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The Developer | [FM22] SAVE OVER

The goal of “The Developer” series is simple: to lead a national project envisaging the strengthening and improvement of football in a given country. And I will start with Canada, a country where the sport has been growing rapidly.
Started on 23 October 2021 by Tango
Latest Reply on 2 November 2021 by Tango
  • POSTS8
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Tango's avatar Group Tango
1 yearEdited
As the assistant referee raises the board showing the added time for only two more minutes of play, Frédéric grows impatient. His team, CS Mont-Royal Outremont, needs a win over their rivals AS Blainville in order to keep their title chances alive in the 2021 Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec. The 1-1 tie keeps AS Blainville with their 4 points advantage over MRO, and with no more than a round to go, that means that Blainville will be leaving Mont-Royal with the trophy.


His winger loses the ball on the left, only to make Frédéric even more frustrated:


After 92 minutes of game, the scoreline remained tied. AS Blainville are once again the champions of Québec. But Fred will not let his frustration get the best of him. No, not, Fred. He is a very determined man. Asked about his feelings by an English-speaking reporter, he categorically answered, in a somewhat understandable English:

- No, no, I don’t think that. I have only 31 years (sic), I’ll be here for a very long time. We will come strong next time, and you’ll see me very high in the future.

The phrase “you will see me very high in the future” became an internet meme during the next few weeks, much to the surprise of many Montrealers who didn’t know they had another football club in the city, and Fred became a joke. That could be a tragedy, but even though the interview made him sound silly, Fred is no silly man.

He capitalized on his moment. He accepted with open arms the exposure he’s got from becoming a meme, and used this chance to spread the word about his solid work with MRO and the fact that he was still a young manager. He expected maybe to be accepted into an internship with CF Montréal - which later he realised was quite a stretch - but good news came from another city used to be understanding towards people not sounding the way they wanted in another language: Ottawa.


Atlético Ottawa is a funny name. It is a club from a bilingual city with a name that sounds weird in both languages. The origin of this name is quite simple: the Canadian capital city harbours the Canadian franchise of Atlético de Madrid, a.k.a. the Spanish third power. From the ruins of Ottawa Fury rose another ottawan club, with plenty of infrastructure and work conditions for Fred to use. But the qualities stop right there.

Atlético still falls short in manpower. The squad is the worst in the league, the staff is insufficient, the recruitment is non-existent. A dreamer - as Fred is a dreamer - won’t be able to dream without rushing to make improvements on this end. That could be his first goal in his new club, as he has goals a-plenty.


The goal of “The Developer” series is simple: to lead a national project envisaging the strengthening and improvement of football in a given country. And I will start with Canada, the country that homes myself, a country where the sport has been growing with the excitement over Alphonso Davies’ performances for the national team and the very realistic dream of achieving the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986.

However, “to lead a national project envisaging the strengthening and improvement of football” is quite an abstract goal. Materialistically, we can achieve our goals by dividing them into steps:

  • Win the Canadian Premier League (no matter which club)
  • Join one of the 3 Canadian franchises in MLS
  • Win the MLS Cup with a Canadian franchise
  • Manage Canada’s Men’s National Team
  • Win the CONCACAF Champions League with a Canadian club
  • Qualify to the World Cup finals through Qualification
  • Achieve the World Cup knock-out stages
  • Improve CONCACAF best ever World Cup result (Mexico 2022: 2nd place)¹

¹In case any other CONCACAF national team does better than 6th during the save, this goal must be updated. Last update: Mexico 2022: 2nd place

The goals will be painted green as soon as they are achieved. Do you have any suggestions of what goals we could pursue? If so, please leave a comment.

Of course, if we want to keep discipline in order to achieve our goals, we gotta follow some rules:

    Foreign players signed for Canadian clubs must respect the following criteria:
  • Must be younger than 23 years old at the time of the signing (Days to Gain Canadian Nationality: 1095);
  • Must have potential to be in the Canadian National Team at the time of the signing;
  • Signings capped to their own National Team must be sold within two seasons after being unable to join any other National Team, unless they get Canadian nationality before the end of this deadline (which would release one of the spots for foreign players, therefore not hindering our project);

  • Fred is NOT forbidden from taking jobs outside Canada. However, the following rules must apply:
  • Sign at least two Canadian players² in the first season and give them a combined total of 1000 minutes in official matches within one year after being hired. Failure to respect this rule must be followed by immediate RESIGNATION;
  • If Fred stays three years in the same club, he must have at least 5 Canadian players² in the main squad. Failure to respect this rule must be followed by immediate RESIGNATION;
  • At least one scout must be assigned to Canada within one month and they must remain there for the whole duration of the employment;
  • The Head of youth development should preferably be Canadian, unless there is no suitable Canadian professional for the job.

²Any player that becomes ineligible for the Canada Men’s National Team can stay, but will not count for the application of these rules. However, if he becomes ineligible for CMNT after the latest transfer period is closed and there is no other transfer period until the end of the deadline, Fred gains 6 more months to adapt and respect the rule.


Frédéric Gagnon

Focused on the development of young players, Fred Gagnon dreams about turning Canada into a strong footballing country. Born and raised at the Plateau, old town Montréal, he played professionally until the age of 24, when CF Montréal (then known as Montréal Impact) released him from his contract and he decided that playing was not for him. Fred holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Tango's avatar Group Tango
1 yearEdited

A big fight for nothing

1st Trimester 2022

With Gagnon's arrival in Ottawa, the sports sections of all Ottawan newspapers could not talk about anything else: Ottawa Senateurs have been defeated once again in the NHL. Of course, the new manager of Atlético Ottawa has been received with comprehensible oblivial, apart from some “soccer” fanatics, at least the ones who know that there is a professional club in town.

The first training sessions in the new club were enough to set the tone of what the season will be: a fight for nothing.

Well, the Canadian Premier League, as a league in such an embrionary stage, has still a lot to develop. Even though there are plans for a full relegation/promotion system, they are redundant when there are only 8 clubs involved. Teams play each other 4 times, and the best half will play a knock-out stage to decide the champion.

Such an effing big country

Atlético’s squad is, to put it mildly, weak. Even if football is not the strongest sport in the country, our squad falls below it. Building a better squad, however, is not particularly challenging: compared to the average salary of the league, our salary budget is infinite, and options of free agents with better quality than our players are aplenty.

All things considered, two players call our attention: Viti, 24-years old Spanish defensive midfielder who is by far the best player in the squad, and the 18 year-old Antoine Coupland, who has the potential to be a good player in MLS.

As I mentioned earlier, we had plenty of options in the market - and we used it. For the left wing, we brought the promising Jayden Nelson, the young Colombian Manuel Felizzola will be our goal keeper, and our defensive backbone will be formed by Martín Amuz and Callum Montgomery.

Following our policy of development of foreign players into local talents, South America is the perfect place to look at. Their average players, who will never even dream about the national squad, are very good for Canadian level. Felizzola is part of this project, and we also brought the midfielders New Mena and Mila.

At the end of the transfer period, this is what our squad looks like:

We have also used our budget to improve our staff. Out of the new names, we can highlight our chief scout Vicente, who came after some talking with my guys in Madrid, the coach Collin Miller and the head of youth development Tony Evans.

For the next episode, a saga of playing the same clubs over and over again awaits us. We will know plenty of things, such as:

  • Are our new signings enough to give our squad some competitiveness?
  • Will Canada make it into the World Cup after 36 years?

Wouldn’t you wanna know.

Is my squad enough?

2nd Trimester 2022

Although we’ve improved a lot after the arrival of our new signings, we still came short of impressing Canadian “soccer” pundits. Cavalry is the club that they bet will become the second ever Canadian Premier League champion. Forge, the only club to have won the competition (they won it twice) came second in their preference. Ourselves? Dead last.

As the season began, it didn’t take me very long to understand what the pundits were talking about. Yes, Amuz and Montgomery are excellent defenders, Felizzola is a fine keeper, and we were a somewhat tough rival to beat. We got ourselves some clean sheets and we’ve sold a very expensive defeat against Halifax Wanderers.

Our finishing, however, was dismal. Nelson is yet to click into the squad. Malcolm Shaw is disgraceful. We were only able to engage a good sequence after Shaw was benched for Shawn Lawson, who is himself a player that barely knows the shape of a ball. His bravure, at least, was enough to net some goals. We are still far away from challenging the best clubs, though.

Yet, we can still say that we are outperforming ourselves. We exchanged points against York, we beat the then leader HFX, and we dominated the weaker Edmonton and Valour. Our Atléti also managed to beat Cavalry, who just some paragraphs ago was one of the favourites, although in the end this result is not as impressive as it may seem:

The line dividing the 4 best from the 4 worst is very clear at this moment. We were good enough to not be last, which is good, but I think that with the right additions we can build a much better squad. We still need a playmaker, a centre mid to make the link between Viti and the attacking phase, and for heaven’s sake we need a striker.

There are still another 13 games to go until the end of the season, to be cut short because of the World Cup in november. Speaking of which, how did Canada go at the CONCACAF Qualifiers?

Let’s find out.

Canada Men’s National Team

I’m not gonna lie. The first months of 2022 could be better for our CMNT. Two draws against the USA and Costa Rica and a 3-1 defeat against Jamaica in January, meaning only 2 points out of 9 possible at this FIFA date. Canada needed something else in March, and even though the miracle did not come, it was a decent month:

The disappointing results in January, however, came out quite expensive, and for just a miserable point, Canada missed out on direct qualification.

The consolation is that Canada still has one more chance to make history and make it into the World Cup for the first time since 1986. The rivals at the 2022 World Cup play-offs, to be played in June, are honestly doable: Canada will face New Zealand for a place between the 32 best nations in the footballing world.
Tango's avatar Group Tango
1 yearEdited

That went better than expected

3rd Trimester 2022

Atlético Ottawa

Our somewhat satisfactory performance in the first half of the regular season has left a lingering sensation that we can do even better. After all, there is still room in our budget and in the league’s salary cap (13,150 euros per week), and I feel that we need only a few adjustments in order to give the top clubs a run for their money.

To improve our goal scoring capacity, something we were in desperate need, we brought the striker Jordan Hamilton, who wants to prove himself to everyone who says that he hasn’t fully developed his potential. He’s 26 years old, so this opportunity may be the last.

For the attacking midfielder position, even though we care a lot about the promising Antoine Coupland, he hasn’t shown himself mature enough for the job. We are then bringing the Algerian-Canadian Mastanabal Kacher, made available at the market by Valour FC for the amount of CAD 48k.

Our creation sector has also received the very appreciated help from the Senegalese Mamadou Diatta, who is only 21 years old and a candidate for the national team, if his potential is fully developed (and if Senegal doesn’t cap him first).

The other two additions in this transfer period are the Toronto FC left-back Rohan Golbourne, who came on loan, and the 22 years-old Argentinian right winger Aaron Reartes, who is very unlikely to be called up to represent his country of birth.

CANADIAN PREMIER LEAGUE - Regular season results

Look at the difference. By only adding Diatta, Kacher, and Hamilton (and later Reartes), our team lit up and ravaged the domestic league. Not only did we finally stop missing clear cut chances, as Hamilton started to actually bag his chances, but Brian Wright showed great opportunism and the promising Jayden Nelson finally put his abilities to some use.

With 9 wins, 3 draws, and one single (very stupid, may I say) defeat, we quickly climbed the table, getting to thrash the regular season leaders Forge FC at the last round. You’ll see later that Forge will have a lot of chances for their revenge.

CANADIAN PREMIER LEAGUE - Regular season table

The gap between the top 4 and the bottom 4 is still there, it only changed participants. If our second half of the season was fantastic, York’s was dismal, and Pacific had no trouble guaranteeing the last spot. That stupid defeat against Edmonton ended up costing a calmer semifinal, but we have what it takes to take on HFX.


Yes, it is a thing. CF Montréal, Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC, and the champions of the Ontarian and Quebecian league join the CPL clubs to decide who will take the CONCACAF Champions League spot set aside for Canada.

Without too much to expect, we beat Valour at the preliminary round and then we smashed Pacific FC. The semifinals against Toronto meant the end of the line, but no one told our defenders Amuz and Montgomery. They were two giants in defense, never allowing Toronto to cause us problems. In the 90th minute, Kacher aimed a pin-point corner kick in the head of Montgomery, who buried it in and got us to the final.

And we’ll take on...

Forge FC. Yep. While we were making history beating Toronto in Ottawa, Forge beat Vancouver in Vancouver, and we’ll have a Premier League encounter for the sole Canadian CONCAChampions spot, which is actually… not really good for Canada. But that’s not my problem, is it? At least not right now.


While we dream about managing the national team, we watch and support them. In the first leg in New Zealand, Lucas Cavallini’s equalizer in the 90th minute ended up being the most important goal in Canada’s recent footballing history, as the 0-0 got us ahead because of the away goal criterion.

As the national team has probably met their limit, any group will be a tough group. So Canada’s tough group will be Group G, alongside Spain, Uruguay, and South Korea. Here you can check all groups.
Fred has already done some magnificent work at Atlético Ottawa, and if the Canadian national team is to reach its true potential... it'll need all the help it can get from the CPL and Canadian MLS teams along the way. It was a more than solid first season, and with some strong recruitment in the off-season... I see no reason why you can't take the CPL title next season!

Good luck :D
@J_ames well, we took it this season too hahaha

When in North America, play-offs

4th Trimester 2022


For reasons I fail to fathom, we were set to play HFX at Halifax in a single match semifinal, even though we had a better campaign. One of the greatest challenges of our match preparation was to fend off the feeling of injustice, which I thought could hinder our concentration coming into the game.

After the beautiful one-two between Kacher and Reartes getting us the first goal of the match in the 11th minute, we had to do our defending. Fortunately, our goalkeeper and defenders had a good match and we went home qualified to the finals.

HFX Wanderers 0-1 Atlético Ottawa
Forge FC 3-0 Pacific FC


We advanced into the finals and we would play away from home one more time. This time, in a match that made sense, given that Forge FC scored 1 point more than us throughout the regular season. The travel, however, would be shorter, as we would not leave Ontario.

Again we would start off well, as Jayden Nelson profited from a good cross from Kacher and headed home our opener, 17 minutes into the match. Joy would be doubled at the 29th minute, when Nelson took the rebound off a long shot from Reartes to score the second. This joyful sensation wouldn’t last long, as the linesman found Nelson to be offside and called off our second goal.

Our bad day with the refs would get worse in the next play, as the referee used his creativity to find a penalty for Forge after the ball was in the air off a long free kick. Krutzen, a solid Belgian defender who is close to his Canadian nationality, took the penalty and made it all even: 1-1.

Atléti started the second half all out attack, and with only 7 minutes played after the break, Viti found a pornographic cross from ¾ of the pitch. Nelson anticipated his marker and buried another one, a sensational aerial performance scoring a brace with his head even being only 1,75m tall.

In the 82nd minute of an intense match, Krutzen found a long through ball and Woobens Pacius beat our defenders in pace, having only the job to put it behind Felizzola to find another equalizer. Turns out that Pacius had not only beaten our defense in pace, but he had himself a head start. The linesman, the same one who called off our goal in the first half, has also seen that, and the goal didn’t count.

Forge FC 1-2 Atlético Ottawa


The Forge FC vs. Atlético Ottawa event would be repeated at the final of the Canadian Championship. If you remember our last episode (or if you had just scrolled up a little), we defeated Toronto FC at the semifinals on home turf, whereas Forge traveled all the way to British Columbia to knock out Vancouver Whitecaps. So the final will be against the same club, at the same venue.

Forge knew that they had to break the pattern in order to triumph. Same rival, same club, same result? They wouldn’t want that.

Pattern was not broken when Nelson got the first goal of the game.

Pattern was A LOT broken when Nelson got the first goal of the game on his own net. In a beautiful triangulation from the left to the centre between Tissot, Sabak, and Choinière, Forge got a clear cut chance in front of Felizzola. Choinière squandered his opportunity so badly that the ball hit Nelson and went in.

Two minutes later we had our greatest chance in the first half, but Hamilton missed a penalty kick. In the 39th minute, Sabak got a cross to the goalkeeper area, in goalkeeper territory, in a way that our goalkeeper should have jumped to get the ball. But he didn’t, and Pasquotti buried their second.

One does not want to go to the dressing room with 2-0 down. Period. But one REALLY does not want to go to the dressing room with 2-0 down with Fred Gagnon. Fred never goes physical, but his mixture of angry tone, heavy accent, and bad grammar (although his grammar in French is even worse; long story), is intimidating, even more so when he gets angrier because he forgot a word that was at the tip of his tongue, which makes he think that people see him as silly.

But Fred Gagnon is no silly man.

Nothing changed immediately, and Nelson, perhaps shaken by his own goal, was playing terribly. After 12 minutes of still playing terribly in the second half, he got sacked for Telfer.

Then something changed.

In minute 62, after some minutes of innocuous ball possession, Diatta sent a “fuck it” straight to the penalty box, where Hamilton had to battle the defenders to control the ball and find space to send a left-footed rocket into the net. 2-1 and game on.

In minute 68, Viti recovered possession in the midfield and Verhoven sent it straight to Hamilton, who again successfully fended off the defenders and got the equalizer from a well placed mid-range shot.

In minute 70, Reartes found Viti, who got it back to Reartes, who got a diagonal shot that turned the game on its head. Just like that. In 9 minutes, Atléti went from 0-2 down to 3-2 up.

Forge tried to shift up the gears and get back into the game, but after a turn around like that, one just doesn’t. Atlético Ottawa champions of the CPL and the Canadian Championship, and qualified to the CONCACAF Champions League 2022/23.

Forge FC 2-3 Atlético Ottawa

Canadian Championship Rewiew | CPL Review


Canada’s expectations in the World Cup were not exactly great, as the sheer fact of being there was already enough reason to celebrate. For the first time in a World Cup since 1986, the Canadian flag would wave, “Oh, Canada” would be played, and Canada would have the chance to just be there and be a part of it. And two players from Atlético Ottawa would be part of history.

The tight 2-1 over Kuwait, a nation that did not come close to participating at the event, after 90 minutes of the single prep friendly, showed that Canada have still a long way to trail before becoming great at anything. The group stage, however, brought some firsts:

  • by holding South Korea to a 0-0 tie, Canada got their first ever World Cup point;
  • by heading the ball to the back of the net off a cross from Jonathan David, Lucas Cavallini got Canada's their first ever World Cup goal. Sadly, thanks to a 90th minute goal by Fabián, Canada did not make history by getting a point off Spain.


Group Stage

Knock-out Stage

Interesting events:

  • remember our goal of beating Mexico’s 1986 campaign and finishing at least 5th, beating CONCACAF’s best ever World Cup finish? Well, this goal has just got updated to 1st, as Mexico finished 2nd;
  • for the first time since Italy in 1982, a country wins the World Cup after finishing group stage in 2nd place;
  • for the first time since 1982, Poland reaches a semifinal;
  • for the first time since 1990, Brazil is knocked-out before the quarter finals;
  • for the first time since 2002, Argentina fails to make it into the knock-out stage;
  • for the second World Cup in a row, Germany is knocked out at the group stage;
  • in their first participation with the new name, DR Congo didn’t overcome the group stage, but at least they managed to finish in front of Belgium;
  • Mexico becomes the first country ever not from Europe nor South America to be in a World Cup final.

Is there any room for growth?

1st Trimester 2023

Winning both Canadian titles was a fantastic achievement for Atlético Ottawa, and with one year to go on his contract, nothing stops Fred from going for the titles again.The quality of our players has improved a lot in comparison with the beginning of our first season, so the need for new flesh is not as pressing now as it was before.

This year’s budget, however, was far bigger, allowing Fred to obliterate all records in the young CPL regarding transfer amounts: Fred thought it was worth to pay Valour FC 1 million CAD for the Canadian rising star Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty. The other players brought, far from having the same pizzazz, were the Brazilian left-winger Pedro Acácio, the Colombian left-back Juan Esteban Cortés, the Canadian defender Luke Singh, and the Canadian right-back Émile Legault.

These new signings added a lot of quality to an already good squad, but Fred started to ask himself some questions about how far he could go in the Canadian Premier League, as the new additions, combined with the contract renewals, made Atlético Ottawa go overcap. Our 20,000 CAD per week budget, despite being comfortable for the club to pay, went 250 dollars over the league’s cap, which has not changed. To make room, we had to sell the left-back Vashon Neufville to Valour for 125k, whose salary was the least compatible with his skills.

CONCACAF Champions League

In its last year with the knock-out format, the CONCAChampions started in February, ignoring the snowy weather in the North. Our first ever continental rival was Comunicaciones from Guatemala, with a squad slightly better than ours.

In two very tight games, we went to penalty shoot-outs after a 2-1 win for each side. Felizzola stopped two kicks and we went ahead to the quarter finals in our first ever continental play-offs.

News article: Atlético Ottawa 2-1 Comunicaciones (4-3 on pens)

In the quarter finals, reality would probably come up to kick us in the nuts. And it did. We had to go to Minnesota (not too far, in fact) to meet our unavoidable destiny: a merciless defeat. As the first match was away from home, we didn’t even have the chance to dream: we lost 4-0 and the second leg became a mere formality.

Season Preview

As predicted, we are expected to waltz by this CPL edition. Our squad is way stronger than the second best, our players are young and can still develop throughout the season, and we have a solid base from past’s edition. Do not make too many expectations, it will be a walk in the park.
Tango's avatar Group Tango
1 yearEdited
Well, that didn't go long...

SI screwed up Canadian qualification to continental competitions coming the 2023-24 format change at the CONCACAF Champions League, therefore the save is sadly broken.

I kindly request the admins not to delete the thread, as I'll use its remains in case this issue is fixed after the game launches

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