Challenge Accepted — Minnesota United FC

It has been a blast getting a feel for Football Manager 2017 with a few different saves, winning the Eridevise with Ajax on my first try, then managing Manchester United for two years with some transfer wizardry and a league title the second year.

Now, I am sighting my sights on a very different challenge, one that I saw called out on a top 10 challenge for Football Manager 2017. Managing Minnesota United FC.

In calling this a top 10 challenge, I do not intend it as an insult to a brand new organization. It’s newness, is what makes it such a challenge. It isn’t slated to enter the MLS until 2017, playing in the NASL until then. The NASL is not a playable league in Football Manager, so you have to test your patience, managing a new team through a season of friendlies, before being dropped into the MLS for the franchises for ever season. The primary challenge will be managing a minute budget to build a team that can in any way hold its own in the MLS, and secondly, avoid embarrassment enough that first season to keep your job for a second. You have the challenge of building a team that attracts fans and brings in enough income to expand your small 10,000 capacity stadium, and eventually rising to be a power player in the MLS.

I accept this challenge for two reasons, first and foremost, I love football. With an undying passion. And it is my greatest dream to see it grow in the United States. Playing this game will teach me so much about the intricacies of the MLS that it could be a first step to me in someway contributing to it’s growth in the future. Secondly, it’s an opportunity to get REALLY granular and nerdy with this game. To make a team on this kind of budget(Transfer Budget: $0. Payroll available: 1.58m)is going to mean I have to do my homework on every level to get players in who can play, but will grow with the club. That and trying to get 15–17 year old palyers in for next to nothing, and have them grow enough to get bought and turn a profit.

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I am now 5 months into my save and am finding that the greatest challenge is not the transfer or payroll budget, it is the location of the team. After 5 months, my squad have just played their first game, a match in the US Cup. This is the result of being in a location where no team, professional, amateur, youth, reserves, etc., will travel to us for a friendly, and my board won’t approve of the cost of us traveling to them. On the rare occasion that they allow me to request a friendly away, the other team is “too busy” even though I checked their schedule and that have several months until their next game as well.

On a bright note, we won our first match! Against Sacramento. Leading us into the next round of the US Cup, where we will face the Seattle Sounders…

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