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I've been thinking about trying my hand at a MLS 'franchise' but I understand their rules are vastly different to the norm of European clubs. Has anyone managed an MLS club in game or does anyone have any knowledge that'll help me out?

The most I know is that it's split in to two halves and it has been nicknamed the 'Football Retirement Home' after many stars go there to end their career.

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i kind of know how it runs because is the same as baseball and i follow that sport, but its hard to understand anyway, the first half is like the conference in england, 2 leagues runing at the same time, but after some games are played, the league goes to a elimination round, where they play similar to FA Cup, the winner from the league phase get a trophy and the winner of the elimination round gets another, both are the same league anyway so winning the first half "doesn't mean you won the league"...at least thats what the ultimate challenge says...kinda...

also you can trade players, that is the norm in North american sports, there is also a draft where the kids from different high schools gets choosen in reverse order of the first half of the previous season.

i know there are a ton of other stuff im missing but i haven't tried to play MLS since that system takes quite some time to get used to, and i don't have that kind of time right now.

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There are also all kinds of wage caps and contract limitations I believe. The draft system is an interesting concept though, designed to level the playing field whereby clubs get a 'pick' from the draft - like the old schoolyard - and First Pick is the most valuable. How you get first pick officially I don;t know, but it can be used, I believe, as a bargaining tool when trading with other clubs. So, you can have my DR for 100,000 plus First Pick at the draft etc.

 

Edited by Snorks

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I've noticed that you'll go into the draft and have absolutely no information about players, and if you delegate to coaches they'll just decline to pick anyone as they're apparently all not good enough.

A lot of MLS teams' academies are officially different teams, kinda like B teams in Spain except I don't remember if you control the training. 

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Thanks for your advice guys! I might jump into one and I'll let you know how it goes!

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The league is split into two conferences, Eastern and Western.  The league is spread over a vast area, with even the closest clubs (apart from those sharing the same city) farther apart than the most distant clubs in the Premier League.  The geographical conferences are designed to cut down on travel time, but they are not strictly separate.  In the regular season of 34 matches, clubs will typically play every other club in their own conference home and away, and then play each club in the opposite conference once either home or away, alternating each year.  Every club plays every other club in the league at least once a year, though.  The club with the most points overall at the end of the regular season wins the Supporter's Shield, which is roughly the equivalent of winning the table in traditional leagues.  Since clubs don't play each other an equal number of times, and since playoffs are a huge part of the American sporting scene in all other sports, the Supporter's Shield is not the ultimate trophy in MLS, however.  Instead, the top clubs in each conference at the end of the regular season enter the playoffs, and are seeded according to their table finish.  The ultimate survivor from the West plays the ultimate survivor from the East in the MLS Cup, which is the champion's trophy.

Some high profile clubs in big markets still like to sign aging European stars in order to make a splash in their markets, but most clubs are beginning to move away from that model or have avoided it altogether, preferring instead to focus more on homegrown development and signing young promising talent from abroad, especially Central and South America, with an eye towards selling them on to Europe when they can.

In order to survive in a stiff domestic competitive environment that no other league in the world has to face, (four of the five top sports leagues in the world by revenue are the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL) MLS has tried to avoid the old NASL model from the 70s and 80s in which clubs basically spent themselves into oblivion.  MLS therefore has a salary cap and strict rules on how money can be spent in an effort to level the playing field between teams and enforce sustainable growth.  The rules can be very difficult to understand, even for those who closely follow the league, but they have allowed the sport to grow tremendously over the last few years and have made the league internally very competitive, with any club able to beat any other on any given day.  I won't go into detail on all the rules, but basically, each club is allowed three Designated Players who can be signed at any price but who will only hit the cap for a limited amount.  This has helped the league sign a better quality of player as revenues have grown.  Other budget mechanisms are designed to encourage the development of homegrown players and the signing of solid mid level depth players.

The Superdraft mirrors much more high profile drafts in other American sports leagues, but has been declining in importance in MLS in recent years as the best players now are more likely to come through development academies and transfers from abroad than through college.  There are always a few gems buried in the draft pool, but it's mostly a crapshoot.  You are not likely to find a wonderkid there, but if you are lucky you might find a solid role player and depth piece that can contribute for many years.  Increasingly, clubs are largely ignoring the draft as they can usually find better players elsewhere.

The end result is that MLS can be a difficult challenge in FM, especially if you've grown bored of managing one of the super clubs.  You won't be able to simply sign whoever you want at whatever price to fill that large hole you have on your team.  It's more about finding a way to make what you have available work within the confines of the system.

I hope that helps.

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More on the draft.

Draft picks are allocated depending on the final results of the season, with the worst clubs getting the best picks and the best getting the worst.  It's designed as a balancing mechanism.  Picks are tradeable as well.  FM doesn't model the draft very well, however, because it doesn't really include the college teams that produce the vast majority of the pool players.  

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3 minutes ago, sprattfoster said:

I hope that helps.

Very much so. Thank you. 

I jumped in with a second manager in my current career. The Atlanta United job was the first to come up, I applied and got it so I'll go from there and see what happens.

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That's an awesome breakdown Sprattfoster - thank you. Has explained a lot to me as well. Am not a huge MLS fan, but since moving from UK to New Zealand most of my football information comes via ESPN so am seeing a lot more MLS than  I used to.

Hav e got to admit, it's been good to see the league grow as it has, some of the Marquee players of old I suspect were brought in for their merchandising value as much as playing ability.

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I've been managing Orlando City starting in 2036 and it's now 2041! It's a headache from time to time, but definitely challenge yourself to win the NACL! The MLS becomes a breeze the other head coaches seem to have a very low IQ lol! You won't win much money winning everything, but save up your allocation money and don't use it! Once you build up a solid squad and your youth players start getting into their prime you'll need that allocation money to increase your wage budget so you can go over the salary cap. 

There is definitely something hard coded preventing the MLS from becoming a huge league (I'm on FM16) due to stagnating profits. Despite winning just about everything the sponsorships, merchandise, and gate receipts have only seen a slight increase. I would have thought winning the NACL 3 years in a row and defeating the CL winners Arsenal in the Club World Championship would have sent the US Soccer community wild with major sponsors wanting to jump on board the "soccer" bandwagon. 

I'm hoping that next season I'll FINALLY be able to build a new stadium! We're selling out the 25,000 seater just about every match, but the board is still giving me the bs excuse "no increase in our fan base" not to mention the cost of tickets is among the lowest in the league. 

I'm curious if FM18 has allowed for more control of the academy system. 

 

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