Often neglected by EA in favor of online options and the expansion of players and modes within Ultimate Team (because of its growth and profit potential), the Career mode in FIFA has languished for years. This year the mode has seen probably the most attention is has in a long time, but it’s still a pale comparison to online options, and yet there is still a large number of players that stay loyal to it as they look to take their team to the top.
While many players will have their own methods when it comes to Career Mode, there are still some things that are worth taking note of when starting your saves in this year’s version of the game. Here are our five top tips for getting the most out of your career mode save.
Don’t bother with Player Career
FIFA has for years now offered the option for you to take on the role of a player on a team, or create a young and hungry midfield or forward player to grow and improve into a superstar. But if there’s one mode in the game that’s half-baked, it’s this one. Progression is slow; you have no control over many aspects of both your career and the team. Frankly, the AI-controlled players are awful, never getting into good spaces for you to make a move, have no sense of positional play and are completely unreliable when it comes to passing to set you up for a chance, or finishing chances that you’ve set up.
It’s a complete waste of a mode that once had the potential to be excellent, but neglect has left it in tatters. Play as a manager instead.
Only invest in the best
This might seem like an obvious tip, but when you’re in a budget constriction, the temptation is to use funds on transfers and contract renewals first, and on staff later. Not so much an issue for the big clubs like Manchester City or Real Madrid as you’ll be able to fill out your staff list with the best and use the pocket change to buy Kylian Mbappe. However, teams on tighter purse strings may have to choose between purchasing a particular player and getting the best staff member available.
You absolutely should resist the temptation to go for the budget staffing option, especially when it comes to Youth Staff. Even in a tiny club, getting the best possible youth staff member, your money can afford over a player is often the most efficient way of filling out your clubs reserve of talented young players. Likewise, with scouts, better ones will provide faster information and for more players at once. This is particularly useful if a big bid comes in for one of your players close to the closing of a transfer window and you need a worthy replacement. This money might now mean that you can’t buy the player that you wanted, but it means that the foundations are there for the best possible future for the club, especially if you pick up multiple 90+ potential players from your academy in season 1.
Train top players from your academy instead of buying
It’s realistic to believe that if you’re going to play a team that is in the much lower leagues of football, signings are going to be limited to the occasional marquee signing along with either free transfers or lower-rated players. So instead, don’t bother signing anyone. Put your available budget into Youth Scouting and bring in high-quality youngsters. Even if you don’t get a bunch of top potential players, they will all be worth a fair amount of cash even very young. Assuming that you can find clubs to shift them all, young players will fetch a reasonably nice price for say an English Division 2 club, ready to spend later down the line if you need it.
As budgets usually roll over to the next season, you don’t need to be afraid of lost cash too as it will be available in the following season.
…unless you’re using a top division club
In previous years, training kids from your academy has been a lengthy but worthwhile process as it means that on a technical level, where training is most effective, they usually turn out very well. Scoring goals and playing passes are easy. What’s not so great is player intelligence. Say you trained a player in the CAM position for the competition to Christian Eriksen. On a technical level, training the player to be as good is relatively easy, but the training methods that the game has available doesn’t allow you to improve mentals and some physicals very easily, if at all. Your player may be able to stroke the ball around the park-like Eriksen, but being in the right position to receive the ball, or having the vision and composure to pull it off regularly is far less. While this is not so much an issue in the lower leagues, it makes a big difference at the top.
Generated players also seem to have a slight sluggishness about them. If you train a winger to full physical stats and ball skills, and then compare him while playing a game to Raheem Sterling on the same OVR level, the latter will almost certainly feel much better to control.
For this reason, when you’re playing like a top club, buying real players with high potential is the smarter bet as generally speaking, after further development, they usually don’t have this sluggishness or the (seeming) mental defect to their game. The only position where this doesn’t matter so much is Goalkeepers as they can be trained in every attribute fairly easily.
This won’t necessarily be for everyone, as there will be people who play FIFA to relax and have a fun and easy game with their team, taking them to the top. But if you have even a small amount of competitiveness to your game, try starting at a higher difficulty level than you did last year.
The CPU AI in the last few years has improved slightly, as teams seem to have developed a somewhat more styled game to their squads (so you won’t see Crystal Palace playing Tiki-Taka and holding 70% possession against Chelsea), so it less frustrating to play against a higher level opponent. If you played it on Professional last year and found it challenging, go one step up and play on World Class. You might lose a few games throughout the season, but challenging yourself is the best way to improve and learn new ways of play. This will even help you when playing online when typically most players tend to play an ultra-aggressive attacking or counter-attacking style. Possession breeds frustration and causes them to make mistakes that you can exploit, for example. Career mode can help you hone this new style of play.