UPDATE: My Youth Academy Guide for FIFA 19 is now available.
Congratulations, as soon as you’ve signed your first youth player you have a Youth Academy. Here’s my rundown of your options during this phase and a few things to keep an eye on – TL;DR down below.
Once you’ve signed a player to your academy a few things that might have been vague or obscured before will now be confirmed. The first of these is the player type. In case you missed my rundown of the different player types, go and check it out here. Now you’ll know whether the player you just signed is a Winger, Attacker or Playmaker etc. I’ve put this part first because I think it’s ultimately more important than a player’s ‘true position’. As I’ve mentioned already, player type determines a player’s stats – so this is what you should be assessing when deciding where this player will play.
Unless you left a player in your scouting report for a few months, a player’s true position will have been obscured up until now. For example, a youth prospect that will be a Right Midfielder (RM) might be shown in the scouting report as potentially playing in CM, RM or RW. I can’t say this enough but don’t get too caught up on what position the game is telling you this player is, especially if your academy feels overloaded with certain positions and you’re looking for something specific. Take a look at their player type and make a more informed decision as to where they might be suited to playing.
Now you’ll be able to see a precise number for a player’s Overall Rating. This number is likely to be the biggest factor in your decision of what to do next with any given player. If your senior squad is short on players or you’re playing with a club from one of the lower leagues, you might be keen on promoting players early, especially if they have a decent Overall Rating (60+). Lower than this and you’ll either decide this player needs more time and/or training, or you’ll opt to dump him.
Another area of interest where you will finally see some actual numbers rather than just ranges. In the youth academy you’ll actually see a player’s stats represented in two ways. Firstly you’ll see a summary of their stats, grouped as follows:
- Technical Ability
Then if you want a further breakdown of a player’s stats, flick the right analog stick and you’ll see all the stats across two pages. They’ll be grouped under Physical, Mental and Technical. This makes sense but given the summary on the previous page, it seems confusing to group the stats in different ways. Seeing the actual stats won’t make a huge difference if you’re purely hunting for players with potential over 90. Although I do find a lot of people end up searching for players with specific attributes such as Free Kick Accuracy. One other thing to look out for is a players height, you’ll already see this reflected somewhat in his physical stats but I know people are very particular about player height.
While this is one of the really interesting numbers, it will still be represented as a range – just to leave you guessing. However, on the 1st of each month you’ll receive a message to say that the latest scouting report is in and you now have better information on all of the players. When this happens, the potential range will get slightly smaller – so you’ll have a better idea of that player’s true potential. This seems to be decided each month, so if you’re not against the save & reload method, you can do that if you’re unhappy with a dip in your players potential. Eventually the range will get to a point where the difference between the two numbers is six (e.g. 86-92). This seems to be the closest these numbers will get, so if you’re only keeping a player in your academy to find out their potential, don’t waste your time.
As with the monthly scouting reports, youth players can be anywhere between 15 and 18 years old. While you can sign any player to your youth academy, you can only promote (giving them a professional contract) players that are at least 16 years old. Unfortunately there is no way to view a youth players date of birth, so you can’t even plan for when that player will be eligible for promotion to the senior squad. This can also cause a bit of a problem as the youth academy has a limit of 16 players, so if you get too many players under the age of 16 you won’t be able to promote as many and you might have some tough decisions to make. The other issue to contend with on the topic of age is players deciding that they’re ready to be promoted to your senior squad. This seems too be somewhat random but is much more prevalent with 17 and 18 year old players. You’ll receive a message in your inbox that is effectively the player demanding to be offered a professional contract, you’ll have a week or so to do this. If you choose not to promote the player or you simply forget, they’ll leave your academy!
If you’ve got a large senior squad, you might have overlooked the fact that you can train youth players in the same way that you would train senior players. While you’re in the training menu you just have to scroll down through your first team players and if you have youth players in that position, they’ll be available for selection. It’s worth bearing in mind that training youth players before you’re convinced of their potential can be risky, training a youth player week in week out only to release him when his potential doesn’t quite pan out feels like a massive waste of time. The other question I get asked frequently is to do with leaving players in the youth academy even if they are eligible to be promoted. The bottom line with this is that it’s ultimately your choice but youth players will develop their physical stats a bit more if you leave them in the academy at least until they are 17.
- Youth academy players have confirmed player type, position, overall rating and individual stats
- Their potential will remain as a range of numbers but will narrow over time
- Keep an eye on a players age, you can’t promote those under 16 and 17-18 year old players will often demand you promote them
- You can train players while in the youth academy, leave them in there until they are 17 ideally so help their stats develop