In the La Masia series I wrote last year, the importance of upgrading your youth facilities was discussed. While we all realise the importance of a quality coaching staff in speeding up the development of our players and there have been previous experiments regarding the effects of tutoring, no-one has looked into the facilities.
I am curious as to the effectiveness of these facilities. Upgrading them is often an expensive and time-consuming affair, so is upgrading them worth the hassle or would you be better off focussing your time, energy and financial resources on other areas?
The youth facilities
For the sake of this experiment, we need to concern ourselves with the level of our youth facilities. The youth facilities help in the development process, speeding it up an extra notch if they are up to par. The influence of coaching and tutoring has been measured somewhat, the influence of the facilities has not.
These are the various levels of Youth Facilities you can attain in the game. Please note that these textual descriptions are always relative to the reputation of the club. It can happen that a club like Crewe Alexandra has top facilities, whereas a big club like Chelsea only has superb ones. Objectively, Chelsea will have superior facilities, but they are always compared to the club’s reputation as well.
The setup of the experiment
For this experiment, I have taken over control of three Championship level clubs. Rotherham United, Sheffield Wednesday and Burton Albion. All three clubs were given the same reputation and the same level coaching staff (as in all the coaches attributes were set to 10). What differentiates these three clubs if the level of their training facilities and youth facilities. Rotherham’s were set to 5, which means poor. Sheffield’s were set to 10, which means average. Burton Albion’s were set to 20, which means top.
The next step was to generate ten players for each club’s U18 squad. The positions were all random, but their attributes were all set to 10, which includes the hidden attributes. Their respective current and potential ability were all equal. None of the players has an advantage or disadvantage compared to any of the 29 others, except for the training facilities at their respective clubs.
The actual experiment
The idea is to run a holiday save for half a season. During this half season, the players will be kept uninjured and motivated by using FMRTE after each match. Their current ability will be too low for them to reach the first team, so this factor is effectively eliminated. After half a season, I will note their development in the following areas:
- Current ability.
After six months of simulating, it took me an hour or so to extract the necessary data and put in a spreadsheet. This is the raw data I managed to extract.
On the bottom of each table is the average growth for each respective category. To prevent a rather messy graphical representation, I will be using the averages instead of each individual player’s values. This also weeds out the excesses somewhat, both for players exceeding expectations and for players with a nearly stalled development.
The results are hardly surprising, higher quality facilities yield better results. What is surprising is that the difference between top facilities and poor ones is quite significant. While upgrading your facilities definitely isn’t cheap, it might be an investment that pays for itsself in spades when youth development is the aim of your game.