Schaan Redux – Season 1 – Club Vision & Transfers

When I signed the contract we also discussed the vision for the club this year and upcoming years. For this season the club wanted a top half in the competition in the Liga Ostschweiz – Gruppe 1 and reaching the quarter-final of the Liechtensteiner Cup which seemed all very realistic goals. Besides those goals, they would also like me to win the Coppa Lauro Amado and reach the second round of the Ostschweizer Cup. I wasn’t sure if winning the Coppa Lauro Amado was possible but getting to the second round of the Ostschweizer Cup should be easily attainable. Getting to the quarter-final of the Liechtensteiner Cup also depended on the clubs we would get in the draw. If we drew Vaduz in one of the earlier rounds it would be over for sure.

The board wanted a mid-table position but the media expected us to be second and maybe even fight for the title. In our division 3. Liga Ostschweiz only the champion will be promoted that was something I was aiming for too. Schaan had known better days in days long gone, in 2012/2013 when they played in the 2e Ligue Interrégionale which was two divisions above the division we are playing now or even longer ago in 1993/1994 when Schaan won the FC Balzers with 3-0 after beating Vaduz narrowly after penalties. This was also the last year we won the Liechtensteiner cup. The next year we and the next year we played in the Qualifying Round for the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup again Bulgarian cup winner Pirin Blagoevgrad. After two games we lost 4–0 on Aggregate after losing 1-0 at home and losing 3-0 away in Bulgaria. The plan was for me personally to bring Schaan back to those times and maybe even better.

I was happy to see we had some income we had a new sponsor, a local company that paid us 9.5k over 2 years and we also got 4.25k from Vaduz who is our senior affiliate. As I was not sure what the income and cost were going to be and it was always good to have a cushion however small it might be.

I had watched many games and even attended some of the training over the last year and was familiar with the team and the players. It was clear that three players of the team were the players that I should build the team around namely right back Mathias Sele, center back Armando Hilti, and left-winger Lucas Eberle. Although we had some good players, especially for our level we were lacking in some areas, most prominently in our midfield. We could really do with two central midfielders or one central midfielder and a left-winger depending on where we played Lucas Eberle. I also wanted to replace our first keeper, he was thirty-five already and also served as director of football. He was also one of two players who also held a staff job and who was getting paid. Our keeper Fabian Rupf got 100 euros a week and player/reserve manager Kieran Walser who gets paid 6 euros a week while I as head coach did not get paid. It was also a waste of money and a lot of money for an amateur club with limited money and income. Besides my first team keeper, I wanted a good reserve keeper so I added two keepers to the to-buy list. The reserve bench was weak if there were a number of injuries it might cause problems. We could do with a central defender, a left-back, a central midfielder, both a left and a right-winger and a striker. If we could fill these position we would be in a good shape and surely be able to fight for the title this season. I have my work cut out on the transfer market.

With the list of positions that I needed filling, I got to work and look for players that could fill these positions and be good enough for our level. I was always tempted to look up not down, try and get players who might not be not so obvious to be willing to join the club instead of picking the low-hanging fruit. The first players I signed were obviously midfielders, a position we are most desperate to fill. Moritz Eidenbenz, a 21-year-old Liechtenstein under 21 player and Eris Burak a 30-year-old two time Liechtenstein international both came on a free transfer. For between the goalposts, I signed Raffael Loosli 18-year-old from FC Triesenberg who had no experience but he was about as good as Fabian Rupf and still has potential.

With these positions filled, things were looking on the up and up and I could look how to further strengthen our selections. The first to catch my eyes was Leon Ryser a Swiss left-back who played or FC Teufen who we signed as our first team left-back. One of my scouts made me aware of Luka Tomas an Austrian defender who played for FC Rüthi last season but was released. I contacted Vaduz with whom we had an affiliate and if they had players they could send our way. It was slim pickings and in the end, we only loaned Marco Marxer a versatile defender who could play on all positions in defense. I had my scouts go to the training of other teams in the region to scout of players that we could sign. The scout who we send to FC Ruggell came back with three players for us to sign midfielder Menderes Caglar, defender Stefan Maag who also could play in all the positions in defense and right-wing Colin Haas. From FC Triesenberg we poached Jonas Sprenger who could play we got as a central defender but also could play in midfield and as a striker and keeper Nikola Pupovac who will be our backup keeper and can fight for his spot. We still where looking for attackers and the first spot was filled by Cenk-Onur Cokicli who was released by FC Rebstein. On the wing, we signed for the right Julian Frick of FC Balzers and Roger Stadler from FC Wittenbach on the right. Central midfielder Adnan Salihovic who was released by FC Rorschach-Goldach 17 signed.

Finally, our most remarkable signing, we were still looking for a striker and were contacted by George Weah Jr the Liberian striker who also had French and US citizenship and made a few appearances in the US under 21 team who contacted us. He was the son of George Weah the former AC Milan player and ballon d’or winner who currently was president of Libera. George Weah Jr had played most of his career in the Swiss lower leagues was wanted to come to play for us. Who was I to say no to the son of a former world-class player.

At the and of the transfer season this was what our selection looked like. Our first eleven where much stronger compared to when I signed on as manager and also in our reserves for most positions we have good backups for almost every position which will help if we get injuries during the season which surely will happen. In the season preview, we are not expected to win the league and in the media dream eleven seven out of the eleven players are ours.

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