So far so good as we rise to the top of the CPL. It’s been a bit of a hectic time outside of FM, so a lot of these games have been played on the fly and without the input that I like to give them. However, I’ve seen passages of play, such as Dicks – the Libero – breaking through and playing in Jepson in our win over Vancouver, that tell me, with this current squad, we are in a really good position. That cannot be said for the bottom team and Pacific’s new manager faces a tough task of salvaging anything from this season.

A lot of the squad have performed admirably but I must highlight the performances of four of my players:

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Ross Byrd was a contentious deal, initially. The recruitment team brought him in on loan and then made it permanent after he immediately dislodged Ibrahim. Realistically, though, since game one, I’ve not looked back. Defensively, he’s really solid and is saving more than he’s expected and he’s pretty strong – comparatively – with his feet. Osborn has been brilliant for us in the Libero role as I outlined in my previous update. I love the fact that, with a 2-3 shape in early transition, he’s afforded so much space and has a strong enough rest defence to continue to push on. These metrics never look great for a defender because what I’ve included covers so many roles and is compared with an average of full backs and centre backs, but he’s absolutely a favourite of mine, even if he’s not outstanding attribute-wise.

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Jake Heath is outstanding attribute wise and is providing the perfect link between defence and attack in the Volante role. His dribbling ability and creativity has been key in allowing us to score goals, often finding himself feeding Fjellheim, who has shown that he can provide the final ball. It feels odd that, even in my last post, I’ve been quite demanding of him but, actually, as the highest earner and as a youth international of an established nation, he should be doing what he’s doing! On the pitch, his ability to fly past his player and create havoc is pretty wonderful to watch!

The board have rewarded this playoff push with a new contract for me and I’m delighted to extend my stay. Given the time frame and size of the Canadian league, I think that, once I have a settled period of time, I can play through things pretty quickly. I’d like – regardless of successes or lack of them – quite a long stint here before I look to make the move to Europe. With Olofsson, I didn’t really stick around at any clubs after the initial success, but I might look to set criteria so that I’m more likely to do so here…


My favourite area of the game and, honestly, the area I really felt that was missing at super successful massive Bayer. I mentioned that I felt players, at that level, would come through and just be good – with far less micro management needed. That being said, the pool was tiny because, in an elite team, I couldn’t afford to be carrying a player. However, now, especially with the rules stipulating that minutes must be given to young Canadians, plus the bigger picture of growing the national team, I think I’ve found my zone of proximal enjoyment!

I’ve recently added two new coaches: Kjetil Svarteberg and Keneth Runage, with the latter being far, far too good for this level but both seemingly willing to make a move to Canada after answering my advert. This allows me to significantly improve the coaching areas as I’ve deployed them both to the Technical areas of their games, as that is the main line of enquiry when it comes to gaps within my players.

I’ve got myself two really promising youngsters now in the first team and, even at 18, I feel that they both have significant potential. In the longer term, I’m looking to ensure that I have a conveyor belt, similar to what Ottawa are able to do at the moment, of youngsters from the academy.



The next Carl Cort (for those of the appropriate age and/or knowledge of cult heroes of the Premier League) but, hopefully, more like the next Trayon Braithwaite is my youngster Terence. He popped up immediately as someone I identified as having potential way back when I took over and his coach report definitely suggests that there is scope for it. However, his recent development has been far from promising, except for the growth I’ve seen in his quickness – his sole focus for the last year. I think now is the time for first team minutes and a really structured training plan for him. I want to work on three areas: agility and balanceattacking movement and shooting, so I shall rotate those monthly whilst keeping him on the Shadow Striker (Attack) regime. This hits plenty of key areas for his game and gives a training plan that looks like this. Realistically, he’s never going to be fast but will be, by 20 or 21, mobile enough to get around in the final third. On the positive side, his personality has come on leaps and bounds from his Unambitious nature when I took over – happening organically and away from a mentoring group.

Terence does have some deficiencies, particularly in the defensive areas of his game and is small and fairly un-physical in his nature but I think that the combination of first touch, technique, flair and vision could lead to a player who, once he can get between the lines, will be a nimble little playmaker. Whilst the trait, right now, detracts from the time spent on the training pitch – tries killer balls often feels like the perfect use of the time and this will precede work on trying to purposely move him into vertical and horizontal channels. From there, it’s all about attribute development but, given the positive personality, I think I can be quite demanding of his performances on the training pitch and during matches.



One of the 2.11% of the Portuguese Canadians from the province of Ontario and, unlike Terenceincomparable with Wikipedia’s list of famous sportspeople of his ethnic group – Bruno Marques is the second youngster I want to really put some hours into. It makes me feel even more engaged in that he was actually not a signing that I made, instead was brought in through the previous recruitment team, which leads me to believe that, with improvements here, I can make more of these. His recent development has been decent but, again, I have a personalised plan. I want to work on his attacking movement, passing and ball control but there are also key areas that get covered nicely by two roles – Trequartista (Attack) and Wide Target Forward (Support) – therefore, he will rotate both in a training plan that looks like this.

Unlike Terence, his personality is not the strongest, so I’m also introducing him to a mentoring group with two strong tutors who both have good personalities and decent traits. This will, over time, hopefully both ensure he stays in the core group but also build his professionalism, which may not be far off the upper threshold anyway. With so many traits already potentially being passed down to him, I’m going to focus solely on attribute development and, given his personality, I want to jump on anything positive – playing or training. I worry that he may struggle to take on board constructive criticism given there are no factors that define he can handle pressure or be professional so will refrain, unless necessary, to be too critical at this point.

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The future is, hopefully, very bright but this is just the start!


  • 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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