An official partner of New York City Football Club, London-based Sports Interactive are the developers of Football Manager, the world’s most popular football manager simulation video game.
Through 2020, we’ll be publishing a season-long editorial series right here on NYCFC.com, introducing gamers on this side of the Atlantic to a series of video games which have forced players to utter “just one more game” at 4am since 1992.
More on that later. For now, here’s a quick guide to getting started on Football Manager 2020…
For the uninitiated, the best way to get started is by leaning on the in-game tutorials. These intuitive prompts provide training wheels to make getting started in a game as detailed as Football Manager 2020 a less daunting experience than you might expect.
Navigating the various key screens has never been easier, with everything from scouting to tactics and training covered, making sure you know exactly what is within your control from the jump.
Below is the squad home screen where you can get to grips with the most important people in the game: your players.
Here, you can track form, the players’ morale and any selection information which will help guide your team selection week-to-week.
Keeping the squad happy, healthy and motivated is vital to success in FM20 and there’s a host of ways to do that. Positive results will obviously make for a happy squad, but if things aren’t going so well, you can hold team meetings, speak to your players individually or have your team leaders put an arm around anyone disgruntled with your managerial approach.
A recent addition to the game is the “Dynamics” tab which also gives you a view on the inter-squad harmony and the social groups which exist within your unit.
Once you know your way around, you can customize your experience in the game by utilizing your backroom coaching team and delegating roles and responsibilities.
If you want Mehdi Ballouchy to sit in for you at your press conferences and for Nick Cushing to set the training schedule, that’s possible, meaning players can choose to take every decision themselves.
This will be the difference between making a real event of each match, or flying through the seasons at a clip, with your backroom team picking up the slack.
Another key to customizing your FM20 experience is choosing the way in which you want to simulate matches. Some players may choose to utilize the 3D match engine to see their tactical gameplans play out in real-time, but for most, some combination of “key highlights” and text commentary is the most efficient way to retain control of a game while it’s in-play, giving coaches the opportunity to react and tinker in-game, based on the flow.
Whether it’s your pre-game tunnel interview, substitutions, in-game tactical instructions or your halftime team-talk, there are a ton of ways to meaningfully influence the match… wearing a suit or a tracksuit while you play is entirely optional.
MLS: The Ultimate Proving Ground
Eurosnobs need not apply. With its own transfer system, a few flavors of drafts, a salary cap and a number of other real-world intricacies reflected in the game, MLS has a rep with veteran FM players as the ultimate proving ground for all the wannabe Ronny Deila’s out there.
FM20 kicks off at the start of the 2019 season when the total sum of the salary cap was $4,240,000. Squads are capped at a maximum of 30 players, and of those, no more than 20 can be ‘senior’ players (this includes Designated Players).
These 20 will comprise your salary cap, with the other 10 players (maximum of six “reserves” plus Generation Adidas and those on Senior Minimum Salary) considered ‘off-budget’.
Juggling the roster and making your acquisitions to fit under the cap adds another level of complexity to Football Manager, meaning if you want a real test (and getting MLS roster rules down pat), this is the place to start.
Trades and Transfers
When it comes to signing international players from outside MLS, you start with eight permanent slots for accommodating them. However, you can trade these slots with other teams – for example, if you want to bring in an additional international spot, you can trade GAM/TAM/a player/discovery rights with another team to up your number of slots to nine and reduce theirs to seven. These slots also apply to any foreigner currently playing in the league that is not a ‘green card carrier’ (including Canadians if you are a US side).
Top Tips from Sports Interactive
- Take advantage of the drafts – these can be a great way to bolster you squad without spending big sums.
- Keep an eye on the salary cap – if you can’t stick within your budget, you won’t be able to get very far.
- Think strategically – maximize the varying contract types available to you to craft a squad of winners.
- Trade your way to success - having the ability to trade players, player rights, allocation money and draft picks is a fantastic resource and doing it properly could make all the difference.
NYCFC.com Playthrough Series
We’re kicking off a playthrough editorial series. Club reporter Mark Booth will take the managerial reins at New York City FC and provide episodic installments tracking progress.
Check back next week for the first installment and for multiple chances to win Football Manager 2020.
FM2020 is available now on Steam.