Jake Gibbons lasted just fifteen games, becoming the first CPL manager to lose his job, presenting a nice opportunity, to which I was the successful candidate. After fifteen games, the picture of the league is becoming pretty clear – this is a three horse race between Cavalry, Ottawa and Forge, with them, surely, taking the most momentum into the playoffs when the regular season ends after twenty-eight games. Statistically speaking, there are some interesting trends – such as the intense possession football of Dean Upson at Vancouver and Forge’s insistence on not dribbling the ball, almost at all!


Our season, whilst not being a total disaster, has really tailed off, leading to the sacking of Gibbons. No wins in eight games, including harrowing home losses to Valour, 3-0 came after some promising performances where we beat Ottawa 2-1 and Cavalry 2-0, with the latter away from home. Goalscoring appears to be an issue, with just three goals in the last eight fixtures – something that will be at the forefront of my mind when I’m working through my tactical ideas early into my tenure but, fortunately, it feels that the league is actually quite low scoring this season, saving my defensive worries. I’m hoping that, as the years go on here, the shape of the league will change and the managers will bring quality and style, creating an exciting competition that anyone can win.

There is clearly some potential within the squad but the job now is to get my feet under the desk, do all the learning about the players and team and go from there!


The Halifax Wanderers Football Club, founded in 2018, has swiftly become a cornerstone of Canadian soccer, thriving on the foundation of its vibrant community and rich maritime heritage. Competing in the Canadian Premier League (CPL), the club calls Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia, home—a city renowned for its cultural vibrancy and picturesque waterfront. Nestled in the heart of Halifax lies the Wanderers Grounds, the club’s iconic stadium and the pulsating heartbeat of soccer in the region. Boasting a seating capacity of approximately 6,500, this historic venue provides an intimate and electric atmosphere for fans on matchdays. With its central location and storied past, the Wanderers Grounds serves as more than just a stadium; it’s a symbol of pride and identity for both the club and the city. Beyond the roar of the crowd, the Halifax Wanderers have invested in top-tier facilities to nurture talent from grassroots to professional levels. The club’s youth and training facilities are second to none, featuring state-of-the-art equipment and expert coaching staff. Here, young players are given the opportunity to develop their skills and showcase their potential under the guidance of experienced mentors.

This commitment to youth development has borne fruit, with several notable players emerging from the Wanderers’ youth system to make their mark on the professional stage. From promising prospects to seasoned professionals, these homegrown talents have played a crucial role in the club’s success, both on and off the pitch. Their journey from local academies to the bright lights of the Wanderers Grounds is a testament to the club’s dedication to nurturing talent and fostering a culture of excellence. Financially, the club stands on solid ground, maintaining stability and sustainability in its operations. While not boasting exceptional wealth, the Wanderers’ financial health is characterized as “okay,” indicating prudent management and a focus on long-term viability.

Local support for the Halifax Wanderers is nothing short of remarkable, with 4,000 dedicated season ticket holders packing the stands on game days. Moreover, the club’s online presence is steadily growing, with 10,878 followers across various social media platforms, further solidifying its reach and influence within the community and beyond.

– – –

Assuming my role as Head Coach, I won’t have any say in the hiring and firing of anybody but my immediate coaching team, headed by the Assistant Manager and Head of Youth Development – who’ll largely assume a role of Head of Player Development, given the fact that I’ll intend to just run one squad of 23 players, despite HFX being one of the couple of clubs with an actual U19 team, although they aren’t in a league or play any fixtures.


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Frédéric Gros, born and raised in the vibrant city of Quebec, Canada, has emerged as a promising figure in the realm of sports management and coaching. At 29 years old, he stands as a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and hard work in shaping one’s career. From an early age, Frédéric exhibited a profound love for sports, particularly soccer. Growing up in Quebec City, he was deeply immersed in the local sporting culture, spending countless hours honing his skills on the field and fostering a keen understanding of the game’s intricacies. As he embarked on his academic journey, Frédéric’s commitment to sports only deepened. He pursued higher education at the prestigious University of Calgary, where he crossed paths with Marcus Torbjörnsson, a friendship that would later prove instrumental in his career. During his time at university, Frédéric actively engaged in coaching at the grassroots level, driven by a desire to impart his knowledge and passion for the game to the next generation of athletes. This hands-on experience not only solidified his understanding of coaching principles but also instilled in him a profound sense of responsibility towards nurturing young talent. After completing his studies, Frédéric transitioned seamlessly into a career in sports management, where his exceptional leadership qualities and strategic acumen quickly garnered attention. His innate ability to inspire and motivate others, coupled with his astute tactical insights, saw him rise through the ranks with remarkable speed.

Germán Palacios was born in the vibrant city of Toronto, Canada, in 1990. His childhood was deeply influenced by his Colombian heritage, where soccer wasn’t just a game but a way of life. Growing up in a household pulsating with the rhythms of Colombian football culture, Palacios developed an insatiable passion for the beautiful game from a tender age. Every weekend, young Germán could be found glued to the television screen, enraptured by the mesmerizing performances of his favorite players and the electrifying atmosphere of the matches. Whether it was the skillful dribbling of Carlos Valderrama or the precision passing of Andres Escobar – watched, mainly on film given his shocking death when Germán was just four. Each game fueled his dreams of one day making a mark in the world of soccer. Inspired by the artistry and camaraderie of the sport, Palacios took to the field himself, honing his skills with unwavering dedication and an unrelenting work ethic. His talent and passion soon caught the attention of coaches and scouts, paving the way for a promising career in soccer. Despite the challenges and setbacks along the way, Palacios remained undeterred, drawing strength from the lessons instilled in him by the sport – perseverance, resilience, and teamwork. His journey from the bustling streets of Toronto to the hallowed grounds of professional soccer stadiums was a testament to his unwavering commitment to his craft. In 2037, Palacios embarked on a new chapter in his career, joining Halifax, a prestigious soccer club, as the head of youth development. Armed with his wealth of experience and a profound understanding of the game, he set out to nurture the next generation of soccer talents, instilling in them the same passion and dedication that had propelled him to success.

Aside from these two, the coaching team is a little threadbare and I’ll be putting out adverts as soon as I can to try and reshape the team a little.

– – –

So, Canadian football! Hardly the pinnacle of sporting success, nor even the most famous sport in the country. However, there seems to be a decent number of players within the squad and I hope that my team allow me to keep the core of them to build a team around. The squad feels pretty big but the depth within it quite quickly tails off from the top players. Below is the inherited squad:



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Each thumbnail can be clicked to see the player profile.

Jake Heath is the star of the show here! At 19, he’ll contribute the vast majority of the minutes towards my U21 goal and will be the first name on the team sheet. A really well rounded midfielder who, despite seemingly favouring the attacking side, hasn’t actually ever scored. He’s new here after signing from Pacific FC in the summer and I feel he could absolutely be a wish-Reckert in a Segundo Volante role, or similar. Hutchinson is another new signing – this time from Forge FC – and is a solid centre back option, who I hope will excel in ground duels. Whilst he’s tall and good at jumping, his heading ability is, sadly, somewhat lacking. Paprocki is a new signing, after coming through the Hacken academy and spending time in Sweden’s second tier – really emphasising the level that we are on here. For some reason, he’s unregistered and, actually, hasn’t played this season. I need to see why he’s not made the squad (assuming it’s salary driven) and work from there. A nice spread of attributes with a slight mental bias will help us in the attacking areas. Whilst Ortiz is the worst dribbler I think I’ve ever seen, his technical ability is pretty strong! One of the players that generated this season, and, as such, comes with no background history, he’ll be decent for a little while but I imagine will tail off pretty soon. With the unknown about Dominik, he might just become the most static Enganche that I can create!


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Each thumbnail can be clicked to see the player profile.

Jordan Dicks and Jake Heath could become the midfield pivot that propels us up the table! The former doesn’t really work too hard but is a nice passer and will help us move the ball forward. He’s new here after spending time in the lower levels of American soccer and I look forward to seeing him settle. Osborn has just generated and is a pretty solid left footed centre back, who’ll partner Hutchinson in the heart of my defence. I’ll look at using his ‘brings ball out of defence’ trait with his not terrible dribbling to look at a different way of building from the back. Jepson feels like the stereotypical lower level striker – pacey and knows where the net is. Despite just generating, his scoring record has been strong and I’ll look to keep that up.


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Each thumbnail can be clicked to see the player profile.

I like the look of Terence and foresee that he’ll get some minutes this season. I want him to build a more physical base but there is hope! Maciej scored one of the three goals that we’ve scored in our last eight and has already appeared five times this season. Quick off the mark with some flair – I think he could be a decent option.

– – –

Now that the formalities are over – it’s time to knuckle down, work through some training routines, build a tactical base and begin to work with this crop of players. I’m not favoured, yet, so I’ve got plenty of work to do to turn this around! Then, I want to think about how I report things back, too. Three posts in two days signifies that I’ve done a lot of playing and a lot of writing of late, so expect a slight slow down from now on!


  • Ben

    Ben has been a long time contributor to the FM community previously on The Dugout and the SI Forums. He is known for his great in-depth tactical analysis and an increasing level of understanding of data led recruitment. His FM saves are always in-depth and he delivers both his knowledge of the game and great storytelling including a talent for squad building, progressing youth players and finding diamonds in the rough. His saves are really popular within the blogging community. He is also the creator of the popular skin “Statman”

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