First Touch Games is known for its various soccer-inspired games, including Score! Hero, Score! Match, and arguably its most popular franchise, Dream League Soccer. The most recent version, Dream League Soccer 2021, recently rolled out for iOS and Android devices, and just like previous versions, it puts you in control of a low-division team in a universe where all of the world’s top association football players have been redistributed to new teams and placed in new leagues.
That means you’re going to be controlling real-life players as you work toward moving up from one league to the next and improving your roster by signing new players and training the ones you currently have! There are also different game modes, including the classic Career mode, as well as a PvP mode that pits you against other human managers.
As you may have surmised in our Dream League Soccer 2021 beginner’s guide, this is quite a deep game with a lot of features, and that could mean more time for you to learn the basics and a whole lot of ground to cover. Our first guide mainly focused on tips designed for beginner and intermediate-level players. But now, we’re going to touch on some of the other game modes, particularly Dream League Live, and tackle some more advanced tips, as well as simpler ones that we may have missed out on in the first guide.
Keep on reading if you’re looking to gain an even bigger advantage against your opponents, especially if you’ve made it past the Academy Division and are trying your luck against tougher AI opponents — or any kind of human opponent!
1. Dream League Live: Playing Against Human Opponents
Aside from Career mode, Dream League Soccer 2021 allows players to take part in PvP matches against human opponents. You can access Dream League Live by tapping on the second button to the left on the main menu, and once you’re ready to play a match, simply tap on Play Now to be matched against another manager.
Next to Play Now, you can access the Team Management screen to make changes to your starting eleven, and Leaderboard to see where you rank against other players in your division. The right side buttons are for special events, which could earn you additional coins and other rewards if you place among the top three by the event’s conclusion.
PvP matches in Dream League Live work exactly like the ones in Career, although this time, you may need to be sharper than you are when facing the AI-controlled opponents in Career. These matches, after all, take place in real-time, and human-controlled opponents will always be more intuitive and less predictable than the ones controlled by the computer. We’re going to talk about this later, but you should absolutely NOT rage-quit in Dream League Live — you do have the option, however, to concede the match to your opponent.
Scoring in Dream League Live is similar to how it is in real-life association football — a win gets you three points, a draw gets you one, and a loss gets you none. You can reach Champion status by scoring at least 12 points before the end of the season, and scoring 7 points or more will be good enough for Promotion to the next highest league/division. You will also earn the usual coins regardless whether you win or lose, and you will get more coins, of course, if you pick up the win.
Depending on the result, you’ll get Season XP, which goes toward the rankings in the Leaderboard section — you will be awarded gems or coins at the end of the season depending on how high your ranking is on the Leaderboard. Those who place in the top five will receive gems — the top three get 100 gems each, while the fourth and fifth place managers will be rewarded with 40 and 30, respectively.
As you can see, there are many reasons to focus on PvP play in Dream League Live, and a lot of them boil down to the rewards you can earn at the end of the season. This is the perfect next step for those who feel that Career mode doesn’t offer enough challenge, and if you choose to focus most of your energy on Dream League Live, Career mode will essentially serve as a practice mode of sorts for those matches against human opposition!
2. Accumulate Season Points For Bonus Rewards In Dream League Live
Aside from the ranking-based gem and coin rewards, you can also win a ton of bonus rewards depending on how many Season Points (SP) you earn through the course of a season in Dream League Live. Much like Season XP, the amount of SP you earn after a match will depend on whether you win, draw, or lose, and as you accumulate more SP, that will allow you to level up your Season Pass, which can be accessed by tapping on the button of the same name on the top left of the Dream League Live menu.
Even if you choose not to pay for the actual Season Pass, you can still level up by scoring more SP — level 1 players get 20 free coins, level 2 players get 25 coins, and so on, until you reach level 21 and get a Rare Agent for free. Paid Season Pass members, meanwhile, get even better rewards — we’d say it’s a good deal for $4 USD for its local equivalent!
How good is good? Well, for starters, you can earn 300 coins at level 1, and get 10 gems, a Legendary Form Boost, and a Legendary Scout respectively once you move up to level 2, 3, and 4. You’ll get a Legendary Agent once you make it to level 21 under the paid Season Pass, and if you consider the type of player you can get for free by using such an Agent, that’s a pretty good final reward for just $4 in real-life currency!
3. You’ll Need To Manually Choose Your Set Pieces
There are three buttons in the Team Management screen that we didn’t cover in-depth in the first guide, and the first one we’ll be tackling is the Roles button. This is where you can choose your set pieces, meaning your Captain, lead Penalty Taker, your Free Kicker, and your Left and Right Corner Kickers. Much like substitutions, you will need to manually choose each of the set pieces — there’s no auto-select option that will rank each player based on the key attributes for each set piece, so you’ll need to review each player’s cards individually to make sure you’re making the best choice for each set piece.
Generally speaking, Free Kickers and Corner Kickers need to have good Passing numbers, and lead Penalty Takers need to have good Shooting. Things aren’t quite as cut-and-dry when it comes to your choice of Captain, as DLS21 does not have any visible attributes that measure leadership. We would suggest choosing the player with the best overall rating — although the best players in the real world aren’t always the best on-field leaders, choosing your team’s best player in the DLS universe is typically a safe approach when choosing your team captain.
4. About Form Boosts – Should You Buy Them?
We briefly mentioned Form Boosts earlier, and you may be wondering what they are and what they can do for your players. First of all, you can access the Form Boost by tapping on any player on your starting lineup and tapping on the button of the same name on the bottom right of the screen. Here, you can opt to use a Common Form Boost for 5 gems, a Rare one for 8 gems, or a Legendary one for 10 gems. Depending on which of these boosts you choose, this will result in the player’s overall rating increasing by one, two, or three points respectively.
The price remains the same for all players regardless of rating, and regardless of which one you use, the effect will only last for one match — the game makes it clear that these are temporary boosts! So with that in mind, and also taking into account that gems are a premium currency, should you purchase Form Boosts, and if you do, when would be the best time to use them?
Our advice here would be to purchase Form Boosts only for your best players. There’s not much point using a Form Boost on a player with a rating in the 60s or even in the early 70s when you’ve got quite a few players with a rating of 75 or better.
And you should ideally buy them right before an important fixture against a tougher or equally-matched opponent — you’ll only be wasting them if you buy them right before a very winnable match. Always keep in mind that these are one-use-only boosts, and that the game doesn’t give out gems like candy — there are other things that you’ll want to save your gems for!
5. You Can Watch Videos For Extra Coins And Other Bonuses
Normally, this is something we’d want to mention in a beginner and/or intermediate guide, but since this is rather easy to miss, we’re mentioning it here — the game will allow you to watch videos to add to your winnings after each match.
This will allow you to earn an additional 30 coins on top of your regular reward, and if you look at the bottom left of the Career screen, you will see a similar option to watch a video for 30 free coins. That might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but as is always the case, it can all add up if you watch enough of those clips.
In addition to watching videos for extra coins, DLS21 lets you watch ads in order to recover 10 percent of your entire club’s energy. You can only watch one video if you choose to take this option, but even then, that can save you on the coins you would normally spend to manually help your best players recover energy before their next match!
6. Physios Come Cheap, But Don’t Overuse Them
The second button on the bottom menu of the Team Management screen directs you to your Physios, which is where you can choose from three different rarity levels of physiotherapists to help your players recover their energy prior to a match. Common Physios cost 50 coins to hire and recover 10 percent energy for all players, Rare ones are priced at 100 coins and can restore 20 percent energy, and Legendary ones cost 250 coins and not only restore 50 percent energy for everybody but also heal all active injuries.
As you can see, those aren’t bad prices at all for a quick boost of energy and the assurance that everyone will be playing closer to their full potential thanks to their fresher legs. But while hiring a Physio is definitely cheaper than adding a new player to your club via the Transfers menu, you should also remember that these are one-use-only staff members, much like Coaches! This option should ideally be used sparingly, and preferably only before a match where you are evenly matched, or at a disadvantage against your opponent in terms of talent.
7. On Regular Quitting And Rage-Quitting
As you’ll see in the pause menu during each match you play, you have the option to “legally” quit a match if you feel there is good enough reason to do so. Maybe you aren’t capitalizing on those scoring opportunities or making those defensive stops, or maybe you’ve made one big mistake leading to another and crushing whatever momentum you have.
Or maybe your boss caught you playing DLS21 at work and warned you about playing mobile games at the workplace. You can quit the match through the pause menu if this (or something else) happens, but the game will warn you of one important caveat — quitting the match will erase all statistics that have been compiled so far, and you will LOSE the match.
Is there any alternative to legally quitting out of a match? Fortunately, there is, and while it may be a controversial tactic that has gotten many a player perma-banned from other games, you can rage-quit from Career Mode matches by actually quitting the app on your device. Your opponent is AI-controlled and the fixtures aren’t in real-time, so there’s no harm done to any human player if you opt to rage-quit.
Once you restart the game, you will continue the match from the last dead-ball situation, say, after the last goal scored or after the last foul was called. That means you can actually rage-quit right before an opposing player scores a goal, thus allowing you to redo the whole sequence of plays and make a timely stop the next time around!
Take note that the operative words here are “Career Mode” and “AI-controlled.” You will certainly want to avoid using rage-quit tactics when you’re competing against another human manager. Now that’s definitely unfair to the other guy, especially if they’ve worked hard to build up an advantage and score a ton of goals. And as far as you’re concerned, rage-quitting during PvP matches in DLS21 could get you temporarily banned for your first offense, or worse, perma-banned from the game for repeated offenses!
8. Save Some Gems For Your Training Center Upgrade
You may be tempted to save up your gems for Agent purchases that could help you sign some rare, talented players and boost your roster’s talent, especially as you progress through the higher leagues. However, you should also have a lot of gems set aside for those facility upgrades, and the most important one beyond the Stadium, we’d say, would be your Training Center.
The Training Center is located on the upper right of the Stadium and Facilities map, and here, you will be able to perform upgrades on the building. These upgrades result in additional Form Boost matches, an extra percentage discount on the cost of hiring a Coach, and new formations to unlock. We’d say the latter perk is the most important of them all, as it allows you to try out different tactics that may be more apropos for your club’s depth chart at a given time.
For example, you may want to try formations that highlight your strength up front but disguise your lack of quality midfielders, or those that allow you to start at least four 70-or-better midfielders while letting you start your only good forward.
Once you decide to upgrade the Training Center, the game will ask you to choose the new formations you wish to unlock. Make sure you’ve reviewed your starting eleven and subs before committing to any formation, but once you’re ready, you can tap on the pink button with the cost in gems in order to finalize things. That will permanently unlock the new formations and leave the other ones locked until your next Training Center upgrade, so be sure you’re choosing well!
9. Which Buildings Should You Prioritize Next?
We’ve just established that the most important facilities to upgrade are the Stadium and the Training Center. That leaves three other buildings in the Stadium and Facilities map, and these are your Commercial Center, Medical Center, and Accommodation building.
As gems are a premium currency and are comparatively hard to come by, it will be very difficult to save up enough of them to make sure everything is upgraded. So which of these should you be working on next?
We would suggest that after the Training Center, you should invest some gems in upgrading your Medical Center. Each upgrade results in an additional discount for Physiotherapists, with the first being 10 percent, as well as a progressively reduced injury probability. The latter will be very important, because you don’t want to lose one of your best players ahead of a big game against a tougher opponent!
For your fourth priority, we suggest working on the Commercial Center. Upgrades here are mainly focused on your bonus match winnings, which improve by 6 percent after the first upgrade. You can also get progressively higher kit and logo discounts, as well as scout discounts, by leveling up this building.
We would argue that upgrading Accommodations should be the last priority for DLS21 players. The only perk of note here is being able to maintain a larger roster. This won’t be a must until you’ve gotten promoted at least a few times, and as we noted in the first guide, releasing players allows you to convert them into free Coaches. So don’t worry too much about this at first — your standard lineup of 11 starters and nine subs should be enough to get you through the first few divisions in the game.
10. Customizing Team And Player Information
The third button on the upper left takes you to the customization options of DLS21, and these would allow you to change your team’s logo and edit a variety of information, including your kit colors, your players’ information, your team name, and your name and appearance as manager. All of these changes are cosmetic in nature, but they are a great way to shake things up and set your team aside from the rest of the in-game world.
And with that in mind, that’s something you may wish to consider when editing kit information. While colors like red, black, white, and blue are classic choices that are popular among many real-life teams, you can also get imaginative and try unusual color combinations that could make it easier to distinguish your team on the field — it’s always a bit of a challenge if you and your opponent have similar, or even the same uniform colors!
As for the other editing options, there isn’t much to changing your team name or manager name/appearance — these can be done at any time and without any additional cost. Editing players, on the other hand, allows you to change their jersey number and shoe color.
Unfortunately for those who may be used to management games where they can change every bit of player information (usually at an additional fee), there are a couple of limitations to DLS21’s player editing features. The first is that you cannot change anybody’s names — these are FiFPro-licensed players, so we’d say it’s perfectly understandable that you cannot update someone’s name to something wacky like John Q.
Awesome or Goalie McGoalface. Likewise, you cannot update player attributes either, and that’s even more justified, because what fun would the game be if you’re dominating everyone on the field with a team of 99-rated players at every position?
11. Some Goal-Scoring Tips
Let’s now move on to the on-field aspects of Dream League Soccer 2021, starting with what is arguably the most fun part of any game — scoring a ton of goals. At first, it won’t be easy to find scoring opportunities in Career mode, and when you’re playing Dream League Live, you may encounter teams that are especially good in clogging their final third and preventing attackers from getting good opportunities at the goal. But when playing Career games, you’ll soon enough find that it’s pretty easy to break away for an unmarked attempt without getting called for offside.
In the absence of an easy, giveaway opportunity at the goal, we would also advise you to look for those chances where you can score on the rebound. Admittedly, it’s hard to score on an epic screamer from a good distance, so you want to focus on closer shots, especially those that come off a missed attempt. You’ll need to act quick while watching the keeper parry the first attempt — make sure you go for the second attempt before he switches his focus back!
In addition, we’ve found it effective to weave in and out while approaching the keeper, effectively throwing him off his balance and forcing him to think twice as to where the ball may be heading. Just be sure you aren’t doing this too close to the keeper, or else he will easily stop the shot before you even have a chance to chip it into the goal!
12. Watch Out For Offside Calls!
As is the case with any other mobile soccer game that focuses on the action rather than on the management, you’ll want to be careful about getting called for an offside violation. What are these violations and when are they called? Officially, this means that a player’s body parts that aren’t their hands or arms are closer to their opponents’ goal line than the ball and the second-to-last opponent.
But in layman’s terms, this simply means passing the ball to someone who’s breaking away toward the opponent’s goal without anyone marking him. It’s sort of like soccer’s equivalent of someone triggering a fast break with an outlet pass in basketball, but this time, it’s illegal.
When called offside, the opposing team will gain control of the ball and will start things off with a goal kick or a free kick, and that is, of course, something you want to avoid. So if you want to avoid getting called offside, the basic rule of thumb is to avoid passing the ball if the scoring opportunity seems too good to be true. The offside rule is designed to avoid instances where the offense has an unfair advantage over the defense, so you’ll have to be more creative when it comes to these opportunities.
13. Taking And Defending Against Penalty Kicks
At first glance, penalty kicks may sound like gimmes — you don’t need to deal with anyone else on defense aside from the goalkeeper. However,, any fan of the sport will also tell you that penalties can be quite the nerve-racking experience, not only for the player taking the kick and the goalkeeper defending against it but also for the fans. And this is especially true when it comes to penalty shootouts, which you’ll need to deal with if the match remains tied at the end of the 30-minute extra time period.
When taking penalty kicks, you will again be using the joystick on the bottom left and the buttons on the right to guide your player as he attempts to shoot. The safest button to use would be the B button, as using A, if you’re not careful, would usually result in the ball moving sharply upward and going over the bar, while using C could cause the ball to wildly go wide left or wide right.
But the key thing here is to be very careful when guiding your shot with the joystick — to avoid sharp or wide motions, make sure you’re gingerly moving it along and not moving it too far up, down, left, or right. Also keep in mind that you have a time limit when attempting penalties — take too long to set up your shot and the game will automatically make the attempt for you based on where the arrow is located!
Your choice of direction for the shot wouldn’t matter during regular first penalty attempts during regulation time or extra time, but when you’re in a shootout, that’s when you’ll need to change things up. Try to be as unpredictable as possible as you keep track of the goalkeeper’s movement — if you notice the goalkeeper moving right to block the shot during the first attempt, you might want to aim your second attempt to the right in anticipation of the keeper moving to his left.
The concept is quite similar when you’re in control of the keeper and you’re trying to defend against the opponent’s penalty attempts. In fact, we’d say it’s easier to guide your keeper when you’re controlling him on defense. Just tap anywhere on or around the net to move the hands-shaped icon and choose the direction he will be moving when trying to block the penalty, and you’re good to go. Once again, it’s a good idea to vary the placement of the hands in order to throw off multiple penalty takers during a shootout.
Given the importance of penalty kicks when they happen during a PvE match in Career or a PvP match in Dream League Live, you can always head to the Training menu (in the More section in the main menu) and choose Penalty. This allows you to practice an unlimited number of penalty situations on both offense and defense without any of the usual stakes.
14. How To Take Good Free Kicks And Corner Kicks
Sticking to the topic of set pieces, free kicks and corner kicks are much more commonplace than penalties, given that the former is typically awarded after a foul and the latter takes place when the ball goes out of bounds after it is touched by a defender. Both can be great ways to set up a scoring chance, but if played improperly, they can stand out as wasted opportunities that opponents can capitalize on.
For Career mode, it’s less important to focus on proper free kick and corner kick technique because AI teams typically aren’t too intuitive in defending them. That’s a different story in Dream League Live, where you no longer have the luxury of sprinting toward the opponent’s goal without being called for offside, as is often the case against AI defenses.
So when it comes to both types of kicks, we would suggest using the B button primarily, and making sure you adjust the arrow in such a way that your next closest teammate can receive the pass. Once again, don’t aim the joystick too sharply in any direction, and if you should choose to use the A or C button for a more powerful kick, make sure the defense isn’t too tight! You don’t want to waste a chance with a careless interception.
Just like penalty kicks, you can practice free kick and corner kick situations in the Training menu. You will again be given unlimited chances and can quit Training mode at any time, so make the most out of the opportunity to practice in a low-stakes situation if you can.
15. What Happens When You Get Promoted To The Next Division?
If you finished the 15-game season in Career Mode with a high enough ranking and were able to afford the cost of increasing your stadium’s capacity to the required minimum, then you can choose to move up to the next highest league/division and get promoted. Now this is completely optional, and if you believe you still have a lot of work to do in terms of your technique (or can’t afford yet to expand your stadium), you always have the choice to remain in your current division for the next season. But if you decide to take the plunge, here’s what will happen.
After the final league match, don’t expect things to end just yet after the celebration animation plays. You will still have one final match to play, and that will pit your squad against an all-star selection consisting of top players from the other clubs in your division.
This has no bearing on the league standings and does not affect your chances of promotion, so the stakes are rather low here. But beating the all-star squad could result in better rewards than usual, so it will still be in your best interests to play hard and wrap up your stint in your current league with a bang.
Once you’ve completed the all-star game, you will then be prompted and asked if you really wish to move on to the next highest division. Again, you’ll need to take stock of various factors, including your team’s talent level, your confidence in your abilities controlling your players on the field, and your finances. But higher leagues mean better rewards, so if you feel you’re ready, then by all means — choose promotion!
And that would be all for now as far as our Dream League Soccer tips and tricks are concerned. Have you discovered other tips while playing the game? Let us know in the comment area!