Teams to be in Football Manager
Soccer as the American’s call our football is where I want to discover their rules of our wonderful game of football. I have played Major League Soccer in FM a few years ago but never wrote or seen a good article or guide on the MLS so we decided we had to make this a priority for one of our first contents for FM Academy.
The American’s love their American Football (NFL) so much that they have decided to put some of the rules from their into American Soccer (MLS) such as player drafts, salary caps, waived players, domestic group’s sorted by location (Eastern & Western conferences), Wild Cards and much more additions or changes to the Soccer or Football we know. I find this more of a positive as it almost makes Football Manager a different game and more challenging to play to get to grips with which I hope this article will help guide you and give you advice as I play.
I will start the game with New York Red Bulls one of the favourites to win the MLS Cup which is basically the domestic title that goes through their group into a knockout stage after 34 games. I thought it would be an easier way to find out all the rules of the MLS that are so different to the majority of domestic set up’s around the world of soccer or football.
The game starts off like any other new game when taking a club, attending a meeting, training camp & meeting the media. The best part of the game and what most managers want to do first is to sign players but this is not as simple as it is in most countries, this is where I start to delve into the different world of football in America.
Transfers & Wages
The wage budgets is the same as it is at any club, well its a transfer budget which that can be spent however you like.
A maximum wage a senior player can be offered is $6.75k per week (£4.2k per week), you can offer much more for a designated player but can only have 3 in your squad at any time. The max squad salary below is only for the players on senior contracts and does not count the remaining salaries of the designated players a separate wage budget for them is found in the finances screen and again is also different for clubs depending on their financial state. The wage budget that does not consist of designated players is the same for all MLS clubs as it is the MLS who set these budgets and can change every year.
Conditions for your squad:
1. Max Squad size of 30
2. Max of 3 Designated players in squad (your high earning international players, only $6.75kpw of wage included in budget for each player)
3. Max of 10 Internationals (not American)
4. Max of 20 Senior rooster players (on Senior, Senior listed or Designated player contracts inc American players)
5. Max of 6 Developmental players (including Academy Apprentice)
6. Max of 3 Senior Goalkeepers in squad
7. Max of 4 Goalkeepers in squad
8. Max squad salary of $66.449k p/w (£41.562k p/w) – This is different depending on your team
9. No more than 6 Discovery players bought in a season (no more than 10 for new MLS teams)
Senior Listed Entry Level contracts are for players who tend to feature as back up or on fringes of your first team, the board set a maximum wage which tends to be fairly small. The Red Bulls board have set it at $850 (£525).
A Discovery Player is also a player you have found away from the MLS or bought on a free transfer (inc American) that was not in a draft. You can make 6 discovery players in a season or a new MLS side can make 10.
Generated Adidas players are the top youth players in America and every year a handful of Generated Adidas players will enter the SuperDraft.
Non Based MLS players
Buying foreign players away from MLS is exactly the same as it would be at a European club by offering a transfer fee and all the usual options you have available such as exchanging a player & additional fee’s. Same goes for free transfers only difference being is different contract types as already mentioned and MLS do not have a loyalty bonus scheme in their contracts, agents will still have to have to be paid unfortunately.
MLS based players
You can approach these players but can allocate funds up to your transfer budget and/or exchange players and/or offer one or some of your draft picks up to the next 3 years. Depending on how high the draft pick is the more valuable the pick is and will show value of pick in the transfer also more recent the pick the more valuable.
There is no difference at all in buying staff, staff that are at clubs you will have to pay compensation just like normal.
The waiver list is a list of all MLS players released, their MLS clubs or contracts expired and/or the player who was not added in their rooster for the season but Generated Adidas, designated contracted or injured players can’t be waivered if not selected.
Pick order for the waiver draft is determined by the MLS Cup standings but in reverse order, so LA Galaxy the holders will be in last place at 19th. You don’t have to pick players from the list you can simply pass your selection, if you do decide to sign a player from the draft they will automatically be offered a contract they are eligible for and then will have to re register your squad to add your new player.
You can waive any layer during the season and will be placed on the waiver list, any MLS club will have up to 2 days to claim the player’s contract and transfer immediately but your MLS club will still have to pay his wages for the remainder of the season. If no club approaches the player he is released on a free. It will be announced in your news if other MLS clubs do the same with any of their players for you to approach if you so wish.
This can come about randomly through the season offering Generation Adidas players who missed out in the draft, other MLS players that were offered contracts during the draft but was not signed up for whatever reason and MLS players put on waiver list but no clubs approached him in the 2 day period so was released. The players cost nothing except a contract as you would offer normally and like the Waiver List the player will go to the list ranked team who were interested in the player and agreed to take part in the lottery.
You don’t have to take part in the lottery if not wanting that player but once you signed a player in the lottery you can’t participate in the Weighted Lottery again that season.
MLS Re-Entry Draft (Stage One & Two) – 10th & 17th December 2012
This draft consists of all MLS expired contracted players, if signed will be automatically signed on same wage last season and given a one year contract. However clubs can not pick former players that were at club when released for the draft. If you decide to pass one of your picks then you can no longer take part in the remaining draft even if you have a remaining pick left. The pick order is determined by final league rankings but reversed like waiver list. So MLS Cup winner will have last pick.
A week later there will be stage two of the draft; same rules and pick order apply.
MLS Draft Combine – 5th January 2013
This is the chance for all players that are part of the MLS SuperDraft to show off their talent in front of your scouts and other clubs scouts too. So you will be asked in your news if you wish to send a scout to the MLS Draft Combine.
MLS SuperDraft – 10th January 2013
This is a much larger list of players than other drafts mentioned above and consists of two rounds, but these players are youngsters wanting to make it into the professional game. In Football Manager these will all be regens but in real life they are college players. A small amount will be awarded with Generated Adidas status which normally is the players to look out for and will go early in the draft; they tend to have the most potential. The youngsters are also mixed with players playing in the lower leagues of American Soccer but won’t tend to be any older than 24 years old.
The pick order is the same as other drafts but usually during the season picks would have been traded for players so may look very different come draft day.
Supplemental Draft – 15th January 2013
Same process as MLS SuperDraft but consists of 4 rounds; it Is the left over players from the SuperDraft.
• 28th November 2011 – 15th September 2012(domestic transfers only)
• 21st January 2012– 15th April 2012 (foreign transfers only)
• 8th March 2012 is Waiver Draft
• 27th June 2012 – 27th July 2012(foreign transfers only)
Regular Season – 10th March 2012 to 27th September 2012
• Top three teams of each group will qualify for the knockout stages.
• Teams placed 4th & 5th play in a wild card against one another.
• Groups sorted by points then goals scored then if points and goals scored are same will be down to goal difference.
• Four teams qualify for the North American Champions League
• No relegations
MLS Cup – 3rd November 2012 to (Final) 1st December 2012
• Like playoffs e.g. 1st will play winner of wild card (4th or 5th)
• 1st and 2nd legs are played
• Extra time played if scores are level then penalties
• Overall winners of their conference will then play in MLS Cup final
(1st Round) 15th May 2012, MLS teams join 3rd round (29/5/12) to (Final) 8th August 2012
• No more than 5 foreign players in match squad
• Extra time played if scores are level then penalties
• Winner qualifiers for North American Champions League
This concludes my MLS guide I hope this has made life in Major League Soccer clearer, if you are an NFL fan then the rules may be more familiar to you. I am no MLS expert I have just played the game of Football Manager to find out the different rules but if your are then please tell me if I have missed anything out so I can add it in here. Thanks for reading and enjoy almost a new Football Manager experience.