My life in sports used to be stuck in the mud, the damp dirt of the infield one might say. I really only cared about baseball until about five or six years ago. That changed when I first stumbled on a FIFA 14 video by YouTuber KSI.
From there I got completely hooked. I had never even thought about soccer before, I barely considered it a sport, but after that I was spending hours a day burning through FIFA content. It showed me a different side of sports, one with more pace and action. It really gave me a way to broaden my horizons as a sports fan. I never would have gotten to where I am today without it.
Now that we are completely without sports, I have been stuck trying to find some sort of content that would be unique.
I ran through a ton of ideas, much to my colleagues’ chagrin as I sent horrible idea after horrible idea their way. NBA athletes as food, what would happen to LeBron if he played football, MLB Vault content, etc. Then I settled on this one. I figured I would turn back to the game that changed my perspective in order to maybe give someone else the opportunity for the same experience, just in a different form.
I didn’t want to write something about a fake sport, like marble racing, even if it’s electric. So, instead I am going to use fake athletes.
I am not lying when I say this is the most electric sporting event I’ve seen in DAYS pic.twitter.com/2uMQqRTjID
— Mike Mavredakis (@MMavredakis) March 16, 2020
This is an “episode one” of sorts, but in written form. Disclaimer, I got most of this idea from a YouTube series called “Youth Squad Legends” by a YouTuber named Cutzy. However, I am going to change it a bit. He plays all of the games and does not scout future stars or financial takeovers, I will in the first season just to get things going.
Okay, here’s what I am proposing: A series on a team made entirely of youth squad players. I cannot play any real players, only those signed from my youth team and developed into studs. We can also use computer-generated free agents. I will have to use real players to start out but as we sign more and more players to the side I will transfer list all of them and accept any offer that comes my way for them.
I will also be using FIFA 19 for two reasons. First off, I already have Origin Basic, so I got it virtually for free and I am a broke college student. Also, the rosters of the teams don’t matter because we are playing with a roster of computer-generated players. By the time we get to a higher level, the rosters will be super mixed anyways.
The goal is to win the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League, once we do that then the series is over. I will be using Swindon Town as my club; I mainly chose this because their board objectives highlighted the youth team and not domestic success.
Here I will track their seasons and tell their stories. Every article from here on out will encompass two seasons, but this will just be one because of the introduction portion. Let’s do this.
Taking an initial look at the Swindon Town roster and situation, it’s fairly bleak. They have a hoard of players on loan from other clubs and they are riddled with 65 overall and lower players. It’s time to make some changes.
We have about $1.4 million to start out with on our transfer budget, so I went in and hired three one-star experience, one-star judgement scouts just so we can start getting bodies in the team. The first goal is just to field a full team of youth players, so that we can make this as realistic as possible.
We got off to a rough start in the league, sitting in 15th by November with just 19 points. We were only six points off of playoff contention, but honestly things just got worse from there.
We badly needed a strike force, as we were able to recruit just one striker through our youth team with a 50 overall Brazilian named Rafael Henriques. He would go on to score three goals for us through 23 games, which isn’t half-bad – trust me.
Once the January transfer window came around, we started looking for computer-generated free agents lying around. We were able to pick up a goalkeeper, Kolbeinn Hermannsson, 53 overall, a left-back from Paraguay named Dario Mendiseca, 67 overall, a young center-back named Anton Tsonev, 61 overall, and a striker named Rodrigo Ramallo, 65 overall. However, upon doing the write up for this I realized that Ramallo is in fact a real player and I will be releasing him next season.
January was a particularly busy month because I decided to fire all of my scouts after receiving quite a few lackluster monthly scouting reports.
In order to advance the series along, here is where I decided to get a scout future star from the catalogue and a financial takeover. The scout future star gave me a random player of around 90 potential, I received a center midfielder named Ivan Miranda from Spain, who was 61 overall at the time. The financial takeover gave us a $30 million or so cash injection, which I will only be using to hire scouts and send them on their recruiting trips through this series. I spent about $10 million to hire three new scouts, who were all four-star, five-star scouts.
This decision paid out big for the series, as I added much more talent than I theoretically would have. The most important aspect of this series is being able to grow the players into being more productive and impactful on the pitch.
As the time went on and I added more players to the team, the results really suffered. We started drifting in the table, to 18th in February and then 20th in March. By the end of the season we fell all the way to 21st of 24 teams.
The team changed quite a bit over the year, but I settled on a 4-3-1-2 formation with this as our final starting 11:
GK Maxime Thijs, Belgium, 60 overall
LB Dario Mediseca, Paraguay, 67 overall
CB Anton Tsonev, Bulgaria, 62 overall
CB Ollie Hall, England, 73 overall
RB Patrice Fofana, Ivory Coast, 64 overall
CM Ivan Miranda, Spain, 65 overall
CM Owen Martin, England, 66 overall
CM Bruno Ferriera, Brazil, 59 overall
LF Will Robinson, England, 60 overall
ST Rodrigo Ramallo, Bolivia, 65 overall
RF Miguel Cruz, Brazil, 65 overall
We simply could not find the goals, scoring just 41 in league play on the year, which was the second worst in the league. We went 13-15-26 in all competition, with 48 overall goals scored and 73 given up.
Despite the rocky start there were many bright spots in the initial campaign of this, but Hall was easily the most obvious one. When he first dropped into the scouting report, he was a 66 overall with gobs of potential. With training and consistent play, he helped anchor an uncertain backline and should be a mainstay within the system for years to come. He has incredible physical stats for a 17-year-old, with 70s scattered throughout. He struggles to mark people, though, with just a 59 rating even after months of training. I am really excited to see how he continues to grow.
The midfield seems to be coming together well, with studs like Martin and Miranda. The latter of which led the team in goals with six, and added two assists as well, through 22 games.
The attack leaves much to be desired but right after the season ended, I was hit with a potential breadwinner in the form of Will Robinson. He is a pacey winger with a decent shot who could add a boost to the otherwise stale front line.
I would have liked to get more out of Cruz as well, as he scored just three goals on the year. However, he spent most of the year in the midfield and moved around quite a bit there as well, so it’s not entirely his fault. With a more secured position on the team, I hope his scoring jumps, but it’s not likely with just 47 finishing.
Since the competition level in League 2 is so mediocre, mainly high-to-mid-60’s overall-wise, theoretically this team should have a shot in next year’s league.
There are a few holes, but it’s really the strike force that needs a tune up, especially now that Ramallo has to go. If we can start scoring goals then we could get dangerous. However, if we can’t find the right attackers then Swindon Town may find themselves deep in the relegation zone for years to come.
Going forward, I’d like to add two or three legitimate scoring threats, another solid center back and start to offload more of the dead weight from last year’s squad. The team sheet is currently stuffed with 50 contracts, as we’ve had some difficulty getting offers on the real players leftover. We have also signed so many youth players that we’ve had to begin selling off the young guns too.
There’s a lot of potential on this roster and I am interested to see where this goes. Until next time.