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Six Teams to Manage in the MLS | FM21

The 2021 MLS season is starting in a few weeks. Now is the best time for you to start your journey on the other side of the pond on Football Manager 2021. In this FM21 guide, here are six teams to manage in the MLS.

If you unsure about MLS rules and regulations, don’t fear! We have you covered with our How to Manage in the MLS guide here.

Nashville SC

The city of line dancing was awarded an MLS expansion team in the winter of 2017. They officially began play in the COVID-hit season of 2020. Nashville, were in fact, forced to withdraw from the MLS is Back tournament at Walt Disney World due to multiple COVID-19 cases.

The team did manage to finish 7th in the East and make it to the Conference Semi-Finals. A good feat for a first season in the MLS.

The club currently plays at the Nissan Stadium, the home of NFL side Tennessee Titans. They have already announced plans to build a soccer-specific stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds, with a capacity of 30,000. Breaking ground is expected to start shortly.

The current captain of the club is Dax McCarty, who was given the armband upon joining the franchise in early 2020 from Chicago Fire.

The Nashville front office, led by former Liverpool CEO, Ian Ayre, have an ambitious future lined up for the club. The club is expected to challenge for the top trophy, the MLS Cup by the 2023 season.

In terms of the club culture, Ayre, expects you to be playing attacking football, sign players from other MLS teams and to sell players for a profit.

A bright future for the home of line dancing.

New York Red Bulls

After winning three supporter’s shields in six years between 2013 and 2018, the last few seasons have been disappointing for the Red Bulls.

Chris Armas took the hot seat mid way through the 2018 season. He led the club to their third Shield and just a game away from the MLS Cup. Following a huge fall-off in 2019 and a dismal showing at the MLS is Back Tournament, Armas was sacked by Head of Sport, Kevin Thelwell.

Last season, the club finished 6th in the East but were booted out of the Play Offs in the First Round.

The franchise plays at the soccer-specific stadium, Red Bull Arena, which is located in Harrison, New Jersey. The ground holds just over 25,000 spectators.

The current captain of the side is Sean Davis, a New York native, who came through the RBNY academy. He took the armband following the departure of Luis Robles in 2019.

The Red Bull board, led by Marc de Grandpre, have a number of requirements to be met for the culture of the franchise including attacking football, developing young players and to develop the best MLS youth system.

Whilst in terms of on the pitch success, they would like you to be maintaining a MLS Cup title challenge by 2021 and reaching the latter stages of the Champions Cup.

Let’s go, Red Bulls!

Austin FC

The expansion side have not kicked a ball yet, so this is a chance for you to build your own success with no previous events holding you back.

Austin FC was announced to be joining the league in 2021 following Precourt’s attempt to move the Columbus Crew to Austin. After league-wide fan protests, the Crew stayed put and Austin were awarded an expansion team at a cut price.

The club currently doesn’t have a captain, so that’ll be up to you to crown the inaugural skipper!

The club will play at the Q2 Stadium, located in the centre of Austin, Texas. The stadium will be able to hold around 20,000 spectators.

As a new club, the club culture is quite thin at the moment. You’d expect it to grow during the early years of the club. At the moment, all they would like you to do is to sign players under 23 for the first team, and also to sign young players to sell for a profit. Interesting combination.

On the field, reaching the play offs is the reasonable target for the end of their inaugural season but the board quickly requires MLS Cup challenges.

Good luck.

Charlotte FC

Another MLS expansion team, Charlotte FC, will begin play in 2022. What will you do for a whole season with no games? Simple. You have just three players, so there’s lots of recruiting to do. Go watch some MLS games and scout some players!

Charlotte previously tried to win an expansion space back in 2017 but didn’t make the final four cities. A new bid was successful in 2019 and was originally due to start play in 2021. This was later delayed until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club will play at the Bank of America Stadium, currently home to the Carolina Panthers of the NFL. It will hold 40,000 for MLS games instead of the 75,000 used for Panthers’ games.

As a team that hasn’t even begun playing yet, the five year plan for the club is empty so there are currently no on field objectives.

However the board have already begun laying out their requested club culture whereby they will want you to sign players to sell for a profit, spend the original transfer budget, and offer minimum 2 year contracts to players. Along with these objectives, they would also like you to make progress on and off the pitch.

Inter Miami CF

We all knew this one would be on here somewhere… Inter Miami are the MLS franchise fronted by David Beckham. After a disappointing inaugural season, they are looking for improvements in Miami.

David Beckham activated the clause agreed in his 2007 move to LA Galaxy to launch an expansion club for a cut price $25 million. The club then dubbed as “Beckham Miami” was born.

The club currently plays at the Inter Miami CF Stadium located in Fort Lauderdale on the grounds of the old Lockhart Stadium. The former Miami MLS side, Miami Fusion played here between 1998 and 2004 before folding in order to improve the finances of a then-failing MLS.

The club have plans to build a new stadium called the Miami Freedom Park. After a number of rejections on locations, the approved location is currently on the Miami waterfront.

As you may expect, with David Beckham as your boss, expectations are high. The club culture is no different with huge emphasis being put on signing high reputation players and playing entertaining soccer.

As part of the five year plan, the front office would like to be winning the MLS Cup by the end of the 2024 season. A huge challenge for a club who have just joined the league.

But at least you’ve got the sun in Miami…

Create Your Own MLS Club!

Why not use the game’s Create-A-Club mode to begin your MLS journey at a brand new club created by YOU!

You can dictate the name, stadium details, affiliations. You can even change the kits!

Along with this, you can also choose players to keep, get rid of or even get a star player (as long as it fits with your team budget though!)


Have fun!

We hope you have found a MLS team to manage in this FM21 Six Teams to Manage guide. Now is the perfect time to start your MLS journey in Football Manager 2021. Let us know who you managed on our socials:

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Written by Luke Hume

Luke is the Assistant Manager at Dictate The Game, and he has been a trusted part of the team since joining in August 2016.

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