Signing a Player to the Youth Academy
Right, lets get the obvious thing out of the way. Once you’ve found yourself a decent youth prospect, go into their menu and sign the player. They’ll automatically be added to your youth academy and be on a (usually insignificant) weekly wage of £425.
This is the stage where things become a bit clearer in the youth scouting process. A player’s position might have become apparent if you allowed him to be scouted over a few months. However, in most cases you’ll have snapped him up quickly without finding out his primary position. Either way, once you’ve recruited a player to your youth academy, you’ll know exactly which position they play.
My advice with this is not to obsess about the position that is listed on a player’s bio. The best way to figure out a player’s best position? Look at his player type and attributes. Or to make it even easier, put their stats into the position calculator.
Another key piece of information that will now be available to you. This will directly impact whether you’ll promote this player or not. This is especially true if you’re operating with a small squad or going through an injury crisis. Whether you promote a player from the youth academy will largely depend on the level of your team. For example, a 65 rated youngster is much more useful to a lower level club. Players with a lower rating should be tolerated if they are still young as they have more time to grow. You can also use training to improve them.
This is really what you’ll be looking for. Unfortunately it will still be represented by a range that will change over time. You’ll receive an update at the start of each month on the players in your youth academy. Each time this happens, the range that is used to represent a player’s potential will shrink. Little by little, the range becomes more accurate.
Obviously you’ll be hoping that only the bottom end of the range gets shaved off, rather than the top. If this isn’t the case, you can of course do the save and reload trick – potential doesn’t seem to be a fixed value, but the range seems to be decided at the start of each month. Saving and reloading is a good (but controversial) way of guaranteeing your players have high potential. However, its much harder to do with multiple players in your academy as some will go up, some will go down.
After a number of months, the potential range will be much smaller and eventually there will only be six points in difference between the minimum and maximum numbers. By this time you should have a good idea if you’re going to promote the player or not.
Once a player joins your academy, their player type will be confirmed, if it wasn’t already. This will be really important to you if you’re aiming for a player of a specific type or position. I’ve already mentioned this but player type tends to affect a player’s stats more than anything else.
This comes up in the monthly scouting reports but it’s not as important there so I’ve saved it for this part. Youth players can be as young as 15 and as old as 18. You can sign anyone to your youth academy regardless of their age, but you can’t promote someone to the senior squad until they are 16 years old. Annoyingly, the game doesn’t show you a player’s date of birth at this point, so you can’t plan for when players will be eligible for a professional contract.
My tip to you guys would be to keep a good balance of ages in your youth academy. Plenty of people encounter a problem where their academy is full of 15 year olds they don’t want to lose but can’t promote. This is a problem when you hit the 16 player limit in the academy and can’t sign anymore players. I’ve been in this situation several times, it’s painful to miss out on an exciting prospect.
Another problem worth mentioning around player age is players demanding to be promoted. Unsurprisingly, this is much more common with 17 and 18 year old players. When this happens, you’ll receive an email to let you know. At this point you’ve got 7 days to offer them a professional contract or they’ll quit your academy and you’ll never see them again.
Training Players in the Youth Academy
When training was first introduced to career mode, not everybody realised that you could also train your youth players. This was because they’re below your senior squad players so don’t always get seen.
First of all I want to share one tip with you, this menu is useful for assessing players. Players with ‘high growth potential’ will have a green upwards graph line symbol on their tile. Don’t base everything on this but it’s a good final confirmation if you’re unsure about a player.
I wanted to cover training more in a later section but I get asked about it a lot. In my opinion, you shouldn’t train your players while they are in the academy. First of all, you might not even keep a player, so potentially wasting a training session on them is risky. Secondly, and more importantly, it’s seems to be better to let youth players develop naturally for a few years. Doing a lot of training seems to take up their ‘growth points’, and as a result stunts the growth of their physical stats – read more about that here.
- Once a player has joined your youth academy, you’ll have a definitive idea of their position, player type overall rating and stats.
- Their potential is still something of a mystery, but a min-max range will give you some idea. This will become more accurate as months go by.
- Age is an important consideration, 17-18 year olds will expect professional contracts but 15 year olds can’t be promoted.
- Use the training screen as a final check for high growth players but don’t bother training them yet.