FIFA 21 Career Mode Features and All You Need To Know About FIFA 2021

FIFA 21 Career Mode Features and All You Need To Know About FIFA 2021


We’re excited to take you through a deep dive into the upcoming features for Career Mode in FIFA 21!

We really wanted to put a bigger focus on the Career Mode this year and deliver on some of the key features we know you’ve all been asking for FIFA 21. In a year like no other, we all had to navigate new and unique challenges together, but this did not detract us from our goal of delivering a feature-packed Career Mode experience.

There’s a lot to cover, let’s jump right into it.


We’ve been focused on several areas of the new Career Mode experience, with the aim of giving you more control, freedom of choice, depth, diversity of play and authenticity. We want players to experience more depth in matches, transfers, and training, while also improving accessibility to Career Mode.

Interactive Match Simulation

We know that some managers want to be in control of everything. Small decisions can define important moments, decide titles, and create champions. But not all moments share the same intensity, so enabling players to choose their level of control has been a big focus for us this year.

Interactive Match Sim is a new way to experience matches in Career Mode. You can now take a step back from the traditional gameplay and focus on the bigger picture. Interactive Match Sim enables managers to adopt a more tactical and faster-pace approach to matches, making all-important decisions from the touchline and watching their impact on the pitch from a top-down view

In the Interactive Match Sim, the match plays out at twice the speed of regular gameplay. Out of play match moments are automatically skipped, ensuring that you’re always looking at meaningful events.

Instantly Jump In Or Out

The Interactive Match Sim allows you to jump straight into action at any given moment, giving you a traditional gameplay experience.

Whether you only like to intervene when your team goes down, or you prefer to jump in whenever your team is within shooting range, the Interactive Match Sim allows players to experience matches exactly how they want to. You can also jump back out of gameplay and watch the rest of the game play out in Interactive Match Sim or skip straight to the final result at any time.

Both jumping in and out of the game, and jumping to the end result are accessible at any point during the match, regardless of whether the match started as regular gameplay or in sim mode.

A New Way To Experience Match Gameplay

Whenever you’re inside the Interactive Match Sim, you see the players attempt to implement your Game Plans and have all the tools needed to reorganize them on the fly if needed. You can interact with Team Management, change Game Plans, and monitor your team’s and your opponent’s information in real-time. The following tabs are available:

  • Fitness – gives you an idea of which players might run out of Stamina first.
  • Player Ratings – summarizes which players are performing well and which players are struggling.
  • Match Stats – provides an instant snapshot of both teams’ performance.
  • Game Plan – shows the systems the teams have adopted on the field.

The Interactive Match Sim also features audio commentary and stadium atmosphere throughout the match.

New Match Launcher

You can launch each match with one of three options.

  • Play Match – load into traditional gameplay.
  • Sim Match – launch the new Interactive Match Sim.
  • Quick Sim – instantly jump to the final result of the match.

We’ve included some new information to help you make decisions before entering the match. You can now see the Probable Opponent Line-Up alongside your active Team Sheet, so that you can evaluate the fixture and make informed decisions.

We’ve also streamlined the experience by making some changes like automating the kit selection to get into matches quicker. We’ve also placed Match Settings here along with the new options that are specific to the Interactive Match Sim, like allowing you to customize the appearance of the teams on the Interactive Match Simulation radar.

Player Development

Developing a solid and diverse squad that is fit to take you to glory is an integral part of the manager experience and we are aware in the past this could rely more on transfers than squad growth. With the new Player Development feature, a fully revamped player growth system, we are now enabling you to grow your squad and make the most of it when possible.

Players can be developed and specialized in various roles based on their playing position, and the attributes that best fit your style of play improved upon. Whether you favor playing out from the back, possession, or fast counter-attacks, you can instruct your players to focus their growth in the direction that you want.

Player growth is is determined through XP accumulation. Based on how well they do in matches (their Form) and their potential to grow, they will gain more or less growth XP. That XP is distributed to their Attributes, determining Attribute growth over time. By default, all players are placed on a Balanced Plan, meaning that the XP is distributed evenly to all Attributes. When setting a custom Development Plan for each position as Active, you can choose a set of player Attributes and features to get all XP growth. Rather than “wasting” XP on Attributes you’re not interested in, the growth plans focus that XP towards:

  • Major Attributes (Attributes that generate the OVR of the player for their current position)
  • Skill Move/Weak Foot ratings (especially for attacking players)
  • Attacking/Defensive Work Rate
  • Attributes that fuel specialization (Attributes that may not contribute to the current position OVR)

Much like in real life football, the speed at which players develop depends on their age, abilities, potential, form, and playtime. Give a young player with great potential a few games and help him perform, and he will turn into a better player at an accelerated rate. Keeping him on the sidelines for too long can have the opposite effect, so it’s up to you to make the decisions that work best for your team.

Player Position Conversion

We’ve heard your feedback around wanting to have the ability to train players in other positions. As part of Player Development, players can now be converted to other positions, allowing for more freedom and control to manage your squad. Position Conversions can also give a new chance to players that fall out of favor in their original role, giving you more flexibility with each player.

Position Conversion is mechanically similar to Player Development, but the key difference is that all growth XP gets directed towards Attributes and abilities that would cater to the new position which the player is converted to.

Conversions can also impact Work Rates & Skill Move abilities of players. Converting a winger into a full back? They will need to develop their defensive Work Rate for the conversion to be complete. Moving a player to a more advanced position? They will need to improve on their Skill Moves to be able to take on defenders when going forward.

Younger players will be naturally easier to convert to other positions, and declining veteran players can be guided towards a position that helps them conserve their key Attributes better.

Player Development and Position Conversion are also available for Youth Academy players. While in the Academy, the young talents develop under good Form at all times, so their growth is sustained at an even pace.

New Active Training

With Development Plans now focused on the long term Attribute growth of your players, our new Active Training system is focused on the overall match readiness of your squad by making use of an all new player performance modifier called Match Sharpness (covered in more detail further below).

The Active Training system introduces the concept of a Training Day which can take place on any day of your calendar, with the exception of Match Days:

  • Each Training Day will feature 3 distinct training session slots, each focusing on a specific training Drill and specific players.
  • Multiple players can now participate in each Drill, depending on the Drill type, allowing you to involve up to 15 players in each Training Day.
  • Every session consists of diverse Drills and various scenarios focused on improving a specific area of the game: Defense, Passing, Dribbling, Shooting or Set Pieces.
  • Training Days will always be pre-populated with the appropriate Drills and players based on the active Team Sheet, but you can always take control and edit them should you wish to fine tune your Training Day outcome.
  • Changing your active Team Sheet will also give you the ability to instantly update the Drill and Player selection for your Training Day, allowing you to train an entirely new set of players (for example: your reserves team sheet), assuming that you haven’t consumed your training slots.

Let’s get more specific on this topic:

  • Depending on difficulty, Training Drills consume different levels of Fitness. The more difficult a Drill is, the bigger the Fitness cost, but the maximum Sharpness output will also be more substantial.
  • Getting the highest Grade, either by playing or simulating a Drill, will maximize the Sharpness output. Fitness cost will be the same regardless of the Drill result.
  • The more difficult Drills are obviously more challenging and will require more skill to obtain a high grade. This introduces an element of choice: do I want to play it safe and engage in an easy Drill that I can ace and get the maximum Sharpness from it? Or risk playing a more difficult Drill for an even bigger boost should I manage to get a high grade?
  • The Sharpness output also depends on the number of players in the Drill. More players in the Drill means more players get some Sharpness for a successful Drill. But less players in the Drill means a greater Sharpness boost per player.
  • The Drill rating is based on the number of points gathered during the training session.
  • When simulating a Drill, the grade you get will always be the highest grade that you’ve obtained when playing it. By default, Drills that you haven’t played yet will award a maximum grade of “D” when you choose to simulate them.

Player Sharpness

Sharpness is an all-new indicator that helps indicate how ready a player or a team is for a match. A sharp player will have their main Attributes boosted and will perform better on the pitch.

Sharpness ranges from 0 to 100.

  • Sharpness at 50 means the player is at average Sharpness. They will not receive a boost nor will they incur a penalty on Attributes. Think of 50 as the baseline.
  • Sharpness between 50-100 means the player is sharper than average and their Attributes will be boosted. Max sharpness (100) sets a Max Attribute boost.
  • Sharpness between 0-50 means the player is below average Sharpness and his Attributes will be reduced. Min Sharpness (0) will determine the Max Attribute reduced.

Let’s look at a Striker, for example. When their Sharpness is 100, here is an example of some of the Attribute boosts:

  • Positioning +4
  • Finishing +5
  • Ball Control +3
  • Shot Power +3

Please note that player OVR and Attribute ratings shown throughout this article do not represent final values:

Should Sharpness reach 0, the Striker’s skills will be reduced:

  • Positioning -4
  • Finishing -5
  • Ball Control -3
  • Shot Power -3

Player Feedback System

We added a Player Feedback System to the Team Management screen which aims to enable better decision making by surfacing the most relevant information to you. There are now 3 elements that impact a player’s Overall in addition to their development and age:

  • Sharpness
  • Morale
  • Playing on his preferred position

Also, be on the lookout for the new Sharpness icon present next to the existing Morale icon. This will allow you to spot the players that are in the best condition ahead of a match.

Team Schedule Planning

With Team Schedule Planning, you can now control what your players do every day of the season in order to be able to build their match Sharpness, but also to manage their Fitness levels and Morale.

Balancing Fitness, Morale, and Sharpness is key to achieving any long-term success, and this process adds a new dimension to the man-management aspect of the Career Mode experience.

You can set 3 distinct types of activities daily, each with their own clearly defined role:

  • Training Day – as covered in the Active Training section, this is focused on improving match Sharpness at the cost of Fitness and Morale (if it’s being overused). Fitness consumption is directly tied to Training Day activities, while Morale… well, no player enjoys not having any days off, and is affected if a player is trained excessively.
  • Recovery Day – this is focused on regaining the most amount of Fitness for your players, but it also decreases Sharpness the most.
  • Rest Day – regains less Fitness than Recovery Day, but has a smaller negative impact on Sharpness while also boosting Morale a little.

When going about the planning, you can either operate changes at a daily level, choosing what you want for that specific day, or use Schedule Rules to establish patterns for pre-match days, post-match days, and any other days in between matches for 2 weeks in advance.

If you’re not much of a micro-manager, don’t worry, the robust scheduling rules can be adjusted whenever you want during a season, allowing you to make high level changes without having to get involved with planning activities each day.

The Monthly Calendar will keep its existing functionalities (looking into the future months & sim to date) but will now also surface the activities set in the Weekly Schedule. From here you can also adjust Schedule Rules for your entire Season. If you want to go in depth, you will have to step into the Weekly Schedule view to plan out each day individually.

New Transfer Options & Improvements

The modern day transfer market has been going through some changes in recent years and we wanted to better reflect that in our game. Here are 3 improvements we made in this area:

  • Loan to Buy – instead of making risky transfers, you can now loan the players you desire first, with the option to make the transfers permanent when or if they live up to your expectations.
  • AI Player Swap Proposals – while Player Swaps were introduced to Career mode a while back, you might have noticed that AI was still preferring old-fashioned, cash-only transfers. The AI will now make player swap proposals with players of their own. When you attempt to buy a player from another club, they can propose a swap as well, asking for one of your players in return.
  • Contract Renewal Improvements – We’ve given the AI-controlled clubs the ability to perform contract renewals based on the players’ rank in the club, so you will usually not see the top players in a club become Free Agents. It can still happen in some cases, as top players might not always want to accept contract renewals.

Additional Improvements


As we are constantly adding features to the game, it’s becoming more important to provide information to our players about the inner workings of Career Mode. This year we are taking the first step in the direction of teaching players the purpose of each system within the mode, and how they can become more successful at using them

Expanded Competition User Interface (UI)

In previous years, we gradually introduced new UI elements that were specific to the competition you are playing in. In FIFA 21 we built on this by adding competition specific UI branding in all screens within Career Mode, so you can get fully immersed in the atmosphere of your upcoming match.

These are the competitions for which we have unique UI branding:

  • Premier League (England)
  • Ligue 1 Uber Eats (France)
  • Bundesliga (Germany)
  • LaLiga Santander (Spain)
  • MLS (USA & Canada)
  • UEFA Champions League
  • UEFA Europa League
  • CONMEBOL Libertadores
  • CONMEBOL Sudamericana

Press Conference Morale Impact

We redesigned the way press conference answers impact the whole team. For Post-Match Interviews, only the players that played in the match will be impacted by your answers that address the whole team. In Pre-Match Press Conferences, only players that are eligible to play will be impacted.

Player Morale & Player Form

We’ve received your feedback that maintaining a high Morale level for your whole squad is too easy, so we added a layer of depth to how players’ morale levels are impacted by performance. Match Ratings from their previous match or their current Form will dictate what type of answer is most beneficial to them. A player with low match performance can receive a bigger Morale Boost from an answer that motivates them, while praise can have the most impact on players that had a good performance.

Established Youth Academy

When you take on the manager of a club you no longer have to start setting up a Youth Academy by yourself. The club will already have a youth scout hired and a number of players already recruited into the Youth Academy. The number varies based on the importance of the Youth Development rating, and there’s also a chance that one of those players is going to have the potential to become one of the world’s best.

Homegrown Talent

If you pre-order* or purchase the Champions or Ultimate edition of FIFA 21, you will be entitled to a Homegrown Talent player as part of your Youth Academy. When you create your Career Mode save, one player with high potential will await you in your Youth Academy. This player will have the same nationality as the club, and news stories around his performance will call out his upbringing as a local player that grew up close to the club.

An online connection is required when you initialize a Career Mode save to check your entitlement for the Homegrown Talent player. Once your save is set-up, you don’t have to worry about your online connection and you can keep playing offline should you wish to, just as always.

Financial Takeover Setup

Within the setup of a new Career Mode save you can set the amount of cash you want your club to receive as part of financial takeover. Whether you want to give your club a whopping 500 million or start with next to nothing, you can customize your experience how you want to.

Negotiation Strictness

Some people always enjoyed the fact that we let you build a star studded team without any limits, but for others this might feel like breaking authenticity or immersion. Instead of picking one of the two approaches, we figured that the best way to go is to allow you to choose how you want to set-up your Career.

  • Strict negotiation means that:
    • Clubs won’t be interested in taking offers from a rival club.
    • Players won’t be interested to move to a lower ranked league or club that they have a grudge against.
    • Players with the One Club Player Trait won’t be interested in joining another club.
    • You won’t be able to approach players that signed to a club for less than a year.

When the negotiation is set to ‘Loose,’ all of the above limits are off so you can make these transfers without any of the above mentioned restrictions. You’ll no longer have to play for a season to be able to get the players that recently transferred in the football world.

Player Retirement

We changed the player retirement logic to trigger only if the player is in the final year of their current contract. This will allow star veteran players to push retirement further. We’ve also changed the age at which players retire to make the retirement age closer to 40.

Youth and Regen Player Personality

Fixed an issue with player personality and emotion for youth and regen players that had improper personality and emotion assignments to these players. This caused issues with how the morale of these players was impacted through Press Conferences, Post-Match Interviews and Conversations.

Board Objectives

We’ve made some changes to Board objectives to make their requirements more clear, especially around the Brand Exposure objectives. We’ve replaced the objectives around match attendance and season tickets with milestones that the fans would love to see in a club. These milestones include reaching a certain amount of wins in a season, a winning streak at home, a run of unbeaten games away, and many more. We’ve also changed the requirements to give youth players playtime to two seasons in order to make sure there’s plenty of opportunities.

Loan and Transfer Negotiations

We identified and fixed some issues that were causing the player transfer decision score to be higher than it should be when it comes to transfer offers. Here are some elements which can factor into negotiations:

  • If the player has negotiated a release clause.
  • If the club has negotiated another offer for the player or if there’s another offer for them already accepted by the club.
  • If the player is a Free Agent or if they were listed for a loan or a transfer.
  • If the offer is coming from a club in the same country where the player is playing at.
  • A comparison between the player’s nationality and the country in which the buying club is based.
  • The Overall of the buying team and the ranking of the league in which they are playing.
  • How the player’s Overall compares to the league overall.
  • The current contract length of the player and the contract length that is being offered.
  • The length of the loan (if it’s a loan).
  • How much time the player spent at their current club. The more time they spent, the more likely they are accept a move.
  • How much the player’s role differs at the new club compared to the current role. This one is extremely important as it plays a significant part in the transfer decision, with players more likely to accept a crucial role at another club if they are currently only used as rotation players.
  • If the buying club is using a formation that features a player’s preferred position. For example, a CDM won’t like playing in a club that uses a 4-4-2 formation without a designated CDM slot.

All of this information is added up into a single score that determines whether or not the player would accept the loan or the transfer. The score also influences how much the player is willing to negotiate on the desired wage.

Broadcast Improvements

We’ve made a number of improvements to our Match Broadcast experience, focusing on immersion and authenticity. Some of these improvements include:

  • Full refresh of French Ligue 1 Uber Eats and Ligue 2 BKT overlay packages
  • Iconic Atmosphere – Following the steps of Liverpool’s YNWA, Manchester City, and Real Madrid, more clubs will have their anthems implemented for 21. Some of these include:
    • Chelsea
    • Dortmund
    • AC Milan
    • Atletico Madrid
  • Authentic Goal music – This applies when playing at home and scoring. Some of these include:
    • Chelsea
    • Dortmund
    • Inter Milan
  • New localized stadium announcers – Playing in different countries across Europe will feel more authentic as the intro and specific moments in gameplay will include local flavor for the following languages:
    • French
    • Italian
    • German
    • Spanish
  • New Broadcast stories which will be picked up by commentators during matches:
    • Your managerial club debut
    • Manager of the Month Award Winner
    • Debut of a High Profile Youth Player
    • Milestones for matches played and matches won as a manager
    • Important player returning from injury
    • Player facing his previous club
  • New team TIFOs for select clubs including Manchester City.
  • New crowd card designs for select clubs.

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