FIFA 20 career mode features: 11 changes that could restore it to its heyday

The FIFA 19 career mode is stagnant. Ultimate Team gets a facelift every year and constant attention throughout the season, yet EA consistently fails to improve career mode in any meaningful sense. Right now, it’s basically the same as it was five years ago – but that won’t be the case if the mega-publisher takes note of our FIFA 20 career mode features wishlist.

Taking your favourite team of minnows to Champions League glory in FIFA 19 remains fun, but no longer feels surprising, or special. Fixing the mode requires more than a new lick of white paint: EA needs to add major new features, get rid of the tired ones, and rework those that aren’t up to scratch.

We, like many of you, are hoping that next season will be the year this once-colossal behemoth finally gets the love it deserves. With that in mind, below are 11 FIFA 20 career mode features that would make it an essential play throughout the 2019-20 season.

1. Get rid of mini-game training

Training your players in FIFA is mind-numbing, and forces you to play the same mini games every week. If you can’t stand the tedium you can always sim these sessions, but that feels like pot luck because it assigns a training grade to your players at random. EA must ditch this entirely and replace it with a hands-off system in which you pick a training style for each player, based on how you want them to play. Want your young CAM to get better at shooting? Set their schedule at the start of the season and watch his stats gradually grow.

While we’re at it, let’s make it possible to retrain player positions so you can convert your Bale-like left back into a lightning winger. Skill moves and weak foot ability, which you currently can’t improve, should also be on the table. Boosting player stats should still be driven by their performance in matches, but it’d be nice to have this automated system running in the background.

2. New youth leagues

Young players with bags of potential are awkward to handle in FIFA 19. A promising centre-mid with a 65 rating isn’t going to do well in your starting 11, so you might send them out on loan - but you lose control over their development and playtime. You can keep players in your youth squad, too, but you can’t interact with them or give them minutes in matches that don’t matter.

New youth leagues, or even reserve leagues, would solve the problem. Your youngsters could compete over a season in simmed matches, giving them experience on the pitch. Plus, you’d be able to check out their stats and performances, which would be a natural way of measuring their progress and potential. 

3. Flexible player potential ratings

In FIFA 19, every player has a potential rating in addition to their current rating. Even though it’s often displayed as a range, it’s really just one set number, although it’s possible to slightly overshoot or undershoot that mark. We’d prefer it if player potential was a wide, fluid range, shifting in response to player performance. A young striker with a potential of 90 who scores two goals a season in La Liga should not improve more than one that scores 20 goals yet has a potential of 80. Having a wide range would make career mode feel more responsive, and make player development more unpredictable.  

4. Stadium and facility upgrades

Stadiums don’t expand in FIFA 19, no matter how high you climb. Take a League Two side to the Premier League and you’ll still only pull in 5,000 fans when Man City roll into town, which looks ridiculous. In FIFA 20, we’d love to be able to build out and customise our stadiums as our team’s reputation grows, spending cash we’ve earned during the season.

But why stop at stadiums? Training facilities and youth set-ups are other obvious investment targets, and perhaps spending money on them could grant you bonuses. Splurging on new equipment might make your players improve faster, for example.

5. No more fixture congestion

This could be an easy win for EA in terms of FIFA 20 career mode features. Currently, the game’s fixture schedule doesn’t know how to handle multiple competitions at once, which can leave you playing two games in two days, followed by a 10-day break. EA needs to either build a better algorithm, or give you the ability to request fixture changes when your calendar gets packed. 

6. More involved match sims

FIFA 19’s simulated matches are awful. You’re meant to be the manager, but you can’t sub players or change tactics if you’re behind, or even jump into the action if your team has lost the plot, as you can do in other EA games like Madden 19. We’d like to see those options added in for FIFA 20, alongside the ability to preset tactics before you sim. This could be a simple rule-and-response system, switching to a 4-3-3 if your team goes behind by two goals, for instance. 

7. Dynamic storylines that emerge over the season

FIFA 19’s attempts to create drama off the pitch feel half-baked. Press conferences are dull, player requests constantly repeat themselves, and there’s no way for you as a manager to stamp your personality on your squad.

We’d love to see some of the story-telling effort EA has put into The Journey make its way to career mode. If a striker is missing sitter after sitter, let’s see a cutscene where they come into your office for a pep talk. When a former player returns for a grudge match, let’s see that reflected during match coverage. If your fiery star player isn’t happy with the supporting cast, let’s hear about it in the press.

8. Freshen up the menus

Menus within FIFA 19 career mode are archaic – and a fair few Youtubers and Twitter fans have had a crack at coming up with new skins for this once-great mode. Below is our favourite, from @dumidrexel.

It’s a wonder this was ever removed from the series - the last time it made an appearance was FIFA 13 - because looking back over your best career moments is every bit as satisfying as a last-minute winner. 

When our favourite veteran striker is retiring, we’d love to be able to pull up footage of their top 10 goals from their time at the club. All it’d take is a system where you can clip and save any replay during a match, storing it in a persistent library. 

10. Make the best teams scary

It’s frustrating to get excited about a trip to Anfield only to see that Liverpool aren’t playing their best side. It happens all the time, and some have speculated that it’s because the CPU picks players based on form rather than rating. Regardless, it makes these matches feel anticlimactic.

That may also be the reason the big sides regularly slip down the table, and we’ve spotted Chelsea and Man City in the relegation zone more than once. The big sides should feel a class apart, which would make cracking the top of the table feel a bigger achievement. 

11. Managers on the move

We like seeing big players flit between clubs in career mode because it gives the impression that there’s life outside of your own squad. Managers, however, are part of the furniture at their club. They’re not hired or fired, and they don’t have designs on greener pastures when they’re dominating the lower leagues. Allowing managers to move between clubs would make career mode feel even more alive.

FIFA 20 is expected to be announced this summer and released in September. For those still hooked on this year’s game, be sure to check out our FIFA 19 career mode guide