‘Except this was real’: How a Football Manager YouTuber discovered & fell in love with CPL

At first, Jack Peachman, also known as WorkTheSpace, thought the “Canadian Premier League” was fake.

From his apartment in suburban London, England, the prominent Football Manager gamer was scrolling the game’s Steam workshop when he saw the name attached to an add-on.

His curiosity sent him spiralling, eventually leading to a 14-hour-long FC Edmonton campaign on his YouTube channel, which features over 93-thousand subscribers.

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“I thought, ‘oh, it is weird that Canada doesn’t have a football league’,” Peachman told “I had never really thought about it until that point.

“Before I knew it, I had subscribed to OneSoccer and I was watching the Inaugural Game.”

WorkTheSpace’s YouTube channel sees Jack take on clubs in the game as long-term “projects such as solidifying Liverpool as a world powerhouse, winning in Europe with Olympique Lyon or taking a non-league team to the top in England.

This FC Edmonton series, dubbed “Rise of a Nation,” offered a greater challenge – take a club and a country higher – and a unique gaming experience.

“It’s like all those fictitious scenarios of these countries coming up with other leagues, except this one was real,” Peachman said. “Did some research, thought it was really cool.

“For anyone who is playing Football Manager, there is always a draw to a league that’s up-and-coming. Can I take this nation higher? For Canada, it’s ahead of the 2026 World Cup. Can I make Canada a powerhouse by then?

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Peachman used Edward Hon-Sing Wong’s mod, which predated the CPL’s official inclusion in the 2020 version of the game announced earlier this week, and helped the York University PhD student develop its fan-created database, doing everything from adding players, creating teams, to reaching out to Pacific FC defender Kadin Chung to confirm his dominant foot (he’s right-footed but comfortable with both, by the way).

WorkTheSpace went on to take FC Edmonton to the top of Canadian football virtually, making the Canadian Championship finals, winning four CPL titles over five years, and even signing current Chelsea winger Willian. Viewers enjoyed several high points as Peachman tried to navigate a strange world of Canadian soccer.

First off, how did continental qualifying work?

“‘Okay, so I need to finish top six in [Concacaf League] to move on?’ It was hard to wrap your head around,” Peachman said. “Even the Canadian Championship. The MLS teams come in at the second stage? It’s possibly the most complicated bracket I’ve ever seen.”

While hard to understand, WorkTheSpace Jack found his curiosity take hold and push him through the complicated nature of this simulation game. It’s what he believes makes the CPL’s inclusion special in Football Manager, giving gamers who are looking for a new challenge a way to discover Canada’s professional league.

RELATED READING: 4 CPL saves you should try in Football Manager 2020

“I think when it comes to MLS, Football Managers players tend to get put off by all the rules and that, while the CPL is a lot more relatable to European football in that regard, sure it doesn’t have promotion and relegation, but there aren’t a million and one caps and budgets to fiddle around with,” Peachman offered.

“It’s a lot more accessible and relatable.

“When you’re in a smaller league, it’s easier to become a big fish in a small pond, but with the whole mantra of the CPL about enhancing Canadian football on the whole, you kinda get to a point where you’re trying to do favours for the other CPL teams like loaning out good players. It’s a fun scenario.

“Your average player is quite a nerdy football fan. They like spreadsheets enough to play Football Manager a lot. So when they hear of a league they’ve never heard of or not know much about, they will have a desire to learn more about it and play it.”

Busy with commitments to his YouTube channel, the Englishman hopes to pick up the CPL in the game again in a few years – perhaps after expansion. But the seed has been planted for Peachman, who enjoyed several good CPL memories from an otherwise “football-less summer” abroad.

His particular highlight? FC Edmonton’s first game against Valour FC on May 4th.

“I was more excited for the first game of the season than for Liverpool’s opener… not sure if I should admit that or not,” the Liverpool supporter joked.

“All I could think was ‘this was a real thing now,’ you know?”

Oh, it’s very real now, Jack.

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