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Hello. Playing FM for the first time and really enjoying this game (this forum has been very helpful with the learning curve).

Currently managing in the MLS, a few seasons in, and want to be more active in developing youth within my club. In the MLS, the academy (at least at my club) is treated as an affiliate rather than a separate squad (unlike reserves) and there is no U18 squad or the like. Even if I disable the head of youth development's responsibilities, I am not able to train academy players, establish PPMs or tutors, or even arrange matches for the academy. Usually my academy does not play games unless I solicit a friendly. I also cannot choose which youngsters are accepted into the academy.

Am I missing something or are MLS managers basically limited in their youth development to calling up a limited number of players from the academy and trying to find them playing time in the reserves (who play very few games) or the first team (where they usually struggle to perform), and otherwise sit them on the bench and hope they develop with little on field action?

Are there other techniques I haven't thought of or aren't aware of for MLS youngster development?

Thanks!
 
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Managing in the MLS is great, but it is a unique league. The roster management has a lot of complexity (a salary cap that covers all but 3 players that are meant to be reasonable stars (I only have one because I think I can get better value for money on free transfers), only 20 senior players and 6 developmental players, except for top draft picks referred to as Generation Adidas players which don't count against these caps or the salary cap, a draft system, a waiver system giving other MLS teams a right of first refusal on released players etc.). With those varies ins and outs, you have to plan very carefully.

The overall effect is a very equitable league where top MLS sides can beat each other depending on form and on the little things. So the man management, team selection, international recruiting for the long term and such feel pretty important. This is perhaps the greatest strength of the legue.

The intricacies of the league can be frustrating even though I have followed MLS as a moderate fan -- I lost a player or two by letting contracts expire and the players went into a re-entry draft and I couldn't pick them. But you learn by doing and after a couple seasons I feel like I understand what is happening and now want to get more involved in under 18 development but am finding the academy is largely outside my control as mentioned in the OP and wonder if other MLS players are finding that.
 
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I tried to manage in the MLS on FM12, but I didn't understand it at all... :(
To be honest, I don't think you'll find many people that do :L
 
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I tried to manage in the MLS on FM12, but I didn't understand it at all... :(
To be honest, I don't think you'll find many people that do :L
I am quite familiar with the MLS being from the US, so perhaps with that background it was easier to understand, but I though the online manual for FM13 explained the system fairly well. The problems that I have seen in application of the league into the game is on player retention. You see players staying with sides for quite a while in the US, but the salary cap and demand system in the game sees better players being released for wage demands too often in my opinion.

I don't manage in MLS too often in the game because if I am my local side and I am losing I get frustrated, and as competitive as the league is, I want all the other teams to fail. That being said, if you have any questions regarding the rules I can try to answer them for you.

As for the original purpose of this thread, academy teams are constructed more like feeder teams than your traditional youth sides. This is not at all representative of the way it exists in reality, and you have touched on the primary flaw of this design. I believe it was coded in this manner to handle the unique Home Grown contracts in MLS. The downside is you cannot improve your youth facilities. That being said, I believe all MLS sides are considered to have top (or close to top) youth facilities. This is not going get you past the fact the USA is coded as not finding the sport important. There will still be the occasional gem coming through the youth ranks, but remember the top American athletes are going into other sports, namely American Football, and Basketball. I believe the game captures the reality of this quite well.

Remember the best way to improve youth players is by playing them. The US Open Cup is looked at as nearly meaningless (unless your a Seattle Supporter) and is a good opportunity for you to field youth players. Also HG/Youth Contract players do not count against your roster numbers, so anyone that has potential on your academy side should be signed so you can control their training and get them first team experience, especially in Open Cup Games!

Be weary of loaning players to lower league American sides. These leagues are not simulated in the game and players will not develop at the same rate as they would if they were playing for leagues simulated in the game. If you get the opportunity to loan players to the EPL or a Mexican League team go for it. Otherwise they are probably better training with your side and developing under your guidance.

Hope that lends some ideas to your original topic. Let me know if you have any other questions!
 
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really unsure as to whether I should start an MLS career.. it looks a really good challenge but on the other hand it seems a lot to learn about all the rules etc!
 
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Casdelo, thanks that is exactly what I was hoping to have confirmed. Your note about not loaning out young players to lower league US teams etc is a great point and I was assuming that if the loan offer said 1st team regular that would happen, but I wasn't seeing much development beyond what one would expect with age and training.

Jonesbilly, for me it was learning by doing -- play a couple seasons (and if your like me, take some lumps in terms of losing players and not capitalising on opportunities) and I think you will have a good idea about how the league works.

I would say a couple things unrelated to rules that might be obvious to FM gurus already was the value of scouting S America and nearly ignoring Europe. European players seldom will want to play in the MLS unless they are waning and transfer listed, in which case you might be able to sign them as designated players (but I was trying to build on youth and save my international roster slots for young highly talented players from countries like brazil). It is also important to scout MLS youth and gather high draft picks through trades I think, because you can draft a few Generation Adidas players who tend to be superior talents on the US scale and don't count against the roster or against your salary cap which is great. Again, that's probably obvious to an experienced FM player but I overweighted European scouting at first and underweighted US and S America. Now I am on a roll...
 
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I played with NY Red Bulls in FM 2012 and I had to restart my save because I released too many players. Eventually I had an unbeaten season so it was all worth it, even if I never won the Champions League.

A few tips:

- read the league rules very carefully. You only get so many foreign signings and signings from outside the league (these are two different things).
- you can sign American (and Canadian) amateurs outside the draft. They might just be the best young players you can sign.
- make Brazil playable. You won't sign many Brazilian players, but the coaches, scouts and physios are worth it.
- after the first 15-20 players, the draft picks were worthless to me. I would keep the players I drafted and trade them a year later for more draft picks in the hopes of lucking into a top 10 draft pick. Players who were drafted high have more value than players signed on a free transfer.
- if you like playmakers, scout South America and Africa. I could not find any American with Creativity > 14. I found a few young American strikers with good finishing. Goalkeepers would vary from year to year.
 
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