Football Manager Staff The Coaching Team

The Role of a Head of Youth Development

Welcome to my new series on the Backroom Staff in Football Manager. This post covers the Role of a Head of Youth Development in Football Manager.

Welcome to my Football Manager staff guide, where I’ll be putting the spotlight onto each of the staff roles in Football Manager in an attempt to get a better understanding around what the function does, and how you can use it to maximise your results at the club. I have written these guides through the viewpoint of how I like to play Football Manager, so I will cover a lot of my gameplay ideas that you can take away for your saves. This week I take a look at how I utilise the role of a Head of Youth Development.

Version date 07 August 2020 • 1.0 - Written for Football Manager 2020

Introduction to the Role of a Head of Youth Development

There has been much written and much spoken about the role of a Head of Youth Development, or HoYD in some circles. What is important and what isn’t important for getting that Golden Generation from your Youth Intakes. Well, hopefully, this post can quash some of those myths, while also shining a light on the role and how I use it to ensure I’m getting the best Newgens at my club.

Regular readers of my Football Manager saves will know that alongside the Director of Football, the Head of Youth Development is a position I take seriously. This role is important if you have any hopes of bringing through top prospects from your Academy Teams.

Realism is a big part of my gameplay. I delegate almost all tasks to my staff, from scouting assignments to dealing with contracts and signing players for the youth teams. Utilising a Head of Youth Development is no different. While this role isn’t as controversial as the Director of Football, for example, there is still a lot going on behind the scenes at my club.

Bernhard Peters, considered one of the best Head of Youth Development
Bernhard Peters, considered one of the best Head of Youth Development

Welcome to the role of a Head of Youth Development.

What does a Head of Youth Development do in Football Manager?

The primary role of a Head of Youth Development is to bring new youth players (Newgens) into the club via the annual youth intakes. In addition to this, they can sign young players for the future, coach the youth teams and even handle press conferences.

In Football Manager, the Head of Youth Development sits within your Coaching Team, a team which covers all things pertaining to training and development of players in all teams. It stands to reason then, that they don’t get involved with recruitment or the medical side of the club.

Since the Head of Youth Development is typically responsible for bringing Newgens into the club, there is a misconception that they sit within the Recruitment Team.

The Head of Youth Development can influence the type of players selected and in some instances they can pass on some of all of their personality, for example, if their personality is Model Citizen, then they could pass on their high levels of Professionalism.

When influencing the type of players selected this would mean that they would sometimes bring through players who fit their preferred formation and who match their coaching style. If you play a 4-1-4-1 DM Wide system which is focussed on playing possession football then you would take preference with a Head of Youth Development who has this formation as their preferred formation and a technical coaching style.

It is important to note that other youth coaches will also influence the type of players but their influence is not as great.

To clear up some confusion, recruiting the best players from your nation is determined by your Youth Recruitment level. Obviously, if you’re managing in a country with a low Nation Youth Rating and Game Importance you’re not going to have a lot to fight over anyway, but all else being equal; the teams with the best Youth Recruitment will generally get the pick of the best youth talent, with your club’s reputation coming into play if you have the same level as another club.

Is reputation important for a Head of Youth Development?

Despite what you may have heard or read online, the reputation of your Head of Youth Development has no direct impact on a clubs youth intake.


Don’t be disheartened if you do not have the best Youth Recruitment at your club, however, as you can still produce quality Newgens, you just have a lower chance than your competitors. We’ve all picked up a Wonderkid from an obscure nation, playing for a club with poor facilities, so it can happen.

So while Youth Recruitment determines where the best youth talent ends up, Youth Facilities and Junior Coaching crunch the numbers to determine how good that player is when he becomes a Newgen at your club; and at this point, his Current and Potential Ability is decided.

Read more » My Approach to Youth Development in Football Manager 

You can delegate the following responsibilities to the role of a Head of Youth Development in Football Manager

The Head of Youth Development Responsibilities

Staff > Responsibilities > Staff

When looking to assign staff responsibilities in Football Manager, the Head of Youth Development can help with the following:

  • Handles First Team Selection
  • Decide which reserve and youth staff should undertake courses
  • Provide player reports
  • Provide youth development information
  • Find development loans for young players
  • Find and sign young players for the future
  • Handle incoming offers for youth team players
  • Player contract discussions for reserve and youth teams
  • Attends new signing press conferences
  • Attends press conferences
  • Attends tunnel interviews

Read more » Staff Responsibilities in Football Manager

For this section, however, I’m only going to cover my approach when using a Head of Youth Development in Football Manager and the responsibilities I set them.

When I take over a new club, I will usually delegate a lot of the tasks to the staff. I’m a Football Manager, I don’t want to be dealing with contract negotiations and looking after the youth teams. My first bit of business is to hire a Head of Youth Development if the club does not already have one. Once in place, the following responsibilities are assigned to them.

Provides Youth Development Information

This isn’t the clearest menu option in Football Manager but the main role of a Head of Youth Development for me is to bring Newgens into the club. If like me, you want him doing this then you need to make sure that he is selected for this responsibility. This isn’t the easiest menu to find, either, so here’s how to assign this task to him.

This should take you about 1 minute.

How to assign your Head of Youth Development to bring Newgens into the club

  1. Navigate to Advice and Reports

    Select Staff > Responsibilities > Staff > Advice and Reports

  2. Under Player Reports, select Provides Youth Development Information

    This is the menu item that controls which of your staff members will provide you with information on your youth players, but also have responsibility for bringing youth players into your club

  3. Select the staff member you wish to assign this responsibility to

    You do not need to assign this responsibility to your Head of Youth Development. However, whoever you do assign it to, make sure they share similar tactical preferences and have a good personality.

I will always look to have a Head of Youth Development carry out this task for me.

Provides Player Reports

Not the most important of jobs, but I also ask my Head of Youth Development to provide me with player reports if they have good Judging Player Potential and Judging Player Ability.

Player Reports provided by the role of a Head of Youth Development
Player Reports provided by the role of a Head of Youth Development

These reports come through periodically when there is something noteworthy to bring to your attention. I quite like these little reports as it’s a reminder that you’re doing something right in training and the players you’re bringing through are developing well.

Setting up the Head of Youth Development Responsibilities

So I’ve taken you through the process I have in place at my club and how I interact with my Head of Youth Development, so this is how I get it to work as I have it.

Staff > Responsibilities > Staff > Advice and Reports

Advice and reports within staff responsibilities
Advice and reports within staff responsibilities

This is it. This is all you have to do to receive player reports and to put your Head of Youth Development in charge of bringing through Newgens to the club. This one option, hidden away within the Advice and Reports tab on Staff Responsibilities.

Head of Youth Development Attributes

Most Football Manager players wait with bated breath for that news item to come through about their latest batch of future superstars. But what really affects the youth players coming through to the club?

While the club’s Head of Youth Development is responsible for bringing Newgens into the club, in most cases he only influences what type of players come through. Sometimes he can pass on some of his personality to some of the Newgens.

When talking about the type of players he brings through, this can be anything from the player’s position to the style of player, for example, if your Head of Youth Development has a prefered formation of 4-1-4-1 DM Wide and Attacking Coaching Style then be, could bring through more attacking styled players than another Head of Youth Development.

It is also known that the Head of Youth Development will also influence the very rare superstars who come through. When this happens, he can modify their ability and style.

So if you are looking for a particular style of player, make sure your Head of Youth Development has strong coaching attributes in the style you are looking for, e.g., technical. It also helps if he has the same preferred formation and a good personality.

Since he also able to coach the youth teams, having good Determination, Level of Discipline and Motivating can be important if you need him to fill a gap here.

The below are what is considered the key attributes for the role of a Head of Youth Development.

Key Attributes for a Head of Youth Development

Key attributes for a Head of Youth Development.

  • Judging Player Ability
  • Judging Player Potential
  • Working With Youngsters

The above list is what Football Manager suggests as the key attributes for the role, but when you consider the responsibility that can be placed upon them, consider the following attributes as well.

Secondary attributes for a Head of Youth Development.

  • Coaching attribute which matches your team’s style (can also be used for training the youth teams)
  • Personality
  • Determination, Level of Discipline, Motivating
  • Preferred Formation

Judging Player Ability and Potential

Simply the staff members ability to judge the current and potential ability of a player whom they are reviewing. This could be from a scout report, an upcoming opposition report or your own players in training.

Working with Youngsters

Working with Youngers attributes determines the ability of the staff member to work with players under 19 years of age. This is particularly useful if your Head of Youth Development is involved with training players in the youth teams. I have listed Determination, Level of Discipline and Motivating as secondary attributes to look for since they also train youth players.

Best Head of Youth Development in Football Manager

The below top 5 list contains the best Head of Youth Development in Football Manager.

  • Bruno Conti
  • Jochen Sauer
  • Bernhard Peters
  • John McDermott
  • Pedro Mil Homens

Bruno Conti

Conti’s first non-playing role was as Roma’s Under 18s coach which he held until June 1993. A spell as a Head of Youth Development for Roma followed in July 1993. In March 2005 he took up the position of Roma Manager which he held until June 2005. Conti was then made Head of Youth Development at Roma.

  • Age: 64
  • Club: Roma
  • Nationality: Italian
  • Wage: £6K p/w
  • Contract Expiry: June 2022
  • Compensation: £800K
Bruno Conte - Roma Head of Youth Development
Bruno Conte – Roma Head of Youth Development

Jochen Sauer

Sauer’s first non-playing role was as Hertha BSC’s Managing Director, a position he held from November 2001 until June 2009. Sauer joined Wolfsburg as a Director of Football in March 2010 and stayed there until August 2012.

In September 2012, he became RB Salzburg’s Managing Director, a post he would hold for four years. Sauer then moved on to become Under 19s Coach at FC Bayern.

  • Age: 46
  • Club: FC Bayern Under 23s
  • Nationality: German
  • Wage: £1.7K p/w
  • Contract Expiry: June 2021
  • Compensation: £180K
Jochen Sauer – FC Bayern U23s Coach

Bernhard Peters

Peters’ first non-playing role was as Hoffenheim’s Head of Youth Development, a position he held from October 2006 until July 2014. In August 2014, he became Hamburg’s Head of Youth Development, a post he would hold for four years.

  • Age: 59
  • Club: Available on a free transfer
  • Nationality: German
  • Wage: N/a
  • Contract Expiry: N/a
  • Compensation: N/a
Bernhard Peters - Head of Youth Development
Bernhard Peters – Head of Youth Development

John McDermott

McDermott’s first non-playing role was as Watford’s Under 18s Coach, a position he held from July 1992 until June 1995. McDermott worked as an Under 18s Manager for England from July 1995 until June 1999. McDermott worked as an Under 18s Manager for Watford from July 1999 until June 2002. McDermott continued his development as Under 18s Coach for England from July 2002 until May 2005.

A break from football lasting 14 months then followed with McDermott’s next role as Head of Youth Development at Tottenham beginning in July 2006.

  • Age: 52
  • Club: Tottenham
  • Nationality: English
  • Wage: £7.5K p/w
  • Contract Expiry: June 2020
  • Compensation: £400K
John McDermott - Tottenham Head of Youth Development
John McDermott – Tottenham Head of Youth Development

Pedro Mil Homens

Mil Homens’ first non-playing role was as Sporting’s Head of Youth Development, a position he held from July 2001 until June 2011. A break from football lasting 6 years then followed with Mil Homens’ next role as Head of Youth Development at SL Benfica beginning in September 2017.

  • Age: 67
  • Club: SL Benfica
  • Nationality: Portuguese
  • Wage: £3.9K p/w
  • Contract Expiry: June 2020
  • Compensation: £210K
Pedro Mil Homens - SL Benfica Head of Youth Development
Pedro Mil Homens – SL Benfica Head of Youth Development

Conclusion

There are times when I think they perhaps a Director of Football could do the role of a Head of Youth Development. I mean ultimately, I just need a good personality and coaching style primarily to ensure the players coming through are those that suit our style and have the right personality to fit in at the club.

However, fitting in with the realism, I like to keep the two roles separate. As you can see from the limited responsibilities I assign to the role, if money is tight, then I would rather give this responsibility to someone else than spend the money on another staff role that realistically we could probably do without.

It is useful being able to assign them as a coach for training as well, since finding good youth coaches can be harder as the better coaches will likely want to train the first team.

For me, however, I’ll always appoint a Head of Youth Development and Bernhard has come to most clubs I’ve worked at, and will probably continue to do so until he retires. Old habits die hard.

As always, if you made it this far, thank you for reading along. You can get in touch with me in the comments below, or via twitter @fmfutbolmanager.

Until next time.

Oliver Jensen

Please leave me a comment below.

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