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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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