of the spring season. The 6th place in the overall table is not exactly what I would have wanted .... but it's good enough, at least for now.

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Youth intake 2027

Theoretically, it's very good. Two players with a high potential (maybe even future first team players) and at least three more players with a pretty good potential. However, there are some problems. The only really good player is Joshua Navarro. The other players are either very unevenly developed, or they have a personality that could easily slow down their developing.

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Playoff stage

Quarter-finals

We were lucky in the draw : our opponent is not much better than us.

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What can I say ? In both matches we scored two goals each from the first two more important goal chances we had. We didn't play better than our opponents ... but we were (again) lucky.

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Semi-finals

:lol:The draw favored us again. In the other semifinal, the strongest teams in the league will face each other. We will play against a team that has not managed any performance in the last five years ...

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We qualified for the final but we played poorly. Fortunately, our opponents didn't play better either ...

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Final

We lost, as expected. The qualitative difference between the two teams was obvious and I can be very pleased because we conceded only three goals.

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**********

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Players' stats. Our team consists of Hector Carabantes ... and about 22 other people.

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The best 18 players :

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I don't know how "unbelievable" was my job and not even if I'm "the right person" for it ... but I know for sure that I like a happy board, especially if this board is ready to do a lot of crazy things :

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In other words, our cumulative budget (wages + transfers) will increase from about 240,000 per year (now) to 575,000 per year. Even clearer : 240,000 is the smallest budget of a professional team from the second league (by the way, in the league there are 12 professional teams and 8 semi-professional). 575000 represents about 15% more than the budget of the strongest teams in the league, Municipal Limeno and Once Deportivo Ahuachapan.

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:lol: Yay, this is exactly what we needed ! Can someone say menthoring can't be extremely useful for some players ?

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Some national and continental competitions, North and Central America, 2026 - 2027 season.

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The question is what could I do next. It would be normal to remain at Quelepa until I'll build a team strong enough to gain promotion to the first league. I am sure after a certain number of years I could achieve this goal. But what does "a certain number of years" mean? Two years ? Five years ? Ten years or more? It's hard to say. I'll play another season and, after that, I 'll decide if I'll continue with Quelepa or I should resign and look for another club.

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Finances

Yes, we have a big cumulative budget, probably the biggest in the entire second league. But the main source of income is represented by our board and it is not known how long they will want to provide such large amounts. So, I'll try to improve the team and the backroom staff without spending much more than I did it last season.

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Transfers

Until the start of the season we transferred four new players. However, as the transfer window opens a few days after the start of the season, they appear as "future transfers". I haven't released any player yet, although I intend to "clean up" reserves and under21 squads in the next few months.

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*****

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*****

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The backroom staff. Some of its members left, either because they were not strictly necessary (and their contracts were not extended) ... or because they wanted to leave for other clubs. Probably some improvements would be possible but for now our staff it's pretty good anyway.

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By the way, my abilities looks quite well even I have only a National C licence ...

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:lol: In just two months the relationship between the manager and the board has evolved from the level "you are the best" to the level "you are doing quite well but you still have a lot to learn" ...

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Media prediction. Nothing special. 12th or 13th favorite. In any case, a position in the first 8 places seems to be a very good performance.

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July 2027

Friendlies. It looks pretty good ... but it's not. We lost embarrassingly against two semi-professional teams. And, generally speaking, we played mediocre. There could be an explanation : we tested (trials) around 4-5 players during each game. I hope in the next games we'll start to play better ...

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August 2027

Only 9 points and a lot of goals denied in the last minutes. That's it.

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*****

Senior squad list after those four transferred players joined the team :

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Only three of them could be registered. The fourth will be registered in January, that is, after Moises Mejia leaves Quelepa. Unfortunately, Mejia did not want to sign a new contract with us and we lost him. By the way, Hector Carabantes does not want to extend his contract either. We'll lose our best players after this season ...

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September 2027

I gave up 4-1-4-1 and chose a more aggressive 4-4-2. Not because I had a great tactical idea, but because we have four strikers available and I wanted to use at least two of them. Coincidentally, this idea was successful because the team scored 16 times in 6 matches. 

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Everyone is happy. Except for the manager, who would have liked a few more points earned.

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October 2027

Only 5 points, and the last game was won with a lot of luck (3 shots on target, 3 goals scored)

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We have played very bad in the last few games. Fortunately for us, opponents played as bad as us ... or even worse. We didn't deserve this qualification, but ...

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8th place. I don't think these players will ever be able to get promotion to the first league ...

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November 2027

Playoffs

Our opponents in the quarterfinals were going to be Municipal Limeno, meaning the team that won 49 points out of 56 possible in the regular season. Of course, we had no chance to qualify. Anyway, we played poorly and we can be satisfied because we conceded only 5 goals. The difference could have been even bigger ...

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Players' stats.

The team played weaker than it did during last season. Almost all midfielders and wide defenders have been in a bad run of form. The only ones who stood out were the goalkeeper, central defenders and two of the four strikers. A special mention for the newcomer Moises Castro, who scored one goal every 101 minutes played, a truly remarkable performance.

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Team stats. As I said, we can't go beyond the level of "a good team ... but only for the 5th - 8th places".

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Youth intake preview. Summary: two players (a goalkeeper and a winger) who could be potential future first team players. And, in addition, a few other players who could have a high enough potential to be used as  backups.

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January 2028

Finances

Our club's debts keep growing and, unfortunately, we have no way to reduce it. The only salvation would have been a miraculous promotion and, possibly, a takeover by some investors willing to spend a lot of money. But as promotion is not possible in the near future, it is very likely we'll not even be able to keep the more talented players at the club. We have already lost an extremely important player, midfielder Moises Mejia, who did not even want to hear about an extension of his contract.

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If we wanted, we could have gotten some money as a result of Mejia's transfer. But the maximum possible amount would have been extremely small, only $ 3,000. Unfortunately, in this region of the world transfers are not a major source of income at all. Most transfers involve small amounts ($ 1,000-3,000) and only in some exceptional cases more than $ 5,000 are paid. A list of the most important transfers made at national level in the last 5 years :

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By the way, we received a $ 4,500 offer for Hector Carabantes. His contract will expire in June and the player does not want to negociate an extension .... but this amount is way too small to accept the departure of Carabantes since January.

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Transfers

Apart from Mejia, we lost three more players. Rojas wanted to leave, being dissatisfied with not playing enough. Garcia's contract expired and his salarial claims were way too high. Marcos Medina ... well, here's a problem. This guy disappointed me. He had very good attributes, even better than Mejia. But he played 12 games for the reserve team, provided only two assists and his performances were rated with an mediocre 6.53. Not enough for a "better player than Mejia and Carabantes," as the assistant claimed. At one point Medina got bored of not playing for the senior team and asked to be allowed to leave. I asked for $ 500 for his transfer ... and no one wanted up to pay. In the end, a club was willing to transfer him, but only for free. To be honest, I was glad I got rid of him. Maybe he's a good player ... but he's not a professional at all.

As for the newcomers ... we transferred only one player, Carlos Castro. He is not relative with the other Castro (Moises) but they are both pretty good, they both play as strikers and they both had pretty good performances at those clubs where they have played before.

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Carlos Castro

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Friendlies

We only played 3 friendlies, there was no need for more to keep a reasonable level of cohesion and tactical familiarity.

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The first three games of the season once again highlighted our team's inconsistency. A good first match (ended in a draw due to the inaccuracy of our attacking players) was followed by a poor game (and a draw achieved with some luck), then by another pretty good game.

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What was expected ... really happened. Hector Carabantes will leave Quelepa this summer. Alianza is a strong first league club, former national champion and participant in continental competitions.

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February 2028

Only 4 points. Maybe we deserved more points but some of the most important players are in a bad run of form.

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*****

Well, that's it. Clearly, I can't achieve more. At the end of the season I'll resign and look for another club.

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We still have a chance to qualify for playoff ... if we'll win at least 6 of the next 8 games. It's hard to believe such a thing can happen.

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Surprisingly, the dressing room atmosphere is still very good, despite latest results.

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March 2028

:lol::lol:

Strange things are happening. Because anyway I had decided to resign in June, I didn't care anymore about team selection, shouts or opposition instructions. I let the assistant do what he wanted, only I didn't go on vacation and I made some substitutions of players during matches. The only change: I replaced the 4-4-2 configuration with 4-1-4-1 hoping that we will receive fewer goals. The result of this brilliant initiative proved to be very positive: our team won 9 points out of 12 and played really well.

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Our opponents decided (it is not known why) to play badly, to lose important points and to give us another chance to qualify for playoff. However, there are still 4 games to play and anything is possible, especially since two of our opponents will be Santa Rosa and Dragon, ie those teams positioned on the 3rd and 4th place.

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**********

Yeah ! Our second best striker was seriously injured. Should I be surprised ? We only have two strikers left in the squad and I hope they don't get injured too.

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One way or another, the game (FM) realized I have dubious thoughts, that is I intend to resign. Probably because I checked the list of available manager positions ? In any case, I received two offers for an interview, both from some clubs in the first Salvadoran league.

First offer was easy to decline. Jocoro is an interesting club, but there is a problem: it have a pretty big national reputation. And my reputation is a little too low for such a club. From my experience, it is difficult to convince players to trust a manager if that manager does not have a proper reputation.

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The second offer was much more tempting. That reputation problem is even more serious in this case, Alianza being a rich and very strong club. But Alianza had just transferred Hector Carabantes and I would really been interested in having him on my team again. However, in the end, I gave up. There is no point in going for Carabantes if I'll be fired after a few months.

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Youth intake 2028.

We received (at least) five interesting players. Unfortunately, like last year, even these five players have various problems. Either they are extremely unevenly developed or they have negative personalities. Of course, they can be helped by a mentor, but that help cannot turn a player with a negative mentality into a model of professionalism. It can, at most, reduce his lack of professionalism to an acceptable value. In addition, mentors convey to young people, including their own negative aspects. The fact that a player has a "balanced" personality does not mean everything is very good at him. It just means it doesn't have extremely negative characteristics. But his ambition, temperament or professionalism can be mediocre. In addition, some of his traits may be inappropriate for a young player and unlearning those traits can be extremely difficult or even not possible.

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April 2028

I know. My assistant (ie, AI) proves he has qualities that I lack. I should probably retire. However, I will not do it. After all, only by playing (even badly) I can learn more.

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Qualification for playoff and 7th place in the overall table. Not bad at all for a team that at some point did not seem to be able to fight for a top 4 position.

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May - June 2028

Playoffs

To be honest, I watched this playoff as if it was being broadcast on TV. I didn't care at all which players were used and whether the tactical configuration needed adjustments. I only watched ... and replaced any tired or injured player. It was a very relaxing experience.

*****

Quarter-finals

First opponent: Vendaval Apopa. Second place in the overall table. They are not very strong in terms of scoring goals ... but they have a very solid defense.

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Our opponents played poorly. Why ? I do not know. Is it because of complacency ? Maybe this playoff is not considered a major competition ? Or maybe the significant difference between the reputation of these two clubs had drastically reduced concentration of our opponents ? Anyway, my assistant is doing very well ... so far.

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*****

Semi-finals

Municipal Limeno. The winner of the second league and clearly the best team in this competition. Devastating attack (90 goals scored), very solid defense.

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Really ?!? :confused:

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*****

Final

Opponent: Fuerte San Francisco. They are just a little better than we are. Normally, these two games should be very balanced.

... and, yes, these games have been very balanced. Specifically, the first half of the first game and the second game have been balanced. Unfortunately, the second half of the first game was a bit unbalanced. Overall, a remarkable performance for our players ... and for my assistant (good luck, man !)

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*****

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Players' stats. As usual : Carabantes and the others.

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The best 12 players.

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*****

Team stats. Compared to the fall season ... a slight improvement. Anyway, it doesn't matter anymore.

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As I expected, the budget for next season has been reduced from 575,000 per year to 245,000. It is clear this year’s budget was an exception. In fact, the board has already announced that "the time is right to welcome offers for the club".

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So, I did resign. Shame on me.

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As for the attributes, everything is fine. In terms of reputation, though ... it's not fine at all. However, I intend to look for a club to play in the first league, even if that means a low support from players.

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And my new club is ... (suspense!) .... Deportivo Achuapa. Club that in the recently concluded season won the second league and, as a result, promoted to the first league in Guatemala.

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The wonderful evolution of my magnificent career, 2021 - 2028.

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 So, a new club. First of all, a short geographical characterization would probably be necessary. Achuapa is the old name of a place where the modern city of El Progreso in Guatemala was built. Deportivo is the main club from this city. Unfortunately, there is a small error in the database and the club is not considered to be located in El Progreso but in a neighboring town, Jutiapa. However, this error does not affect the game and therefore can be ignored.

Something about the name. 6 years ago I managed a club that was located in Chalchuapa, a name similar to Achuapa. It is natural to be a resemblance because these two locations are close (about 30 miles or 50 kilometers) and were inhabited by the same ancient population. In their language "apa(h)" means "river" or "place near a river". The fact Chalchuapa is now in El Salvador and Achuapa is in Guatemala is due to events that took place long after these places were named.

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The club

Deportivo Achuapa is a professional club. It has a stadium built recently (in 2024) and quite large (7000 seats). The facilities ... junior coaching and youth recruitment are reasonable (adequate) but training and youth facilities are insufficiently developed (basic). Compared to other clubs in the Guatemalan first league, it can be said these facilities are rather below average.

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**********

The club's reputation is quite good, from this point of view Deportivo being the 9th club in the country. Over time, its team has performed quite well, including winning the closing stage in 2022. In the last two seasons, however, results have been mediocre. Two years ago, the team was relegated to the second league. In the recently concluded season they managed to promote to the first league but for now Deportivo is far from that team that a few years ago fought for the first places of the table.

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Comparative reputation : Deportivo Achuapa vs CDL Quelepa

Comparative reputation : Deportivo Achuapa vs some English clubs

**********

Finances

Unlike my former club (CDL Quelepa), Deportivo does not have major financial problems. It is not a rich club but it has enough money to be able to offer a reasonable cumulative budget ($ 650,000 per year) and, in addition, its overall balance is positive.

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**********

Vision and media prediction

One thing that suited me when I signed the contract : board's requests are very reasonable. Being a newly promoted team, the board avoided setting some goals that could be difficult to achieve. "Be competitive" (meaning, probably, avoid the last two table places, the ones that mean relegation) ... and "repair the financial club damage" (I presume they wish some profit this year). Requested promises were also not very restrictive either.

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Media prediction seems to suggest that, although we have a good club reputation ... we don't have very good players. It's probably normal because after the team was relegated two years ago, some of the quality players looked for other teams ... and newly transfered players couldn't cover these losses.

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Rules in the Guatemalan first league are a little less restrictive than those in Honduras or El Salvador. In these two countries only 4 foreign players can be registered and used in the playing 11. In Guatemala, however, up to 8 foreign players can be registered and 5 of them can play at the same time.

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Squads

Unlike El Salvador, in Guatemala there are no reserve squads but only an under 20 squad. Surprisingly, the former manager (AI) did a very good job as the two squads do not need changes, at least for now. No player in the under20 team is good enough to be promoted and no player in the senior team is useless in this team. Even Elias (34 years old) can be useful as a tutor for some senior team members.

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The senior squad, however, has some significant problems, especially from a physical point of view and in terms of teamwork.

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The best 14 players available at the club (13 from the senior team and one from under 20). At least that's my assistant's opinion ...

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**********

Transfers. I haven't brought any new players because I still don't know what are able to do these players I already have at my disposal. I have to see them playing before assess if the team needs (or not) additional players.

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At first glance, our staff looks pretty good. At a second glance ... it would seem some improvements would be needed. For example, we do not have a HOYD. However, I will postpone any changes until the end of the fall season.

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Friendlies.

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We played 4 friendlies (the first was led by the former manager). Although I was hoping the atmosphere would improve after some wins ... it looks like I was wrong. Players do not seem to be happy at all with their new manager, especially because of his (low) reputation. However, we have good cohesion and this which may be good enough for now.

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July 2028

Only 3 points. In my opinion, we deserved more ... but for now it's fine anyway.

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August 2028

Really?!? Three other matches in which we played well, sometimes very well ... and we achieved almost nothing. It seems that the players' morale is more affected than I thought.

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*****

Yay, we won a game ! I can not believe it ! Probably by mistake, because we won exactly that match in which we played really bad ...

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7 draws in 9 games. Italian teams from the 80's have a lot to learn from us ...

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September 2028

Wow, my managerial skills are superb. Through well-calculated training I managed to injure three of the four strikers I have, and even for quite long time. If I'll make an additional small effort, I would probably easily manage to injure the fourth one as well. However, I think I'll give to the assistant this responsibility for training. I don't like strikerless tactical configurations.

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**********

Of course, after we struggled (without any success) to defeat those teams that strive to avoid relegation ... we easily managed to eliminate from the cup the team in second place in the league table (Mictlan, 3-0 and 1-2), then to dominate Coban, the best team from the league. On their stadium ! And because two miracles were not enough, we managed to play very well and win against the 3rd favorite for winning the league, Comunicaciones. 

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*****

Of course, we easily defeated another very strong team (Antigua). And we struggled again unsuccesfully against some teams stirring around the bottom of the table (Mixco and Suchitepequez)

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Not bad at all. However, it would not be a bad idea if we could beat a team positioned in 8th to 12th places. I hope we'll be able to do it someday.

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*****

Because we had not big enough problems, someone thought of creating one for us. Ronaldo Mina was the best left midfielder we had. But he was loaned from Deportivo Mictlan, the club that we defeated in the cup. So, their manager decided to end this loan agreement because Mina was playing as ML and not AML. What can I say ? He's right, but ...

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October 2028

We lost the qualification for quarterfinals of the cup (0 - 0 and 1 - 1) playing against a team from the second league (Guastatoya). It was much easier for us in the first round, when we played against a strong opponent. In the league we won 4 points from 2 games played. Good enough.

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*****

Our good run of form is coming to an end. We're playing worse and worse. We was lucky in the first game. We didn't deserve even a single point but we got all three points, scoring two goals from just two shots on target. In the following matches we were humiliated by two superpowers, that is, by the teams on the 12th (last) and 10th place in the table.

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Note: in the first Guatemalan league (as in the one in El Salvador or Honduras) the winner of the regular season is not considered to be the champion. A playoff will be played to designate this champion. For this playoff 6 teams will qualify, of which 2 will qualify directly for semifinals (1st and 2nd places in the regular season) and another 4 teams will qualify for quarterfinals (3rd-6th places in the regular season).

We are in 7th place and, of course, we have a pretty good chance to get a qualification for playoffs. The last 3 rounds, however, will be difficult, because we'll meet teams which are in the 1st, 3rd and 5th places of the table. Or ... maybe these games will be less difficult because of this ?

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November 2028

This month all sorts of terrible things happened. In the first game we scored a goal but then Deportivo Mictlan decided to teach us some real football and they scored 5 times. In the second game we played really well ... but, as usual, whenever we play very well we can't achieve more than a draw. The third game followed. Again, we played well, we got a penalty when the score is 0 - 0 ... and we missed it, of course. Our opponents were very impressed with this event, so impressed that they scored two goals in the last 6 minutes of the game and won easily.

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Only the 9th place but I'm very happy because we didn't have to play more matches. Because I'm sure we would have lost them all.

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Dressing room atmosphere is - still - surprisingly good. Support for the manager (that is, for me) remained the same as in July : none of any important player trusts his manager. I don’t blame them, sometimes I don’t trust that manager either.

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Players' stats. I need Hector Carabantes ! Now ! Or, finally, I need a slightly better striker. And a better left midfielder. And a better left defender. And a better defensive central midfielder. And a lot of other better players. I'm exaggerating, but this team really needs some improvements. Or, who knows, the best improvement would be ... a new manager ? I hope not.

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**********

Team stats. In terms of offensive play, we are in top 6. As for the defensive play ... we are one of the best 3 teams in the league :confused:. Pretty confusing. I think some bad or unsatisfactory results are not due to the tactical configurations used but to the low quality of some players. Or, possibly, due to the inappropriate way I used some players. Maybe we had a little bad luck, but it seems pretty clear we need to transfer some new (and good) players ...

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November 2028 - January 2029

*****

Youth intake preview. 

It seems the future intake will not be very interesting. Probably none of these youngsters will have a high enough potential to become a first team player. I was expecting this because we only have "basic" junior training facilities and, in addition, we don't even have a HOYD. For the time being, our DoF is in charge of selecting and evaluating the next generation. Apparently, he is not very good at such a thing, but I have no alternative because a good HOYD (for the first Guatemalan league) asks for twice as much money as we could offer him.

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**********

The board seems to be quite pleased, but not enthusiastic. They are right, because "my" results were mediocre and the manager's relationship with his players can be described as cold, even frozen. I might complain because my (too low) reputation disadvantages me, but the real reason is I made no effort to improve relationship between me and our players. I didn’t even congratulate them if they played well.

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Finances

At the end of the autumn season, the club's financial situation was flourishing. We were having a positive balance and, more importantly, at that time we were spending less than half of the wage budget. It seemed to be a perfect situation to initiate an extensive transfer campaign.

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During the fall season I realized we have a big problem : we were having too few quality players. Our senior squad consisted of 21 players, but of these only about 15 were really "first league players". At under 20 squad there were about 3 or 4 promising young players but none of them had the necessary qualities to represent a solution for the first 11. Of course, it is difficult to play well in all 22 matches of the season when the team depends on only 15 players. Considering this, I decided to bring at least 7 new players ... or even more.

...

Eventually we brought in 10 players, but only 9 of them could play in the next games. Guardado has already played for two other clubs this season and until July 1 he can only play in friendly matches.

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Wage expenses have increased dramatically, from $ 22,000 per month to almost $ 53,000. I probably exaggerated a bit ... But at least now I can't complain we don't have enough players. In fact, I think we have too many players now ...

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Squads :

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Under 20 squad

Team report is not very spectacular. From some points of view, the general level is even lower than it was a few months ago, but it is normal because the report takes into account all the players in the group, including those who I should have given up. To be honest, I should have tried to find other teams (loan or transfer) for at least 5-6 players, but I didn't care about them.

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**********

I knew bringing in such a large number of players would create problems. I did expect a decrease of team cohesion and a possible discontent of some (former) important players. However, I did not expect such a reaction :

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Why are they unhappy? Because Moran was bothered by bringing in another goalkeeper, Ramirez was bothered by bringing in two other defenders ... and the Castaneda - Samayoa - Madrid group (all being offensive midfielders or strikers) was bothered by bringing in two more strikers. So, at this point, about half of the team would like to see me leaving as soon as possible ...

However, for unknown reasons, it seems the dissatisfaction of these 8 players was not enough to irreparably damage the club atmosphere. I probably still haven't managed to annoy them enough ? In any case, for now the team has a pretty good morale.

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2028-29, closing stage.

4 points out of 9 possible. Not bad at all for a team being in conflict with its own manager.

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*****

Another 5 points. It would seem these conflicts could be beneficial sometimes. We lost only one game out of 6. Boys didn't play very well ... but they got enough points. I'm ready to annoy them as much as possible, if that helps them win some more games.

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February 2029

In the first game we played badly and got a lucky draw. The second game ... no comments. The third game was a bit better but we won - again - because we were lucky.

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*****

What can I say ? The first game, against the winner of the opening stage (Coban Imperial). 4th minute : penalty for us. We missed and lost the game. The second game, against the best team in the league (Comunicaciones). 4th minute : penalty for us. We missed and lost the game. We lost also the last game, but this was an expected defeat because our team's morale were already extremely low. Fortunately in this game we didn't have a penalty in the 4th minute, so I had no reason to get angry.

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**********

The whole situation is ... abysmal. Generally speaking I don't like meetings, but now I really need a team meeting.

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**********

I don't like this picture. It smells like a possible dismissal ...

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***************

Senegal is far outside of our scouting knowledge area. How could our DoF recommend me a Senegalese player ... I don't know. In any case, I sent an offer. I did not expect the player to be interested but, surprisingly, he accepted our offer. The transfer is quite unrealistic because in real life only very few African players have ever played in Central America. And none of them played in Guatemala.

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March 2029
Another 6 points earned and the team played (at least in the first two games) very well. The last game was weaker, but ... 
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*****
4 points out of 9. More than that is not possible, at least for now.
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At first glance it would seem that everything is fine. We even have the chance to get the 6th place and qualify for playoffs. However, the chance is small, because in the last 3 rounds we will meet the 3rd placed team (Mictlan), the 2nd placed team (Coban) and, of course, the 1st placed team (Comunicaciones). We can't really get many points out of these 3 games.
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Youth intake 2029.
From my point of view the number of useful players is exactly zero. Not even Estrada nor Andy Fernandez are promising as they both have negative personalities and mediocre determination. However, I asked our DoF to sign with whomever he wants. I'll kick them all out in a few months anyway.
By the way, the "diminutive winger" label sounds interesting.
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We won the first game, then we offered some useful training matches to all teams positioned in the top 3. We conceded 9 goals, we didn't score any and we also managed the rare performance to concede a goal in a maximum of 120 seconds of play. And we did that in three consecutive matches ! It's probably a new world record.
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7th place in the closing stage table, 9th place in the overall table. It could have been even better, but it's still acceptable. We are, however, a newly promoted team. Maybe the next season will be better ...
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I didn't understand that. It's true, my relationship with the media is extremely bad. We haven't bitten each other yet, but in the future anything is possible. However, it was a bit strange that a failure in the relationship with the media could have the effect of terminating the contract.
 
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Well, I did understand : "so, because you don't have a very good relationship with the media, you will have to get 6 points in the next 5 games". It is not clear, however : how many points would had been necessary in the next 5 games if I had been in very good relations with some journalists ?
 
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This meeting took place on April 22, so two rounds before the end of the championship. We lost games played on April 22 and 29, then the season was ended. I have to suppose I'll "survive" another 3 rounds of next season before being (possibly) fired? It wouldn't be a problem, but my contract expires in two months (June 30, 2029). Shall I simply not be offered an extension of the contract ? Or my contract will be extended just to be terminated after only a few weeks ?
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Honestly, I think my chances of staying at Deportivo are extremely small, even microscopic. Anyway, I will try to do my job as I did it until now (ie in a completely unprofessional way) and I'll see on June 30 what I'll have to do.
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:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
That's sadism!
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I thought I couldn't see well. Or maybe it's a bug. So ... I checked :
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I saw very well. What can I say ? As in Crys*s : "maximum obscenity". The cumulative budget (wages + transfers) for next season has grown from $ 655,000 per year to $ 1,522,000 per year. That means this budget is much bigger than the one that any of the richest clubs in the first league have. I think I could easily transfer to Deportivo at least half of the national team.
Huh, it doesn't matter. I'll be fired anyway.
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Enough. Back to more normal stuff.
 
Players' stats :
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*****
 
Teams' stats
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A thing I forgot to insert in my previous post : national and continental CONCACAF competitions, season 2027 - 2028.
 
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Posted (edited)

April - June 2029

Wait a minute ! So, on April 22 I went to a meeting, and there the board decided that I would be fired if I did not get 6 points in the next 5 matches played. Good. In the same day we played at home against Coban Imperial. And we lost (0 - 3). After a week we played away against Cominicaciones. And we lost (0 - 1). Total matches played : two. It seems pretty clear. But ... what is written on April 30 (after the end of the last round of the league) in the manager's promise list ? "You have promised to win 6 points in the next 5 matches. Duration : 5 games left". So, this promise refers to next season ? Wow, I like it ! That’s what the game says : 5 matches starting with the first round of next season. Now I really think I have a chance to stay as a Deportivo's manager. No, I didn't do any tricks. In fact, I have no idea how I could have changed the moment from which the respective promise begins to be taken into account.

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However, in the next two months I'll be busy. I'll have to improve the relationship between me and players (or at least relationship with some influential players) ... and answer all journalists' requests no matter how stupid their questions will be.

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Our under 20 team won the national U20 title. The fact itself does not matter because we do not have the best youngsters in the country. In reality, at least 7-8 other clubs receive at youth intake much better players than ours. However, we receive more players (15-16) than other teams (6-9). In addition, strong teams quickly promote their good young players to the first team or loan the less good ones to other teams (which we don't do). For this reason, our under 20 team is strong even if it does not have very good players. Why is this title important? The U20 team uses the same tactical configurations as the first team. Of course, there are some differences between the way I use those configurations and the way the AI (ie the U20 team' manager) does it. But, in principle, the fact that the U20 team coud won a competition means that those tactical configurations I use are balanced enough to allow me to achieve some reasonable performances.

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Really ?!? Good !!! Moran was the rebels' leader. And if the leader says there is an improvement ... it means the idea "I should praise them for their conduct / training / development / whatever else" really works . I just have to be careful to not praise them too much. However, I have to be honest: I lied to them. They don't deserve those praises. But the end justifies the means. 

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In any case, after only 3 weeks of intensive praise we reached a truly remarkable overall happiness.

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One of our players, Kevin Elias, retired after the end of the season. But as the guy had some scouting skills, I checked if he was worth to be hired. Surprisingly, his scouting abilities were even better than those of our only scout.

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Seriously, I can't understand this. So ... we have a player, Carlos Castaneda. In the previous season he played in 24 matches and scored 7 goals. In most of those matches he was used as a striker, with the role of advanced forward. He can also play as a right midfielder but he is not very good at the "job" of winger. Okay, so it was time for a contract re(negociation). Castaneda insisted on including a clause in his contract specifying he would play as striker / advanced forward. It didn't seem to be a problem, so I accepted this clause. The contract was signed on May 9, 2029.

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Two weeks later Castaneda declared himself extremely unhappy because ... I didn't used him as a striker / advanced forward ?!? Well, didn't he find out we were on vacation ?!? That we will not play any games in the period April 28 - July 3 ? And that the season will only start on August 8 ? How could I have used him as advanced forward if we didn't played any matches yet ?!?

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LOL. The board is pleased but they would have nothing against firing me. As for objectives ... I realize it’s a difficult option. Our team is full of mediocre players but we have a good enough budget for a champion team. It's probably hard to decide whether to ask me to win the title or to avoid relegation.

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June 30. The last day of my (full) contract. Although I struggled, I only got a limited improvement for managerial support. As for objectives for this season ... in the end the board decided : "be competitive". Or, in other words, "we should avoid relegation and, yes, don't lose too many consecutive matches."

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Club Vision

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So I'm the only manager in the first league paid on a month-to-month basis. Of course, I was curious to find out what the board would say about a new contract. I found out. And it didn't like me. Maybe they are right to say I don't deserve a full contract, but why they told me this so directly ?

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Yay, I did it ! I don't know how, but I got rid of those troubles with media handling.

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I didn’t ask for that, but if the board decided ... why not ? However, I do not intend to transfer many foreign players. In any case, our low reputation does not allow us to attract much better players than those we already have in our squads.

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Scouting knowledge

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The day before the first round of the opening season

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Media prediction. Our mediocre reputation (we are the 10th club in the first league) combined with a not very good team (from a qualitative point of view) promoted us to the first position ... in the top of leading favorites for relegation.

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Finances. In short: we have some (much) money.

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*****

Transfers. We are going to bring 8 players (5 possible first team players and, from next spring, 3 young and promising players). For now, we are waiting because the transfer window will only open on August 14th. We are going to bring 8 players (5 possible first team players and, from next spring, 3 young and promising players). I also released 17 players, that is, almost the entire U20 team, except for 6 slightly better players.

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Released players

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We also made some improvements to the backroom staff. Not too many, but at least now we have a HOYD, three scouts and enough physios. And a very good DoF, former manager of Comunicaciones, that is, of the club with the highest reputation in the country.

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*****

Friendlies. We checked all the available players, which is why in some games the team did not play very well. Unfortunately, we lost shamefully one of these games, 0 - 1 against a team (Olanchano) being in the 3rd Salvadoran league.

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All these friendly matches helped me a lot because the dressing room atmosphere improved significantly in just a few weeks.

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August

What can I say? We played well, even very well against Xelaju. And we lost, of course, even though we deserved at least an equal. Then we were lucky in the second match, where Deportivo Mictlan had more (and clearer) chances ... but we scored twice. So far I have got 3 of those 6 points needed to not be fired. All good ... until now.

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What ?!? :eek::eek::eek:

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I hope they heard there is a chance for me to be fired in the coming weeks. However, I checked and found (surprising for me !) that in terms of attributes and managerial reputation I would be in top 6 nationally. I'm not a Mr. Nobody. So ... why not? I can try, I have nothing to lose.

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*****

Really ? I can fire 3 managers ? Wow, I like it !

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*****

I don't understand. The team has already achieved this goal. Not only did it reach the third round but it also played two games in this stage. And it's played pretty well so far, getting a win.

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Ah, now I think I understand why the former manager was fired. Probably those defeats (0 - 3 and 2 - 5) against Jamaica were not well received. However, Jamaica is (in FM 2029) a very strong team, at least at a regional level. They are stronger than Costa Rica, for example. On the other hand, Costa Rica has a higher reputation and better results than Guatemala, which does not please me at all ... as they are the main opponent in the World Cup qualifying group.

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CONCACAF nations ranking

It have Guatemalan national team any chance to qualify for the World Cup final tournament ? Yes. The 3rd round is the zonal final stage. 1st and 2nd placed teams in every group will be qualified for the final tournament. The team on the 3rd place with the highest number of points will be qualifies for a play-off. However, as that play-off will be very difficult, our chances probably depend on our ability to position ourselves in the 2nd place. And for that we need to get at a win or at least 2 draws against Costa Rica ... and a win in Suriname (where Costa Rica got only a draw, 2 - 2). We'll see ...

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As for our players ... 7 of them play in other countries (3 in Europe, another 3 in MLS, meaning the USA and one in Honduras). It's not very spectacular. The team is pretty good for CONCACAF but, unfortunately, we have fewer really good players than the Jamaica and Costa Rica, our counter-candidates for qualification.

National squad

Team report

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And now ... back to Achuapa.

The transfer window has opened. Five new and - theoretically - really good players came. It remains to be seen how much time will they need to integrate into our team.

The five newcomers :

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... and the composition of our senior team after their arrival (and the departure of some less useful players)

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Under 20 squad

*****

I'm tired of this. Seriously. On the day he'll leave, I'll celebrate all day long. And I'll be very happy ! Unfortunately, he has a contract until 2031 and, for now, no one wants him. Not even for free.

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*****

Of course, in the first game we played badly and we got somehow a draw. Lucky boys. In the second game we missed two good chances in the first 15 minutes and then we didn’t play almost anything in the next 75. I need one more point. I hope I can get it ...

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*****

Finally ! The second half was damn stressful. Thanks, guys, I owe you !

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I hope so ...

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Wow! I can't believe what I see ! Two very good consecutive games ! What's happened, guys ?

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Paranormal events ...

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A lot of happy players and a "red" managerial support. All right, I can survive with this.

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*****

Thanks.

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*****

They're disappointed ? Again ?!? Come on ...

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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September 2029

The few good games played in August were followed by a series of less good games. Three consecutive games in which the team played poorly, did not score any goal and conceded four. We didn't play well even in the cup, where we met Barcena Villanueva, a mediocre second league team.

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*****

Two balanced games. We won 3 points and probably even didn't deserve more.

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*****

The first match did not cause us any problems, we won it quite easily. But the second match ... I can't even say it would have been an unbalanced game. Unfortunately, our goalkeeper and defense were in one of those days when no matter what you do, you don't succeed at anything.

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*****

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The good part : we continue to stay only a few points away from the first place. The bad part : we concede way too many goals. I don't think we have any chance to keep even this third position if we'll continue to allow so many goals.

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Guatemala national team, September 2029.

If we had won the first game, the one against Costa Rica, we would have had a very good chance of qualifying. Unfortunately we missed the 2-3 chances we had and the game ended in a draw. The second match, against Suriname, was easy in the first half and surprisingly difficult in the second. However, we got all three points we needed.

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Unfortunately I forgot to take a screenshot of the group table. However, that table can be reconstructed based on the results. We won 4 points ...

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... and Costa Rica won only one.

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So, after these four games, Jamaica has 10 points, Guatemala 7, Costa Rica 3 and Suriname only one point. This means the next game, which will be played in Costa Rica, will be decisive. We can qualify for the World Cup with a victory or even a draw. Instead, we have less chances to qualify in case of a defeat because the last game, the one against Jamaica, will be extremely difficult for us.

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October 2029

It's not bad at all. 4 points out of 6 in the championship and, in addition, a qualification for the second round of the cup. We were lucky in the second game, when we won with a goal scored in the 90 + 3 minute. We also had a little luck in the third game (the one played for the cup) because we scored our last goal on a counterattack when the opponent was crowding us in our penalty box.

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*****

We qualified for the cup quarterfinals (1 - 1 and 2 - 1 against Municipal). And we also got a point in the league, but again with some luck (we scored with only 5 minutes before the end of the game).

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*****

 Another 4 points. Our opponents in the first match missed a penalty kick and played (defensively) very well. We couldn't create any important chance in all those 90 minutes. Fortunately, in the second match we didn’t have this problem anymore, opponents playing - maybe - much too risky ... for them.

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*****

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Defensive works much better now (only 6 goals conceded in 8 games played). We stay in top 3. I don’t know if we have any chance for a better place ... but we'll try.

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*****

Everything's fine ... for now.

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Guatemala national team, October 2029.

1 - 1 away against Costa Rica. We got that point we needed to qualify for World Cup. The last game meant a nice victory, but Jamaica played well below its potential due to complacency (they were already qualified and for they this game was not important)

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Interesting. Until now Guatemala has never qualified for a final World Cup tournament. So, we got a remarkable performance ... but again I was lucky because we played against Costa Rica (a more valuable opponent than us) exactly when they was in a serious bad run of form.

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What are our chances at World Cup? It is clear we do not have the needed strength to qualify for the second round. Even one point would be a great performance.

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November 2029

Two games, one better and one weaker. We got two points. It's fine enough, especially since we played against two very strong teams.

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Playoffs qualification depended on the first game. We needed a draw ... and we got it. The game was boring as both teams played extremely defensively. The second game (the first leg of quarter-finals) annoyed me. We didn't manage to win even though the opponent was clearly inferior, Sanarate being a second league team. The last game was not important, the qualification being already decided. Surprisingly, last year’s champion (Coban Imperial) failed to position in the first 6 places and missed to qualify.

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Only 5 points between the first place and the 7th place ...

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I tried. And I failed. I don't remember if in any of the 9 seasons of my career I ever managed to convince the board to invest for improve some facilities. I don't think it happened.

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Youth intake preview. Looks like we'll get a pretty good defensive midfielder. And perhaps one or two reasonable good wide defenders. Not bad at all. And it's normal, because our facilities are undeveloped and some players from our senior squad are far superior in quality to most of these young players we could receive at our youth intakes.

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November - December 2029

Playoffs ( ... and cup quarter finals)

*****

Playoffs, quarter finals.

Surprisingly, we qualified for the semifinals. Overal, a very balanced round (shots 17-16, shots on target 10 - 9, xG 2.6 - 2.3) ... but our attacking players were a bit more efficient than theirs.

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*****

Playoffs, semi-finals. And more surprisingly, we qualified for the final. Moreover, we did it without any difficulty, our opponent playing extremely bad. It's hard to understand what's going on. It's like most of the strong teams in the league don't consider the knockout stage important enough to be worth an additional concentration.

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*****

Playoffs, final. And the second leg of cup quarter finals. We lost the final, but I'm not upset because even the qualification for this final is a very good performance. We don't have such a good team. Maybe we deserved that position in the first half of the table but it is obvious we are not one of the best teams in the league. As for the cup game ... we won it embarrassingly hard though our opponent wasn't very strong. In the end, what matters is we're qualified for semi-finals.

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Players' stats.  Bringing Diagne and Morales was a good idea. Instead, Estrada, Garcia, Gardiner and even Mendez are far from playing at the level I would have expected.

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*****

Teams stats. Good enough. Our defense, at least, works well. But we have problems in terms of efficiency of the attacking compartment. We are not able to create enough chances to score. For now everything is fine, but for the spring season I expect our opponents will play even more defensively than they have done so far. And that approach will generate a lot of troubles for us.

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Transfers. We brought in a new player, Cesar Soto. He is not a super player but for now he is a good solution for our midfield, especially considering the fact that two of the best midfielders we have (Estrada and Reyes) played poorly in the last few months.

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Cesar Soto

Senior squad at the end of December

Senior squad details

Team report. In the last few months I have somehow managed to improve the overall quality of the squad, especially in terms of mental and technical abilities. But I haven't been able to do much in terms of physical abilities, and that's a problem for a team that has to play 46 (or more) games every year. Unfortunately, I can't really improve their physical abilities through training because this would generate countless injuries.

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Of course I committed it again. I ignored the need of some important players to be frequently encouraged ... and consequences were negative. Club atmosphere is worse for now and managerial support reached the "poor" level again.

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Our financial situation is good ... but it tends to become less good. Overall balance is falling more and more, which is why I do not intend to exceed the limit of $ 60,000 spent monthly on salaries and various bonuses.

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Guatemala national team. World Cup draw :  we’ll play against Croatia (I hope we'll not concede more than 5 goals !) and China (which is much better in 2029 than in 2020, at least in FM). We could try to get a draw in that game against China, but it will be very difficult. As for the qualification ... let's be serious. No chance.

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Well, I know people can easily get to all corners of the world. However, I can't imagine how a Jamaican citizen born in Uzbekistan looks like. It's a truly unusual combination.

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CONCACAF national and continental competitions, season 2028-29.

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January 2030

The winter break was short, less than 3 weeks, which is why we didn't even play any friendly match. Our players were extremely tired and needed some rest. In addition, we also were having 5 injured players but, fortunately, only one of them (Samayoa) was seriously injured.

Regarding transfers ... we only brought 3 players, none of them being (at least for now) at the same level as any of our more important players. I would have preferred not to loan out so many players but I could not guarantee them the number of games they would have liked to play. A more positive dressing room atmosphere was preferable to a higher numer of available players. Of course, all of these players can be recalled from loan ... but they can be registered during the transfer window only, which means only until January 28.

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Our senior squad in the day before the first round of the season.

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Under20 squad

*****

Dressing room atmosphere is "good" ... but I would have preferred it to be better than that.

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In the first game we met a strong team, Deportivo Mictlan. We got a very promising draw, especially since it was a cup game (the first leg of semifinals). In the second game we didn't play so well and we had to settle for a draw. It's a good result because 2 minutes before the end of the game our opponent (Xelaju) missed the victory in a situation of 1 vs 1 with our goalkeeper.

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*****

Three games played, three defeats. Bad luck, especially since we didn't play really badly. Unfortunately we missed the qualification for the cup final ... but this can still happens even at more powerful teams. Our players are not good enough to be able to win matches even if 3-4 important players are in a bad run of form.

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*****

4 points won. The first game was really boring (only 2 shots on target!) but we were lucky. The second game was much more spectacular ... and, of course, we didn't win.

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So and so. It could be better ...

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Lol. I saw this tab at least 5 times untial I realized it contained something new. So, for about 6 weeks (in the game) I did not know we are qualified for a continental competition, more precisely for CONCACAF League (CONCACAF version of the Europa League).

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Why did this qualification surprise me? Because this is a database mistake. In real life the qualification for CONCACAF League 2030 depends on results of the 2029-2030 season. In this custom database, however, results from the closing stage of 2028-29 season and the opening stage of 2029-30 season are taken into account.

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February 2030

6 points out of 9. It seems only now are we are starting to play as we should do ...

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*****

7 points out of 9. The match played against the champions (Antigua GFC) was very stressful because not only did we score the winning goal in the 94th minute, but we also missed two penalties. By the way, until this match Angel Madrid had an exceptional percentage : 11 goals scored from a penalty kick out of 11 attempts (in the last two seasons). Now he missed two penalties in just 30 minutes ...

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It's already a little better. We don’t have any chance to win the stage, but - with some luck - we could try to get the 3rd place ... or even the 2nd place.

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*****

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Youth intake 2030. I didn’t expect much from this intake and that’s why I was surprised : we got two quite promising players. Unfortunately, the defensive midfielder is only 166 cm (5'5 '') tall and a bit undeveloped from a physical point of view. The other player is quite technical and very tall but his determination is way too low, at least for now. I hope he can improve it.

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March 2030

Something is wrong. I like new records, but zero goals scored from 24 shots on target is not exactly that kind of record I would like. By the way, it's not the game's fault. Most of these shots were sent from outside the penalty box. My midfielders had no other solutions because they could not find enough spaces in the opponent's defense.

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*****

The most terrible 20 minutes of my entire managerial career. 15th minute : Mictlan - Achuapa 0 - 0. 35th minute : Mictlan - Achuapa 5 - 0. It was a very interesting experience. I would prefer not to repeat it in the next 10 seasons. Or even never repeat it.

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We won 10 points out of 18 possible. A very good performance for a team listed as a possible candidate for relegation ... but a mediocre performance for a team that aims a top 3 position. We probably don't have the needed level to rank on one of the first 3 places ... but at least we are almost qualified for playoffs.

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April 2030

5 points out of 9, but with a lot of luck because in all these three games we played pretty bad. Fortunately, our opponents didn't play much better either.

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*****

Because from my point of view the last three games were disappointing, I decided to take action. I criticized some players and I praised a few others. Effects were extremely spectacular. In the last two games of the regular season my boys played much better : they shoot 36 times (15 times on target) ... and did not score any goal. What can I say? At least they tried ...

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Although results of the last month were unsatisfactory, we still managed to qualify for playoffs. Not because we are too good, but because our opponents are no much better than us. After all, the 4th place (and the 5th place in the overall table) are pretty good performances for a team as ours.

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*****

The cohesion and both atmospheres look great. The managerial support does not look so great, but I don't care about it.

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May 2030

Playoffs, quarter-finals

For unclear and hidden reasons, the final stage is easier than the regular stage. Probably because there isn't any table that the AI can check ? I don't know, but clearly some teams play differently now. Teams with a higher reputation play riskier and can be caught on the counterattack more easily than in the regular season. As for the two games ... we didn't play much better than our opponents but, overall, we got a well-deserved qualification.

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*****

Playoffs, semi-finals

Antigua GFC has won the last two stages of the championship (closing 2028 and opening 2029). They are, therefore, a very solid and strong team. However, they played against us as if they were a 2nd league team. I can't say that I'm not happy about qualifying but I would have preferred a more focused opponent.

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*****

Playoffs, the final

Our opponents have needed two rounds (quarter-finals and semi-finals) to finally understand that this knockout stage does not mean some friendly games. Unfortunately, when they understood this, both matches became extremely difficult for us. Overall, I couldn't say we played very badly but the opponent was much too strong. We could have conceded fewer goals but we risked a lot on defense and their striker (Jucup) is very fast and agile.

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Players' stats. Diagne, our Senegalese striker, played better than I expected. He's not a super player but he's pretty good for our team.

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Excepting Pablo Rivas, almost all loanees play pretty well for their teams. Unfortunately, only one player (Wilson Rivas) was loaned to a first league team and it seems he is the only valuable player from this group of 6 players.

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Teams stats.

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The cumulative budget will be slightly lower next season. From $ 1,550,000 per year it dropped to $ 1,350,000. It's not a huge drop, but it still has a clear meaning : any increase in expenses could create big troubles for our club. In other words, it would be preferable all monthly expenses with salaries and bonuses (players and staff) not to exceed the limit of $ 60,000. And that means I can only bring in new players if some of current players will leave.

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Guatemala national team

*****

Friendlies.

Those few games played in the qualifying group were not very useful for evaluating the real value of the team, which is why I tried to play some friendly matches against powerful teams. Unfortunately, none of European or South American teams wanted to play against us and we had to settle for a few games against neighboring nations teams. There were useful because because El Salvador and (especially) Honduras have better teams than ours. We tried to play a more attacking football ... and results were not encouraging at all. Unfortunately, some of the most important players of our team are in a bad run of form or are very tired. Their morale is not very good either and my attempts to improve it were not very successful.

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*****

As expected, the World Cup matches were very difficult for us. Croatia smashed us in the first game and China clearly and deservedly defeated us. To be honest I was very satisfied with this 0 - 7 after two games because, if opponents had focused more, we could easily have received another 6 or 7 goals.

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World Cup, groups stage ...

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... and the knockout stage. Spain won the third world title (and the second in a row, 2026 and 2030). The biggest disappointments of this tournament : Germany and Croatia.

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 After 10 years of career I achieved zero important performances. But I have patience. I hope in the next 100 years I'll still be able to win something.

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An interesting proposal, especially because Deportivo Mictlan is currently the richest club in the country. However, I refused the invitation because I intend to get some really impressive performance at Achuapa next season. No, I'm not thinking of the first place in the overall table but the 3rd place. It seems a mediocre goal, but we are talking about a manager who two years ago was very happy for a position in the first half of the second league table.

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I quit. The national team is an interesting challenge but it requires a different approach compared to club teams. At the moment I don't have the necessary experience for such a thing. Maybe in a few years I will try again, if there will be another national team willing to take risk to hire me.

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CONCACAF national and continental competitions, 2029 - 30 season. For now, only national competitions from Central and North America, as in the Caribbean region some competitions haven't ended yet.

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The next season will be the third and last at the Deportivo Achuapa club. In the next summer I intend to resign and look for another club, preferably a club from Panama or Costa Rica. Why ? Because too many seasons spent at the same club can decrease the attractiveness of that career (at least for me). The only way in which a career can remain interesting even if it takes place at the same club is to continuously get exceptional performances (promotions, qualifications, competitions won). This is not the case with this career, so ... my resignation is already in writing. Only the date and signature are missing.

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July 2030

So far we have brought in only one player, Elmer Castillo. A player with pretty good potential but who (for now) has little chance to be part of the first eleven. Regarding the departures ... one player retired (veteran Cristian Hernandez) and the loan agreements were extended for those 6 players who were also loaned during the spring season. However, the transfer window will remain open until the end of September, so some additional changes are possible.

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So, the senior squad looks like this :

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Of course, the team report cannot be very different compared to the one in January. The team is pretty good technically and mentally ... but its overall physical state is really worrying.

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Under20 squad

*****

Finances. In the previous season expenses were much higher than revenues and, probably, this season will not be much different either.

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*****

The media prediction is similar to that of the last season. It's explicable, because we don't have a much better team and the club's reputation hasn't improved much either.

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Club vision. As usual: "be competitive". I find interesting the evolution of the board's opinion over time: very pleased (B+, January), unbelievable job (A+, April - June), very pleased (B+, July 1), pleased (C+, July 26)

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*****

Friendlies. We only played 5 friendly games because the schedule for the next weeks will be very busy (11 games in the next 36 days). We avoided too strong opponents, all these 5 games being played against some 2nd or 3rd league teams.

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So, we'll soon play in the second continental competition, CONCACAF League. First opponent: Olimpia Tegucigalpa, the best team in Honduras now. What's the difference between us and them? As a reputation, they are the 6th club in Central America. We're somwhere between the 40th to 50th places. They can pay salaries at least twice as high as us and have in their team 5 members of the national team that easily defeated the Guatemalan national team (6-3) just a few months ago. By the way, Deportivo Achuapa has no any international in its squad.

Central American clubs reputation

*****

I don’t know why, but players' support for their manager has suddenly increased. I did nothing to improve it. Probably the only reason would be the positive reaction generated by achieving a reasonable performance (qualification for the playoff final). Overall, this is the best atmosphere since the beginning of my managerial adventures in Achuapa.

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August 2030

*****

3 games, only 2 points. I think we deserved a little more ... but that's it. The number one striker of the champion team (Jucup from CSD Sacahispas) killed us again. This player can score as many goals as he wants regardless of any instruction I gave to my players.

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*****

That's crazy. We lost at Tegucigalpa even though we played well. It was normal, because Olimpia has better players than us. Then we were humiliated (at home) by Comunicaciones. What chance we had for a qualification in the second leg against Olimpia ? Almost zero. However, Deportivo played probably the most spectacular 60 minutes in recent years, won 4-1 and qualified for the next round of the CONCACAF League. The next opponent : Real Esteli form Nicaragua, probably the weakest team of all 16 qualified teams.

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*****

A very good first game at Mictlan. We had chances to score, we also missed a penalty ... but overall this draw was fair. The second game was difficult because Esteli played extremely compact in defense. We were lucky with that goal scored in the last minute of the game. Finally, the third game was easier, especially because we scored the two goals in the first half hour of the game.

I don't know what to do with this guy, Angel Madrid. He is obviously the most technical player we have ... but he missed 4 penalties in just a few games. Normally I should ask another player to take all penalty kicks ... but I still hope that he will return to the previous form, when he scored 6 times in a row from the penalty spot.

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*****

Coban Imperial destroyed us (0 - 3) ... then my guys remembered they are able to play better and, as a result, they got a clear victory in the last game of the month.

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*****

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It wasn't the best start to the season ... but at least we achieved a really good performance by qualifying for the second round of the CONCACAF league.

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September 2030

*****

Two pretty easy games, even though in the first one I had some problems when Esteli equalized. We qualified for the 3rd round (quarterfinals) of the CONCACAF league ... and we are 99% qualified for the 2nd round of the Guatemala Cup.

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*****

Two matches won (with some luck) in the championship, plus a qualification for the next round of the cup.

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*****

We had the chance to defeat two of the strongest teams in the country ... and in both cases we failed. In the first game we conceded the goal in the end of the match, and in the second game we had two clear chances to score on the last 15 minutes. Bad luck.

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A very good month. Our position in the table is not very good for now but I think this will improve towards the end of the season. As for the next opponent in the continental competition ... Deportivo Saprissa is currently the best Central American team. And their salary budget is al least 4 times higher than ours.

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*****

The transfer window closed at the end of September. Apart from Castillo, we have brought only one player :

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Yes, it's about my former player, Hector Carabantes. After leaving Quelepa he did not have a successful career, being only a reserve player at his new club. As Deportivo Achuapa has better players than CDL Quelepa, Hector may not rise to the level required to become an important player for Achuapa. However, the scout claims this player has enough potential to become one of our best players. I would really like to check this opinion.

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*****

Deportivo's squad after closing the transfer window :

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One interesnting thing (I think) : I have two players on the team who have played 366 times for Deportivo Achuapa so far. One of them, left defender Jorje Ramirez played throughout his entire career (11 years !) only for Deportivo Achuapa. The other player, Colombian midfielder Carlos Reyes played only one match for another club, 366 of all 367 games played in his career being when he wore Deportivo's shirt.

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October 2030

Of course. We have needed 22 shots on target (and 4 xG) to score a goal. In these conditions it is not surprising we were not able to earn any point. 

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*****

What can I say ? A short recap : in the previous round we were defeated by a mediocre team, CD Iztapa. Immediately after this game we went to Costa Rica to meet Deportivo Saprissa, the best team in Central America. Final score ? We won 2-1 in a match in which we played much better than the best team from the entire region. Then we returned at home (very happy, of course). In the next match we were going to play against Deportivo Malacateco, a team that is positioned on the last place of the Guatemalan league table. We played well, we shot 12 times on target, we had chances to score ... and, of course, we lost (1-2). The second round of the confrontation with Deportivo Saprissa followed. Saprissa may be the best team in the region ... but it seems they can't compare to the super teams called CD Iztapa or Malacateco. Consequently, we got that draw we needed to qualify for the CONCACAF League semifinals. Moreover, through this qualification we also got the ticket for the next edition of the CONCACAF Champions League. How did I manage such a performance? I really have no idea. By mistake, I think ...

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*****

Immediately after the great continental success we (as usual) returned to normal and in the next game we suffered an embarrassing defeat, 0 - 3. It is true, the opponent was called Comunicaciones, the best Guatemalan team at this time. Back again to continental competitions, this time the opponent being (theoretically) easier to defeat : AD Isidro Metapan are El Salvador champions and, although they have a good team, they are not much better than us. However, that didn’t stop them from getting a draw at Achuapa and winning quite easily the second leg. We did not manage to qualify for the final but, honestly, even the fact we played in semifinals is a miracle.

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*****

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Before the start of the season I set out to improve on performances obtained in the previous season, and that had mean a 3rd place ... or better. I don’t know if “top 3” is still possible, but we should be able to qualify for playoffs, that is, to finish at least in the 6th place.

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November 2030

3 draws. We played badly against Coban, we played badly against Malacateco, we also lost the qualification for the eighth finals of the national cup ...

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*****

8 points out of 12 possible. Finally, a series of slightly better games. Unfortunately in the last game we would have needed a victory. It didn't seem like a very difficult thing to achieve, Municipal being an accessible team. And, as usual, we only got a draw ... and we failed to qualify for playoffs. Sh** !

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*****

We only needed one extra point. But it doesn't matter now.

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Players' stats. Until now Carabantes has not really shown that he deserves to be brought to Achuapa. He made countless mistakes and hardly managed to shot on target. The other newcomer, Castillo, seems to have integrated more easily. He didn't play very well but he didn't do much wrong either.

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*****

Teams' stats. In terms of offensive play we were one of the best 4 teams. In terms of defensive play ... one of the top 6 teams. It's frustrating. I'm sure I made some mistakes. Probably some tactical configurations I used were not the most recommended. Also, it is possible the training was inadequate and some players were used with a wrong position/role/duty. However, I think we would have deserved more than this 7th place.

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No less than 9 players were loaned to other clubs. Most of these players left because they were unhappy about the insufficient number of games played in our first team, but it seems that of them are not used by their current teams either. I don't need any of them but it seems even their new clubs are reluctant to extend loan agreements for some of these players.

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*****

I hope this positive atmosphere in the dressing room will also have some positive effects in terms of the players' performance in the spring season.

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They're pleased. Good for them. I'm not pleased at all.

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The club’s financial situation is acceptable, although it is obvious no profit will be made at the end of this season. To be honest, I don't care. My contract ends on June 30 and I intend to resign before that date anyway.

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Participation at CONCACAF League was not very interesting from a financial point of view. We got a total of only $ 165,000 in prizes and TV rights, plus another $ 25,000 in gate receipts. Unfortunately, prizes are very small: 35,000 for the preliminary round, 40,000 for the first round, 40,000 for quarter-finals and 50,000 for semifinals.

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The best 6 teams in the CONCACAF League are qualified for the next edition of the Champions League. I don’t know if we were that good but the fact we qualified for semifinals was enough. What could we achieve in the Champions League? Nothing. We'll meet Mexican or American teams that have allocated "only" 30-40 times higher amount for salaries than we can allocate. From this point of view, it is as if some clubs from Spain and Germany would play in the UEFA Champions League against some teams from Slovenia or Bulgaria. For this reason CONCACAF Champions League means practically a confrontation between the best Mexican teams and the best teams from MSL. The other participants have no chance to get anything, except for some slightly higher prizes than in the CONCACAF League.

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*****

We'll play against NYCFC, currently the best American team. We're fu...ll of luck. At least, we'll earn some money ...

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Youth intake preview. We'll probably get one (or maybe two) interesting players. It's still good anyway. It could have been worse.

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We only brought one player, but this player is not good enough to play in our first team yet. Manolo Zamora is a Cuban U20 international. To be honest, it wasn't a good choice because there is a significant difference between the scout's report and the player's real abilities. The player is not as good as our scout thought he was. Anyway, we sent him back to Cuba as soon as his former club offered us a loan agreement for him.

Manolo Zamora

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*****

Of course, the senior team is almost the same as the one that played in the fall season :

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Under20 squad

*****

Our backroom staff is - from my point of view - one of the best of the entire league. Maybe not the best but definitely one of the top 3.

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I don’t know why, but in the last year (more precisely, between December 2029 and June 2030) two of my attributes have grown in a surprisingly way. "Working with youngsters" increased from 14 to 18 and "Player knowledge" from 10 to 12. Could it be due to the fact at that time I was the manager of a national team ? I have no idea ...

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Friendlies. We only played two games, both against much weaker opponents than us. Of course, results did not matter, these games aiming only at keeping a good cohesion and club atmosphere.

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January 2031

*****

Two very difficult games, Antigua and Sacachispas being powerful teams. The first game was boring, both us and Antigua trying not to lose. In the 90 minutes there were only two shots on target but ‘our shot’ was better than ‘their shot’. In other words, we were lucky. Unfortunately, we were not so lucky in the second game. We had 3 denied goals and, of course, we allowed the equalizing goal in the 90+3 minute.

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*****

6 points out of 9. We got a very good result against the champion Comunicaciones but the match was as boring as the one played against Antigua. Luckily it's a fictional career, in real life TV viewers would probably be bored seeing something like that. As for the other two games ... as usual, we lost the easiest match, the one in which CD Iztapa defeated us with only two shots on target ...

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*****

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All is fine ! Until now ...

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February 2031

*****

What did I say earlier ? "Until now". So, a series of 5 good games  was followed by two defeats. And I can't even complain, our opponents deservedly won.

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*****

I'm lucky, I'm not a manager at Coban. I would definitely be annoyed. To lose with 0 - 4 a game in which a draw would have been much fairer ...

On the other hand, I am unlucky, I am the manager of Deportivo Achuapa, the team that in the second match had a clear advantage (3 - 0), led (3 - 1) at the half-time, had a disallowed goal and got only a draw (3 - 3).

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*****

What ?!? :confused:. Let's be serious ! That's hilarious !

So, we defeated NYCFC, then we got a draw in the second leg and qualified for quarter-finals. However, I am not sure we played against NYCFC because our opponent showed more as a second league team than as a super champion CONCACAF. It's as if a small team from (let's say) Slovenia would clearly beat Barcelona and Barcelona would play like a team from the Spanish 3rd league. There is clearly a problem with the way the AI "sees" its opponents in competitions played in a cup/knock-out system.

But what happened between these two games against NYCFC ? Well ... we played a game in the Guatemalan league. Who was the opponent ? Deportivo Mixco, a mediocre team. Result ? 0 - 3. And "boys from Mixco" played much better than NYCFC. Can it be a tactical issue ? Yes ... and no, because we played only a little more risky against Mixco than against NYCFC.

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NYCFC - Champions League honours

*****

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In the national league we got only 4 points out of 15 possible. In the Champions League we'll play against Atletico Ottawa, an opponent who is clearly inferior to NYCFC ... but also clearly better than our team.

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Youth intake 2031.  I wasn't really interested anymore because I was going to leave Achuapa after a few months anyway. However, I was disappointed. Almost all the candidates were mediocre, and those 4 slightly better players didn’t seem to have any chance of ever playing in the first team.

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Thanks for the offer, but ... no. I am not going to manage any club in Guatemala or El Salvador, at least not in the next 3 years.

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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March 2031

*****

We lost the game against Antigua (although the opponents are in a poor run of form) ... but we won that one played against the leader, CSD Sacachispas (who are in a good run of form :lol:).

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*****

5 points out of 9. Not bad at all although we stupidly lost two points (in the 88th minute) in a game, the one against CD Iztapa, in which we were the better team for at least 80 minutes.

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*****

We lost the qualification for Champions League semifinals. Our opponents, Atletico Ottawa, did not play well ... but in the end they prevailed, as expected. On the other hand, however, we managed to get a remarkable win in the game played against the leader, Deportivo Mictlan. It’s true, it was a lucky win, we scored two goals from just two shots on target.

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*****

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We have serious difficulties in terms of scoring goals, we scored only 7 in 8 games. Fortunately, the defense worked very well (only 5 goals conceded), which allows us to remain optimistic about qualifying for playoffs.

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April 2031

*****

We played against Municipal (6th place), Xelaju (8th place) and Coban Imperial (10th place). Theoretically, these games shouldn't have been very difficult to win. Practically, we only got two points, we didn't score any goals and conceded three. Great ...

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*****

The last three games were completely different compared to the ones before them. 9 points won, 8 goals scored, only one goal conceded. The reality is, however, that the last two games were a bit "friendlies" because our opponents who had been a chance to qualify for playoffs lost countless points towards the end of the season. We would have qualified even if we had won only 4 points instead of 9.

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*****

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4th place in the spring season table, 4th place in the overall table. It's not bad, although I would have preferred a position somewhere in the first 3 places. It wasn't to be.

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*****

Both cohesion and atmosphere are very good, a situation that could help us get some very good results in playoffs. To be honest, I hope for a qualification for the final (at least) because such a performance would be a beautiful end for my career at Achuapa. (By the way: I intend to resign on May 31, regardless of results we'll get in the next matches).

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May 2031

*****

Sh*t ! 56 shots, 16 shots on target and 3.6 xG just to score a goal ! But ... that's it. Bad luck. Thanks for your efforts, guys. Good luck and goodbye !

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*****

Players' stats. Maybe these statistics are no longer important but from my point of view they have some importance because they help me select the possible players that I could bring (if I'll can) to the club that I'll manage in the future. So, the list would be: Mauricio Morales (DC), Manuel Castellanos (MR / AMR), Carlos Garcia (ML / AML), Angel Madrid (MC / AMC / ST), Hector Carabantes (ST).

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*****

Teams' stats. In terms of attack, we were one of the best 6 teams in the league. In terms of defense ... one of the best 4. Overall, our positioning on the 4th place seems to be deserved. However, there is one aspect I need to reflect on : it normally takes 8 to 12 xG to score 10 goals. Which is also true for goals scored by the opponents, ie for goals received by my team. A good team, of course, can play in such a way as to score these 10 goals "using" 8 or maximum 9 xG and to concede these 10 goals with 12 or minimum 11 xG. But we needed 11.6 xG (goals scored) and our opponents only 7.5 xG (goals conceded). Probably there are some issues with my tactical configurations and strategies used.

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It's not important, of course, but (from a psychological point of view) leaving a club that doesn't have too many things to reproach me seems quite acceptable.

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*****

Unfortunately, I did not succeed in outstanding performance. The fact that the team qualified twice (2029 and 2030) for the playoff final is just a reissue of the performance get by other managers (AI) a few years ago. Our U20 team has won the national title 3 times in a row, but the only aspect I imposed was the use of tactical configurations used for our senior team.

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The cumulative budget (wages + transfers) for the next season will increase. If in the recently finished season this budget was about $ 1,350,000, for the next season is allocated a budget of about $ 1,725,000. Why am I interested in this as long as I intend to resign ? Because I'm going to try to find a club that has similar financial possibilities ... or better. So, the limit would be at least $ 1.35 million, cumulative budget.

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May 31, 2031

I did it ... (again, lol)

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*****

This is what my virtual representation looks like after 10 years of career. Pretty well developed, although the reputation has remained low. I only have a National C license, but for now it seems to be enough. It's a bit unrealistic because IRL this license is not enough to allow me to manage a professional club. Maybe in the next years I'll take some courses and I'll improve my professional qualification.

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So, I resigned. What should "my future club" look like? First of all, I don’t intend to work at clubs in El Salvador or Guatemala because in the last 6 seasons I have managed clubs in these countries. A change is needed. Also, Nicaragua is out of the question because the level of the best clubs in this country is much lower than the level that Deportivo Achuapa has. Given these restrictions, there are three countries on which i'll focus : Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama. Another restrictions : I going to apply for any club that is professional, is playing in the first league and have a reasonable budget.

*****

By the way, I spent the last 10 virtual years (and the last 3 real months) in a rather small region, smaller than, for example, Slovenia or Wales. That's why I'm still trying to avoid Honduras and find a club in Costa Rica or Panama.

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June 2031

Available job : Alianza FC Panama. Unfortunately, their budget is only a little over 1 million. 

*****

By the way (because I still have nothing to do but watch some news) : this guy has an interesting name.

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August 2031

Available jobs : Orion San Miguelito (Panama) and Limon FC  (Costa Rica). Orion gave me the chance for an interview (unsuccessful). Limon told me they are not going to waste their time talking with guys with have such a low reputation.

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September 2031

... nothing. The game proposed me some jobs in Colombia and Venezuela. I wasn't interested  ...

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October 2031

... nothing. I think I will have to wait until the end of the regular season. Looks like managers of clubs from the 1st league are surprisingly stable. Of course, I always have the option of a second league club ... but that means I should give up the budget restriction.

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November 2031

:lol::lol::lol:

The new manager of Deportivo Achuapa showed me how a team should really be managed :

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I should learn from AI. Looks like I have a lot to learn. However, I'm not worried. The fact I do nothing benefits me : in the last 4 months I have improved my "Working with youngsters" and "Man management". Probably if I'll go on vacation for another 2-3 years I'll definitely become an expert.

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Finally, I found another club (from Costa Rica) to which I can apply. The problem is that club has a high reputation, higher than the one that Limon FC had, that is, that club that didn’t even pay attention to me. I have no illusions ...

*****

Two days later. Big surprise : the offered me an interview ! Wow !

*****

After another three days. Huge surprise : they offered me a contract ! Woooooow !

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Who is Municipal Grecia ? In terms of reputation, it is the 7th club in all of Central America. However, the reputation can be misleading : Municipal has never won a major competition.

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When I applied for Municipal I knew that their financial situation is very good. However, as the club did not appear in my list of recommendations, the information I had was incomplete. I expected it to have a budget of "over 3, maybe even over $ 3.5 million." In reality, the cumulative budget allocated is close to 7,500,000, or, in other words, Municipal is - from a financial point of view - one of the strongest clubs in the country and, maybe, even in the entire Central American region. Excepting Mexico, of course.

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So, another club risked to hire me. I hope I'll not dissapoint them, but ... However, before anything else, a brief overview of competitions recently concluded in the Central - North American region (in some cases I selected both competitions of this season and those of the previous season) :

Central America

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North America

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Caribbean region

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Continental competitions (clubs or international)

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And now ... back to my managerial adventures. I was hired by the club called Municipal Grecia. First of all, a short presentation from a geographical and sporting point of view. Costa Rica is not a big country. Compared to Scotland, for example, Costa Rica is slightly smaller in terms of area and population. There are no very large cities, but this aspect is due to an administrative feature : even if two localities expand and merge, they continue to be considered distinct cities even if, practically, they are neighborhoods of the same city. An example: the region around the capital San Jose. Long time ago in this region there were many small towns (San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Desamparados, Guadalupe, Curridabat, San Pedro). Now they are part of a big city ... but they continue to be administratively distinct localities.

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Some details about Grecia, the town where the Municipal Club is located. It is a small town (only 14,000 inhabitants). The name is a bit surprising (in Spanish "Grecia" means Greece). Probably some of the founders of this locality were admirers of Greek culture and history. In fact, one of the neighboring towns is called "Atenas" (Athens in Spanish). The city is only 15 km (10 miles) away from the metropolitan area around the capital city San Jose. From a sports point of view, this metropolitan area represents the heart of Costa Rican football, as no less than 6 clubs from the first league (and another 6 from the 2nd league) play on stadiums located here.

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Back to my virtual career. Who is Municipal Grecia ? It's a 40-year-old professional club. It needed 19 years to promote in the first league but since then it has become one of the strongest clubs of the league, frequently ranking in the first half of the table. The club has a rather small stadium (4000 seats) but large enough considering the only 14,000 inhabitants of Grecia. Facilities are ... not very good, but acceptable. Compared to other clubs in the country, however, the quality of these facilities can be considered very good, only five other clubs having better facilities.

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Affiliated clubs. We have agreements (as a parent club) with two clubs, both playing in the second league. It seems to be an advantageous situation because the second league is active, so the players sent to these clubs can develop quite well. It's true, those two clubs have neither very good facilities nor very good coaches ... but overall those agreements look to be useful. 

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Club honours. There's something strange here. The game says the only notable performances of this club would be the 2nd places got in 2020 and 2027. I myself stated in the previous post that this club has never won a major competition (I do not consider promotion to the first league to be a great success). However, what the game says is wrong. In fact, Municipal really won the title of champion once, in the opening stage of the 2028-29 season. I think there is an error in the database, or, in other words, the final stage (playoff) was not marked as a competition to be considered in the list of honours. Finally, it doesn't matter. The idea is this club have won a trophy just a few years ago.

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Club reputation. Municipal is the 4th club in the country. It's important ? Of course, because reputation is one of things that AI "looks at" when evaluating how it should play against us. I expect, therefore, opponents who will defend tightly and compactly and will counterattack quickly as many times they will have a chance to do this.
What is our club's international reputation? Clubs in Costa Rica have a great reputation, so Municipal is also considered one of the strongest clubs in Central America and Caribbean region. However, this is not true for North America. We have a lower reputation than any Mexican or American club in the first league. But what about English clubs ? From this point of view Municipal has a reputation similar to that of "top-half" clubs of the English 3rd League (League One).

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Reputation : Municipal vs other Central American clubs

Reputation : Municipal vs North American clubs

Reputation : Municipal vs English clubs

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Club finances. To be honest, although I knew the club had significant incomes, I didn't expect that. 2 million from sponsorships, 2.5 million from TV rights ... and almost 2 million from gate receipts. These amounts are really high for a Central American club. I expected most of the income to come from investments, fund raising or even loans. In fact, the investmens are insignificant and the club did not borrow any money from the bank. TV rights are "normal", that means all clubs in the first league receive 2 million at the beginning of the season, to which are added the individual rights per televised match (which are relatively small). Sponsorships, however, are strange. Municipal is the only club in the league that has collected such a large amount. This is probably a bug (*). Also, gate receipts are strange because the club has set very high prices for tickets and season tickets and the stadium is almost full in every match (over 90% of its capacity) ... although in recent months the team has not be able to get very good results at all.

(*) Due to this possible bug I'll avoid spending too much. Although we can spend up to 7.5 million dollars (cumulative budgets) I'll restrict expenses for wages and transfers to a maximum of 2.5 million.

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Current overall yearly salaries in the league

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Specific characteristics and rules of the league.

The first Costa Rican league is similar to the one in Guatemala. There are two annual competitions (opening stage and closing stage), the winner of each competition being considered the national champion. 12 teams play in the regular season (22 rounds), then ... here appears the specific element : the first 4 teams will qualify for the playoff / knock-out stage. The winner of this playoff will play against the regular season winner in a round called "Gran Final" ... and the winner of this final will be considered the champion.

As for the rules ... In Guatemala I was able to register 35 players, out of which 8 foreigners. Of the 8 foreigners I could use only 5 at the same time. In Costa Rica, however, the rules are a little stricter. I can only register 3 foreign players. It seems that I'll have to be much more careful when I bring foreign players because I can't really keep them too much time on the bench.

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Media prediction. We are considered to be rather a mid-table team, which is quite worrying because this assessment takes into account the club reputation and the quality of our players. Since our reputation is very good ... it results we don't have a good enough squad. Or at least it is not good enough to allow setting of more ambitious goals than a qualification for playoffs.

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Board's requests are quite surprising. Normally "be competitive" can also mean "avoid relegation" ... but I don't think that's the case. I rather think that the board requires ask for our involvement in the fight for a playoff qualification and, in this case, they could tolerate a possible 5th place. For more safety, however, probably my goal should be the 4th place. Even so, the board's claims are quite low. The financial potential of the club would entitle them to ask for much more.  At the end of the season it is possible these requests will change from "work towards challenging for the title" to "you have to win the title and qualify the team until the final rounds of the CONCACAf league".

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I have to admit, at the interview I promised a lot. However, I was careful and did not promise anything that would make my managerial life difficult in the short term. Except for some catastrophically bad results, the board has little reason to fire me in the near future.

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Recent transfers. First of all, a specification is needed : the transfer market in Costa Rica is much more expensive than the one in Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala. In these 3 countries a player for whom 25,000 was paid is very good, and one whose transfer fee exceeds 200,000 is already an exceptional player (at national level, of course). In Costa Rica, however, there is more money and transfer fees often exceed 100,000 even for less impressive players. Last summer, for example, in just 3 months, were completed 6 transfers for which were paid at least 500,000 and another 19 transfers for amounts between 100,000 and 500,000.

Being one of the "rich" clubs in the country, Municipal spent quite a lot at the beginning of the season, almost a million dollars. Some of the players brought look pretty good (especially the youth international Javier Mora) and, in my opinion, no further transfers are needed in the next few months.

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Significant transfer fees paid or received by Costa Rican clubs in the last few months.

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Backroom staff. Unlike clubs in Guatemala, those in Costa Rica have two youth squads, Under21 and Under18. However, although the Municipal has a large allocated budget, the staffing scheme is not complete at all. Both youth squads have only a manager and no coaches or medical staff.  In terms of quality ... compared to other clubs, our staff is at most at an average level.

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Player lists don't tell me much at the moment. However, as a first conclusion : players from Municipal are (or seem to be) better than those from Achuapa. I asked our scout to assess my former team. His opinion was similar : Municipal has at least 7-8 better players than the best player from Achuapa. However, this does not mean much as expectations are higher and opponents are stronger in Costa Rica.
And a second (and very unpleasant) conclusion: we have no less than 36 players in our youth squads ... but only 4 of them really seem to be promising. Way too few ...

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Under21 squad

Under18 squad

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***************

As usual, the support is very poor. But as the situation in Achuapa was similar and the results were quite good, I'll ignore this issue and focus on improving cohesion and atmosphere.

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Posted (edited)

December 2031

*****

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So, this is the starting point, ie the table of the fall season (opening stage). There are 4 "big and bad boys" in this league (Herediano, Perez Zeledon, Alajuelense, Saprissa) ... and our goal is to overcome one of these four opponents, to get the 4th place and, as a result, to qualify for playoffs.

***************

Youth intake preview. "Very poor crop of players" ... it seems the next intake will not be interesting at all.

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January 2032 (first 10 days)

I didn’t bring any players and I don’t intend to bring any in the coming months. Instead, we have a lot of offers for our players. Until now  we've lost just one player, a youngster we didn't need anyway.

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Our senior squad is therefore the same as at the end of November :

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***************

This is our pitch. It looks a little funny ... but is not. It's too short and too wide for my tactical configurations. I checked : any slightly longer pass automatically becomes a counterattack and any attack on the sides creates great troubles for wide defenders (they tend to move away from their teammates who are in the center of defense). Of course, even our opponents will have the same issue ... but I don't have a clear idea about how we should use these unusual dimensions. The biggest problem is I can’t change anything yet. Resizing the pitch can only be done at the beginning of a new season ... so in July or August.

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***************

Friendlies. I chose to use a 4-4-2 configuration because I wasn't sure if we had a striker able to handle alone with a crowded defense. The result of the experiment : we scored many goals. But ... we only played against some opponents from the 3rd league, with one exception. In the last game we met a second league team (so, a mediocre team), and that team clearly defeated us.

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There was also another signal that something is wrong : I asked both managers of the under21 and under18 teams to use my 4-4-2 configuration. Results were totally unsatisfactory :

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This huge number of goals conceded determined me to give up 4-4-2 and use some slightly less risky configurations (4-4-1-1 and 4-1-4-1)

***************

We played enough friendlies but the cohesion remained only "good". The atmosphere has improved a bit and the support is ... as it is. I can't improve it on a short term.

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January 2032

*****

The first two matches were played against some opponents which, in terms of value, are at about the same level as us. We could have won the first game but the team played poorly in the second half. It happens. Overall, a pretty good start of the season.

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*****

What ?!? I don't understand ...

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Of course, I checked. It looks like a bug. It is known the game may sometimes misinterpret performances in those competitions that take place in two stages (opening and closing).

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What did I say in my previous post ?

Quote

Normally "be competitive" can also mean "avoid relegation" ... but I don't think that's the case. I rather think that the board requires ask for our involvement in the fight for a playoff qualification and, in this case, they could tolerate a possible 5th place. For more safety, however, probably my goal should be the 4th place.

That's exactly what happened. Now it is no longer enough to "be competitive". A top 4 positioning (and, consequently, a qualification for playoffs) has become mandatory.

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*****

3 points. The second game was very difficult, Alajuelense being one of the "big 4". We didn't play badly but we could only have won if our luck helped us. And it didn't help us.

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*****

I was expecting something like that. Since the board's confidence is very low, the game thinks it's time for it to threaten me with dismissal. However, the board (ie the game) knows our results are not very bad and is willing to accept an argument like "as long as we still have a chance to get one of the first 4 places I don't think I should be fired."

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*****

What could I say ? We should have won at least 3 points. I have a feeling : my career at Municipal will be shorter than I thought ...

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*****

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6th place ... but the team doesn't play the way I wished. What's worse is almost all players react unconvincingly. I tried to congratulate and praise them. They react very little and usually a session of praise is followed by a weak game. They have large variations in consistency,  can play very well for 15 minutes and very poor for the next 75 minutes. I have no idea what can be done ...

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End of January

*****

The transfer window closed at the end of the month. We didn't bring in new players, instead we sold a few. None of those who left were indispensable, so we didn't lose anything by letting them leave and, in addition, we got about 600,000 as transfer fees.

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February 2032

*****

The first match was exciting, considering the fact that we defeated one of the "big 4" (ADM Perez Zeledon). Instead, we lost in a hilarious way a game (the second) in which the opponent scored twice out of two shots on target ... and we missed at least 4 clear chances to score.

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*****

Immediately after the second game I was invited to the meeting. What could I tell them? That our defenders sit and watch when opponents pass by them? That our midfielders make a lot of mistakes ? That our strikers are not able to hit the opponent goal even if opponents avoid standing near them ? It is clear, this team has big problems and I don’t know what can be done. I got a postponement for dismissal ... but everything is possible in the near future.

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*****

Superb. Two defeats. In the first match we played very well in the first 45 minutes and extremely weak in the last 45, and this although at the break I reminded them this game should not be considered already won. Regarding the second game, our right defender was eliminated in the 10th minute and the opponent (Herediano, one of the "big 4") made the most from this advantage.

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*****

I changed the tactical configuration (from a riskier 4-4-1-1 to a more compact 4-1-4-1) and results were surprisingly good : two wins, 7 goals scored, only one goal conceded.

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*****

We should have won 6 points. We got only two of these 6 points. I think I have nothing to do. That's the level of these players. They can't do more.

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*****

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There are 8 more rounds to play but our chances of qualifying for playoffs are now very low. Not those 5 points difference from the 4th place is the problem but the fact the team is very inconsistent.

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March 2032

*****

Of course. I'm not suprised at all.

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*****

The opponent's first shot on target = the first goal. That's enough ...

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The end of the match. An embarrassing 0 - 3 ...

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*****

Let's end with this, it's not worth ... 

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So, I resigned. I would have some interesting options ... but I learned one important thing : I will never take over a team again during the season. I'll wait until competitions (or at least the regular season) are over and I'll see then what options I have.

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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March and April 2032

I am waiting for the end of the regular season ...

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May 2032

At the moment I have only one option : Alianza FC Panama. I applied.

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If until the beginning of July I'll not be hired by a first league club then I'll also apply to clubs in the second league.

(By the way, my former club - Municipal Grecia - fired also the manager (AI) who took over of the club after I left).

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June 2032

I'm waiting. After 5 weeks Alianza has not yet informed me if it intends (or not) to offer me an interview ...

***************

Meanwhile, I discovered that AI works wonders at Deportivo Achuapa. I failed to lead this club to the first place. AI did it ! Shame on me ...

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***************

Yay, Alianza offered me the long-awaited interview ! Moreover, they offered me the long-awaited contract !

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***************

Some details about Panama: it's not a big country. In terms of area and population Panama it's very similar to Ireland. The most famous thing in the country is, of course, the Panama Canal. It represents, together with the surrounding regions, only 5% of the country's surface but concentrates half of the population, 3 of the most important 4 cities in the country ... and about three quarters of all football clubs that play in the first two Panamanian leagues. The most important city in the country is, of course, the capital, Panama City (Ciudad de Panama, in Spanish), which is the second most populous city in Central America. In fact, Panama City consists practically of two large cities (Panama and San Miguelito) even if from an administrative point of view they are considered separate entities.

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***************

And now, back to my virtual career. I was hired by the Alianza club, that is, one of the clubs located in the country's capital. In the same city there are 4 other first league clubs : Tauro FC, Deportivo del Este, Atletico Nacional and Plaza Amador FC. San Miguelito, the neighboring city, also has two clubs in the first league (Sporting and Orion). It will be a little strange enough to say "we will play in another city" when the distance between a stadium in Panama City and another in San Miguelito is only about 6-7 kilometers (4-5 miles).

(By the way : the oldest Panamanian football clubs were founded over 100 years ago. Unfortunately, over time, they have either disbanded or merged, and Alianza, although "only" about 60 years old, is the second oldest club in the country that is still active. The honor of being the oldest active club belongs to another club in the capital, Plaza Amador FC)

In terms of facilities ... the club's stadium is small (only 1500 seats). Our junior coaching is really good (average) but the other facilities would require some improvements.

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***************

Club reputation. In terms of reputation Alianza is the 9th club in the country. Sounds pretty good, but Panamanian clubs (with one exception) are not very strong. In the Central American region, for example, the best Panamanian club is only the 26th in terms of reputation. The second club is on the 39th place ... and Alianza is only on the 71st place. For comparison, the club that kicked me out a few months ago (Municipal Grecia) is on the 9th place, and the club from where I resigned last year (Deportivo Achuapa) is on the 30th place.
Compared to English clubs reputation, Alianza would be somewhere in the second half of the 5th English league.

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Central American clubs reputation

Reputation - Alianza vs English clubs

***************

Club honours. Although it did not achieve exceptional performances, Alianza can boast some notable achievements : two titles of national champion (closing stage 2023-24 and opening stage 2024-25), winning the regular season (closing stage in 2022-23), 2nd place in the season regular (opening stage 2024-25 and 2025-26, closing stage 2029-30) plus a cup final (season 2027-28). So it is a club that had good periods but which in the last 2 years was not able to avoid mediocrity.

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Speaking of competitions ... the format of the first Panamanian league is very similar to that in Guatemala. Two separate tournaments (opening and closing), each with two stages. In the first stage (regular) 12 teams play 22 rounds each and the first 6 teams in the table are qualified for the next stage, knock-out system. Teams positioned on 3rd to 6th places in the regular season table have to play in the quarterfinals and those positioned on the 1st and 2nd places are qualified directly for the semifinals. The winner of this final stage is considered the national champion. It's a unusual system, but it's as "weird" as the UEFA Champions League, where a team ranked 4th in its national league can win the competition and be proclaimed "the best team in Europe".

An interesting aspect : usually, a national league is dominated by 2, 3 or even more clubs. In Costa Rica, for example, there are 4 very strong clubs. In Guatemala there are 7-8 clubs that compete every year to win the league. In Panama, however, there is only one very strong club, a kind of national super-force : Tauro FC Panama. It wasn't always like that. 10 years ago Tauro was not superior to clubs like Universitario, Sporting, Arabe Unido. But for 5-6 years now Tauro FC has been clearly dominating the championship : only 13 defeats in 220 games played, 5 times in a row number one in the overall table. However, it is noteworthy that Tauro qualified 10 times in a row for playoffs stage ... but they managed to win this stage 6 times only.

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League rules. In some respects they are similar to those in Guatemala, or, in other words, we can register and use a maximum of 5 foreign players. But there are also two important differences : we can only register a maximum of 25 players ... and we have to pay a minimum of $ 2,700 per month to a junior to whom I offer a professional player contract. So, I have to be very careful who I offer contracts to because I risk to pay over $ 30,000 per year to a mediocre young player.

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***************

Club finances.

I don’t like what I see. I knew we didn’t have much money, but the fact that we hevily depend on the board is ... let's say "risky". They provide us over $ 900,000 of the $ 2 million which are our yearly revenue. And this means that if they'll reduce their annual contribution, we'll not have enough money to pay even these really small salaries we can offer now.
In addition, the previous manager had interesting ideas. The club can spend only $ 76,000 a month on salaries (920,000 per year) ... but he has increased spending to over 100,000 (1,200,000 per year). Some expenses can be reduced by ending of loan agreements for the 5 players loaned from other clubs. But even so, the budget remains too small to be able to transfer or loan some good players. Unfortunately they are not playing for free and will ask for some salaries. Worse, I have 6 players whose contracts expire on June 30 ... and another 11 players whose contracts expire on December 31. They'll probably want a salary raise ... or they'll leave. And some of them are really important players for our team ...

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***************

Media prediction. Media prediction. We are considered to be the 5th favorite to win the title or, in other words, we are rated as been a team capable of fighting for the playoff qualification. Since our reputation is not very high, it seems we a have (for now) a really good senior squad, probably a "top 4" squad. The problem is to what extent we'll be able to keep our important players.

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***************

Club vision. When I signed the contract I was very satisfied because board's requests were extremely reasonable. I was not required to achieve some out of the ordinary performance. Moreover, one of the requests refers to the development of "the best youth system in the country", something that sounds very attractive. But after seeing the financial situation of our club I started to have some doubts. I don't think we'll have enough money to build something like that. In addition, there is something else : for unknown reasons (probably a bug) we woke up qualified for CONCACAF League although we did not deserve it. Somehow we "stole" the continental place of champions (Tauro FC). It's true, they are qualified for the Champions League but they should also be able to participate in the CONCACAF League.

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***************

The backroom staff is pretty good (for our level). We do not have a HOYD but for now this problem can be postponed. I would have liked even a better assistant manager ... but I have to be content with the one we have.

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***************

Squads

Huh, media prediction was right. This is a top 6 squad, maybe even better. Unfortunately, we will lose good players (Alvares, Garces, Jose Rodrigues, all on loan) and, in addition, Peralta's and Cunningham's contracts will expire in a few days. I hope I can convince them to sign new contracts ...

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Huh, media prediction was right.

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*****

I've been rarely seen such a weak group of young players. Only 6 of the 26 players seem to be - maybe - useful for our senior squad. The others ... unfortunately they can't get rid of them because I can't pay their termination clauses. I feel like laughing : mediocre players like Cox, Escobar and Aguilar earn $ 30,000 a year each ...

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***************

Players' morale is good. Cohesion ... good, but still needs to be improved. The atmosphere is pretty good, especially is case of a club that didn't have a very good end to the season. Even the support is good, but that was to be expected. My reputation (as small as it is) seems to be high enough compared to the reputation of the club and players. At least this issue looks to be solved at this club.

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***************

My virtual representation looks pretty good. He would still need some additional coaching skills. Probably a National B (or even National A) license would be required ...

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***************

My career summary - the last 4 seasons :

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... and my entire career, 2020 - 2032 :

Career 2020-2032

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A short overview of the recently finished season (2031-32) in some domestic competitions from the CONCACAF zone :

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One of the board's requests when I signed the contract was "developing the best youth system in the country." Term : two years. Unfortunately, this will not be possible. Developing a better system than the one owned by Tauro or Universitario requires at least a million dollars ... money that we don't have and we'll not have even in the future. 

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Could we earn enough money by selling some players ? Not possible. Unfortunately, the transfer market in Panama does not generate high profits for clubs. A reasonable good player can be transferred for a maximum of $ 10,000. A very good one can reach 20,000 or a little more. If we "sold" the whole team, we wouldn't get even half of the money we needed.

Panama - current (and highest) transfer fees

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Board's expectations are low, but just as low are also budgets that the club can offer for now ...

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Until now the board has offered over half a million, but this represents only 60% of the minimum amount we need. I hope we'll also get the remaining 40% ... or maybe more.

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Players

In just a few weeks we lost 9 good or very good players. No, not because we "sold" these players, but we  simply didn't have enough money to offer them an extension of contracts (or loan agreements). How many players did we bring ? No one. Of course, money would have been found for 2-3 new players but the quality of these new players would have been low, not much higher than the quality of some youngsters from our under19 team.

I have, however, two reasons to be satisfied : first of all, I managed to extend the contract of an extremely important player, the right wing Edwin Cunningham. The second reason: I got a very large amount ($ 12,750) from the transfer of a junior I wanted to get rid of. Gabriel Phillips is very slow and his low determination (4) it'll strongly influence his development. Maybe this guy had some good potential ... but I'll let other clubs to help him to reach this potential.

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*****

At the end of June we had 26 players in the senior squad. 9 of them left. We brought a player from U19 (that is, the central defender Espinoza) ... and we reached a senior squad consisting of 18 players, of which 3 goalkeepers. A little too few, which is why I registered 4 other players for the first team, meaning the best 4 players we have in our U19 squad. Unfortunately, these young  players are 16 or at most 17 years old, so for now I can't rely too much on them. I hope, however, they'll be able to deal with their back-up status.

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*****

Even after so many departures the quality of the team remained quite high ... except for the physical abilities. For this reason, as well as because we are going to play at least 25 games in the next 14 weeks, I decided that immediately after the start of the season the training intensity will be reduced. I'll also periodically schedule some rest days and I'll reduce the intensity of pressing from "more urgent" to "balanced".

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*****

In my opinion, these are the best 12 players the club had when I was hired at Alianza. Two of them have already left (Peralta and Gonzalez) .. and two others (Marcos and Oscar Cedeno) are only 16 years old.

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*****

The effect of those 9 players' departure was immediately "felt" in the media prediction. Our reputation has not changed but now it is considered we have a weaker team, which is why our rating has dropped from 16-1 to 33-1.

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*****

We have managed to reduce wage expenses to a reasonable amount ... and I hope in this way we'll be able to get amounts needed to improve our facilities.

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*****

The backroom staff is pretty much the same ... except for two new scouts. None of them is very good but at least they are not asking for high salaries.

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July 2032

Friendlies. We played 7 games, 3 of the opponents being 2nd league teams (C-3, Centenario, Herrera) and the other 4 being lower league teams. We used all available players, including some players from the U19 squad. A brief conclusion : 2nd league clubs seems to be much weaker than I would have expected, which does not sound too encouraging in terms of bringing players from those clubs.

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By the way, there is an error in the above schedule. We will not play in the CONCACAF League in August, but in September. I don't know why the game displays the same games twice. Probably it's a bug)

*****

Everything look good ... until now.

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August 2032

*****

5 points out of 9. It's not bad, although it could have been even better.

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*****

I was glad way too early. Three games, no points. Worse, we were clearly defeated by a team (C.A.I La Chorrera) that is by no means better than us. As for the last game, the one played against champions (Tauro FC) ... we were lucky because Tauro's players played poorly in the second half. They were probably bored of humiliating us ...

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*****

Wow, 7 points ! But I shouldn't be happy because the opponents were mediocre and we didn't play very well. Fortunately, the three attacking players (Perez / MR - Medina / ML - Sanchez / ST) were able to compensate for mistakes made by other players.

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*****

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It's quite aceptabile ... for now.

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*****

Great ! The best wide midfielder we have ...

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*****

What can I say ? At least I tried ...

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September 2032

*****

That's it, we got rid of CONCACAF League ! I was hoping to qualify for the next round, but our opponents (CSD Coban Imperial from Guatemala) showed us we are too weak for a competition like this.

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*****

7 points out of 9. It's very good, especially since we defeated Universitario away, that is, the club that last season ranked 2nd in the overall table.

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*****

6 points. We clearly won the first game (7 - 0) but, honestly, we would not have deserved more than a 2 - 0. We were lucky and I don't like this because I prefer to have luck in a difficult match than to score 7 goals in the goal of a mediocre team. For example, I would have preferred a draw in the last game.

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*****

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September was a very good month for us, at least in terms of league games. We reached the 3rd place ... but more than that we can't climb. Tauro FC and - surprisingly - Sporting are far too strong. Their offensive strength is far above the level of the other Panamanian teams.

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*****

The atmosphere at the club is good, but that's all. I would have expected greater enthusiasm, given that - however - the 3rd place is a good performance.

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October 2032

*****

Huh, we were a few steps away from an exceptional result (equal match against the Tauro FC champions). We received a goal in the 90 + 4 minute ... but, to be honest, we didn't deserve that draw. Tauro played much better than us.

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*****

9 points out of 9 ! But it's true, opponents were mediocre and, in addition, in the first game we needed a lot of work (and luck) to overcome a very compact defense.

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*****

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We can no longer lose fourth place or, in other words, we are already qualified for playoffs.

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November 2032

Good results, especially since the team has not (yet) been affected by complacency.

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The end of the regular season. We got the 3rd place. A good performance, although not very good. A few years ago this team won the championship, so a 3rd place can be at most satisfactory.

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Dressing room atmosphere continues to be just "good" ... but it doesn't matter, as long as results are above expectations. A really serious problem is related to the players' physical condition, which is seriously affected by the (too) big number of games played in the last 3 months.

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*****

It was normal for serious injuries to occur. I just wonder why we had so few cases. We were probably lucky ...

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November 2032 - playoffs

*****

Quarter-finals.

Only one game was played, on the stadium of the team ranked on a better place in the regular season. So, we played "at home" against Atletico Nacional ... and we easily won.

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*****

Semi-finals.

Semifinals are played in two legs. Although we played well, we lost the first game ... but we managed to win (3 - 0) in the second game and get the qualification for the final. (I have to admit, the last 30 minutes of the second game stressed me a lot ... )

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*****

The final.

The match was played on a neutral ground, (Rommel Fernandez stadium in the capital Panama City). As a curiosity, this stadium is at an equal distance, 5 kilometers (3 miles) from both our stadium and the stadium of Sporting opponents. As for the result ... unfortunately the difference in value between the two teams was obvious. We did everything we could, we tried to reach overtime (maybe even penalties) ... but opponents have been better. That's it, even the 2nd place it's good enough.

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*****

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Players' stats :

Sanchez, our striker, is a real "beast." I also congratulate myself on the idea of sacrificing other players just to pay Cunningham's salary. He deserved every penny.

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The 4 players from the U19 team who occasionally played in the first team did quite well. Even one of them (Oscar Cedeno) did very well and I think he has already won a place in the senior squad.

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***************

I don't think I should be surprised. Our "beast" wants to leave. Fortunately for us, he has a contract until December 2033 ... and an 80,000 clause. Unfortunately for us, a foreign club might easily put this 80,000 on the table, which is a small amount compared to the importance of this player for our team.

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***************

In terms of attack we are in the top 3. In terms of defense ... in the top 2. Overall, it seems we deserve the 3rd place in the regular season, and maybe even the fact we played in the league final.

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***************

Well, it seems that the board does not want (yet) to improve club's facilities. It's okay, I had no illusions anyway.

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***************

I have no intention of trying to convince them. I can live - and manage - even with a National C license.

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December 2032

*****

Youth intake preview : "don't expect much from this intake". All right, I won't expect miracles. After all, we don't even have a HOYD. And our facilities aren't very good either.

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*****

Finances. We are not in a very good situation, the club has debts of over $ 700,000. The board has already invested half a million, but this money will have to be returned in the future. As a result, there is no question of higher expenses. I'll have to improve the team without exceeding the $ 75,000 monthly wages limit.

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January 2033

*****

In the autumn season we used 22 players, of which 3 goalkeepers and 4 players from the under19 team. But we had a problem: the contracts of 7 of these 22 players were to expire on December 31 (goalkeeper Palma, defenders Atencio and Hurtado, midfielders Calderon, Cedeno and Mena, striker Dixon). It was obvious we could not offer spectacular salary increases. Fortunately, 5 of the 7 players accepted salaries only slightly higher than the previous ones. Only Hurtado and Calderon had exaggerated claims (the latter demanded $ 9,000 a month, given that players better than him were paid only $ 5,000). Of course, we gave up both players ... but that meant that on January 1 our senior squad consisted only on 16 players.

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*******

Transfers. Our squad had 4 insufficiently covered positions : DC, DM, MC and MR. Initially I wanted to transfer a few players but I realized it would cost us quite a lot because players we needed had high salary demands. As a result, I loaned 5 players from other clubs. None of them rise to the level of the best 3 players we already have (Rolando Rodriguez, Cunningham and Sanchez) ... but they are good enough and, in addition, they didn’t cost us much, their salaries being reasonable. We brought in the senior team the best players from under 19, and at the beginning of the season the senior squad consisted of a balanced group of 23 players.

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Released players

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To be honest, McFarlane doesn't deserve a place in the squad (he's almost 35 years old and his physical abilities are poor) ... but he's good as a mentor.

The team report did not change very much after completing the squad because newcomer players are at the level of those who were already part of the group. And, of course, physical attributes of youngsters I brought from U19 squad do not have a high enough level.

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*****

We can disband our U19 team because the few players left there are so good that ... no one wants them, not even as a loan. And the ones on the list are the best we had (I have already released the weakest players from there) !

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U19 squad

*****

Media prediction remained the same for us (33 - 1) but we climbed the list from 9th place to 6th place because 3 other clubs (Atletico Nacional, Arabe Unido and Plaza Amador) lost a lot of players during the winter break.

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*****

Friendlies. 3 of the 4 opponents we played against are 2nd league teams. But as the level of the second league is very low, it is obvious these spectacular results are not relevant. However, the countless goals scored had a positive effect on the cohesion and atmosphere.

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February 2033

*****

Impressive start of the season. 9 points out of 9, shots on target 28 - 6, xG 7.1 - 1.2. I hope we'll continue like this.

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*****

I hoped in vain. Sporting San Miguelito is (for now) better than us.

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*****

Yay, we beat Tauro ! Moreover, we played very well ! In the second match we had some luck because it is clear we would not have easily won if San Francisco had managed to score from that penalty.

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*****

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18 points out of 21. Great start. But ... until the end of the season a lot of things can happen.

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March 2033

*****

Because we have a larger squad I thought I could increase the training intensity. Bad idea ! Back to medium intensity trainings ... and more attention in the future. This kind of mistakes can be very risky.

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*****

9 points. Stots on target : 27 - 3 (!!). However, none of the 3 opponents is a strong team, and, in addition, all 3 teams are in a bad run of form.

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*****

Of course, in the end I lost. And we lost against a team (CD Plaza Amador) that, during the winter break, sold 4 of its best players. However, on the whole we got 6 points out of 9 possible. It's good anyway.

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*****

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We continue to play very well (and I have to be honest, we play much better than I expected). We are involved in the fight for the first place but our chances are quite small because the main opponent (Tauro) is a football machine : they scored 47 goals in only 12 games (actually in 11, they lost the match played against us, 0 - 2) . If I take into account games from the fall season then Tauro scored 115 goals in 34 games.

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*****

The atmosphere is not very good in our dressing room. The cause ? I had a talk with Ivan Sanchez, one of our team leaders. The guy definitely wants to leave. He has a 80,000 release clause but he wants to leave for a maximum of $ 15,000. I told him I couldn’t accept such a thing and he immediately organized a riot in the locker room. Still, surprisingly, players are on my side, the team continues to play well ... and even Sanchez continues to score goals as if nothing had happened.

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Youth intake 2033.

Great ! We already have only (too) few youngsters with a reasonable potential and we clearly didn't need such a thing ! Only one good player. It's true, he's an interesting player, but ... just one ?!?

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April 2033

*****

After 13 years of career I reached the 500th game. I didn't get any major successes ... but it was - and is - an attractive career (at least for me)

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*****

Whaaaaaaaaat ????????????

That means ... they fired that manager who in the last 5 years led them to win 6 championship titles and the CONCACAF League ?!? Wow !

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7 points out of 9. In the first game we clearly were the better team and the fact we won only with 1-0 is due only to bad luck. The second game followed, against Sporting, the second favorite to win the title. We played exceptionally, we had 2 - 0 ... but after the break I tried to keep the score (bad idea !) And, although in the end we gone back
to a more offensive style of play, we only got a draw (2 - 2) . The last game is easy to describe : FC Sanchez - CAI La Chorrera 4 - 2. This situation surprises me. Sanchez is very upset but he has no problem to play well and to score goal after goal. I can't understand why his upset doesn't affect the way he plays.

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*****

The next game deserves a more detailed description because it was the craziest game of my entire career.

So, the opponent : Tauro FC, the main favorite to win the title. At that time we were in the 1st place, Tauro in the 2nd place, and a draw would have been very advantageous for us. 1st minute of play (more precisely, second 54) : 1 - 0 for us, a Cunningham goal. 26 minutes later : 4 - 1 for Tauro. And not in an usual way. Tauro scored 4 times from just 3 shots on target, one of these shots being a penalty kick.

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At that moment we have nothing to lose, so we decided to play very offensive. What happened next ? After another 15 minutes of play, the score became 4 - 4 (!!!)

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In the second half I gave up the aggressive (but risky) style of play. Tauro didn't risk either and a balanced game resulted. Unfortunately, however, Tauro scored twice and won a game in which - in my opinion - a draw would have been fairer.

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If we had managed to get at least a draw it would have been perfect. But ... Tauro has an extra game to play and Sporting seems to be in a good run of form. However, there is a positive aspect : we practically can't "lose" the 3rd place. The difference from the 4th place is big enough.

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*****

6 points out of 6 ... and a qualification for the cup semi-final. Well done, guys !

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Sporting lost 3 very important points. It seems we have good chances for the 2nd place.

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*****

I won the first game without any major difficultis. In the second game, however, we were extremely lucky. In the last minutes (the score was 1 - 1) we risked a lot and the hosts (Atletico Nacional) were about to score the winning goal a few minutes before the end. Honestly, in those moments I was happy even for an draw so I couldn't believe it when Mena scored on a counterattack our second goal in the 90 + 3 minute

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6 wins out of 8 possible. Great ! But, more importantly, "the big boys" from Tauro have won only one point in the last 3 matches played !!!!

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We have two more games to play ... and we only need two more points to win the regular season.

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Here's what happens when someone has an obsession ... (he - that is, the AI - doesn't seem to understand we don't need a meeting yet)