One of the more entertaining things to do in FIFA 09 is take control of a team in a second (or lower) division and try to get it promoted to the top-flight league.
It will take at least a couple of seasons to get the team -- not only in a position to contend for promotion -- but to also be talented enough to avoid demotion after starting to play with the big boys.
To help in your endeavor, below are nine young players you can go out and sign to build a team around. With some tender love and care –- and playing time –- all of these players have the potential to be on your team from start to finish and still be contributors when you are competing for the top division’s hardware.
At the start of Manager Mode, all of these players are 20 years old or younger, have an overall rating above 70, and have a market value below €600,000. Many are also great deals, especially when compared to some other available players, and could turn your team a tidy profit down the road as they grow into stars.
Rui Patricio – GK (Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rui_Patricio)
At 20 years old, Rui is one of the better young keepers in the game that is also affordable for smaller teams and their wallets. Considering Patricio is a member of the Portuguese national team, he is a relative steal with a market value of €310,000.
And let us not forget that he is a solid keeper right now. At 73 overall, the Sporting CP player has an above 70 rating in each of the goalkeeper ratings –- most notably positioning (75). He also has impressive reactions (82) and jumping ability (80) –- his height will make going top corner a tough task for opposing goal scorers.
Alberto Paloschi – ST (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Paloschi)
With your keeper out of the way, let us start looking at the players who will build your attack. Paloschi is an 18-year-old Italian striker who plays with Parma in Serie B and is a 73 overall.
Paloschi has great pace, reactions and finishing ability for a player his age. He has an acceleration rating of 84 and a sprint speed of 81 –- giving him the ability to burst to top speed quickly and blow past opposing defenders. He is also a solid dribbler (74) with good ball control (73) and the ability to score from range (his long shot rating is 73).
All this at a relative bargain-market price of €520,000. Compare Paloschi’s ratings to that of American Jozy Altidore of Villarreal. Altidore is a 19-year-old, 74 overall striker with lower acceleration, lower finishing ability, a long shot of only 42 while being only slightly faster (84). And Altidore has a market price of €990,000.
Taison – CAM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taison_Barcellos_Freda)
Taison is a 20-year-old attacking midfielder and the first of a few South American players to make this list. Taison has a market price of €590,000 -- making him the most expensive player on the list -- and plays for Internacional in Brazil’s Serie A (the club listed as I. Porto Alegre in game).
Despite being only a 72 overall, Taison has some impressive skills that make him a playmaker extraordinaire –- allowing your entire attack to flow through him. He is blazing fast (79) and has one of the best acceleration ratings for a player his age in the game (87). He is also a smart player who is in the right place at the right time (87 positioning), with incredible dribbling skills (86) and superb reactions (78). Taison can also pass the ball long (75) and finish when needed (77).
Team Taison up with Paloschi, and you have an explosive combination up the middle that will open up opportunities for each other, as well as the rest of the players on the pitch.
Frederic Nimani N’Galou – ST (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederic_Nimani)
Nimani, a 19-year-old 71 overall French striker who plays for Ligue 1’s Monaco, is a great compliment to the tandem of Paloschi and Taison. While those two are fast playmakers who can score from many different parts of the pitch, Nimani can hunker down in the middle of the box and be a target for crosses, high passes and corners -– using his height (6 feet 3 inches tall), jumping ability (79) and heading accuracy (78) to cause a boat-load of problems for your opposition.
Nimani also has good speed (74), acceleration (74) and the strength (76) to jockey for position. Even if the ball is not sent in high, Nimani is a good at volleys (71), finishing (74) and has good power behind his shots (74). All this can be yours for a market price of €440,000.
Kwadwo Asamoah – CM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwadwo_Asamoah)
Asamoah is the second of our players to have international experience -- despite a bargain market value (only €250,000) and young age (19 years old). Asamoah is from Ghana and plays for Udinese in Italy’s Serie A.
Despite being only rated 70 overall, Asamoah has two great abilities to bring to your side. First, he can be a terror in the middle of the pitch, getting the ball back from your opposition and setting up your attack. And when you are attacking, he can fire the ball from the top of the box with power.
Asamoah has great acceleration (80) and speed (75) for a CM. His aggression (78), strength (80), tackling skills (67 standing and 68 sliding), tactical awareness (73) and positioning (75) all help him play defensively in the middle of the pitch. And when he gets the opportunity he can uncork powerful shots (80) from distance (long shot rating of 67).
Javier Reina – LM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Javier_Reina)
Reina is a 19-year-old Columbian midfielder who plays for Cruzerio in the Brazillian Serie A. Despite his short stature (5 foot 6 inches tall), the 72 overall Reina brings exceptional pace (79 sprint speed, 86 acceleration), agility (81) and dribbling ability (76) to your side. He has good vision (73) and can help move the ball either by running, passing it short (70), crossing (68) or passing it long (67).
Reina can also contribute by shooting from outside –- with a decent 67 shot power aided by a 70 curve rating. Reina is available at a market price of €330,000.
Camacho – CDM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignacio_Camacho)
The fourth midfielder on our list, Camacho is an 18-year-old Spanish player with Athletico Madrid in La Liga. He is a 73 overall player with a market value of €430,000. Like Asamoah, Camacho’s strength comes from his ability to play defense in the middle of the pitch and stop your opponent's attack before it gets started. He is also a good passer (72 short, 70 long) –- ideal for pushing your attack forward.
His strength (82) and jumping ability (78) are perhaps his best assets on the pitch –- letting him jockey for position while defending goal kicks or when defending corners. While not especially fast, he does have the ability to accelerate well (79) allowing him to burst to the ball. His is also an aggressive player (79) with great agility (80) and tactical awareness (76) for a teenager.
Thiago Heleno – CB (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiago_Heleno)
Heleno is the second player on the list from Brazil Serie A’s Cruzeiro. The 19-year-old Brazillian is 73 overall and has a market value of €340,000. Heleno is a classic defensive player who can be the foundation of your back line. He is great at marking (77) and positioning (76) with the strength to not get pushed around (78) and the ability to take the ball away (77 stand tackle, 72 slide tackle).
He compliments those abilities with good tactical awareness (71) and vision (70), as well as decent speed (72) and acceleration (75). Just do not let him handle the ball too much and he will be a valuable member of your team and your last line of defense.
Mats Hummels – CB (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mats_Hummels)
Let's see. Brazillian? Check. Italian? Check. French and Spanish players? Check and check. Besides having an awesome name, the last player on our list also allows us put a check next to "German" descent. The 19-year-old, 73 overall defender plays for Borussia Dortmund and has a market price of €330,000.
Hummels provides very good defensive abilities with the ability to link up to the midfielders on the attack. Unlike Heleno, Hummels can move with the ball (71 ball control) and pass it off (71 short pass) –- while also having the speed (75) and acceleration (74) to take the ball into open space if it is in front of him.
He is a good tackler (70 slide, 73 standing) with great tactical awareness (75), strength (75) and marking ability (73). The 6-foot-3-inch Hummels will also be a pillar of your corner defense with 74 jumping and 72 heading accuracy.
Total Market Value: €3.54 million