Hope you don’t have plans this month: The Canadian Premier League is back in Football Manager! The latest game in the ongoing football management simulation series, Football Manager 21, comes out on Tuesday and features the CPL from the outset after being added as a special downloadable add-on in FM20. All eight CPL clubs – including expansion side Atlético Ottawa – are playable, allowing gamers to take over a club for The Island Games and beyond. Football Manager is one of the highest-selling sports games for Mac and PC. Players can take control of clubs from over 50 countries from around the world and influence everything from day-to-day training, man-managing, scouting youth prospects, and designing tactics. After a second full season, several new features have been introduced around the CPL. Here’s what you can expect from playing a CPL team in FM21.
Accurate lower league rostersThose who picked up CanPL in Football Manager 20 know how fun scouting League1 Ontario, the Alberta Major Soccer League, and Première ligue de soccer du Québec is. Looking for the next big Canadian soccer star in the lower leagues just got more realistic, with accurate rosters across L1O and PLSQ added for FM21. Sigma FC is ready to be scouted for the next Triston Henry, or AS Blainville for another Mo Farsi. This allows for another level of realism – can you predict which L1O player will be the next breakthrough? We recommend scouting long-time CPL target Pierre Lamothe, who plays for Blainville, or Oakville Blue Devils’ L1O all-star ‘keeper Lucas Birnstingl.
Abridged Island Games formatA bit of realism, a bit of fantasy, the 2020 Island Games in FM21 offers a different take on an out-of-the-ordinary CPL season: Same tournament format, but matches are played in home stadiums and in front of fans. The schedule returns to a split-season 2019 form in 2021. The fixture congestion is multiplied as teams travel cross-country for away dates, and virtual injuries start to pile up, but it’s awfully nice to see a jam-packed Spruce Meadows in 2020, we must say.
Capture the North Star ShieldYep, CanPL’s championship shield (err, dish) is shown in-game when you capture the CPL title. Players hold the North Star Shield aloft in the new trophy presentation – they even walk around the stadium with it. No word if the game will recreate the iconic beer pour-over photo-op seen by Forge FC in back-to-back seasons…
Better player attribute accuracyCPLers are more accurately depicted in FM21, with added detail given to some of the bigger impact players in Canadian soccer. For example, CPL Awards nominees Kyle Bekker and Marco Bustos has been given a significant boost to their offensive production, with passing and finishing landing in more accurate places, respectively. In fact, Bustos has emerged as the game’s top finisher of the ball – a big upgrade from his middle-of-the-road rating of 11 last year. Positional accuracy has also been expanded, giving younger players with real-life tactical flexibility more abilities in-game – fellow MVP nominee Akeem Garcia can play in all four positions across the front line, for example.
Available on mobileAlong with being in the game at launch for the first time, the Canadian Premier League is also in Football Manager 21 Mobile, an abridged version of the robust desktop game. Canada, added alongside Mexico and Argentina, gives you the same fully-licensed experience on an iPhone or Android. Perhaps players new to the Football Manager series could check this version out first.