FIFA 16 scouting guide

FIFA 16 scouting guide part 1: Choosing a scout

Key points:

  • You can start scouting as soon as you hire a scout
  • Youth player stats are revealed as soon as they’re in the youth academy
  • The May update no longer exists
  • A scout’s experience determines whether he’ll find the player type you’re looking for
  • A scout’s judgment rating refers to whether he’ll find the top rated youth players
  • Buying a scout will generate a replacement of roughly equal quality


Welcome to the FIFA 16 scouting guide!

The only guide you need to youth scouting in FIFA 16
New to scouting in FIFA games and wondering what it’s all about? Or maybe you’re a seasoned scout and want to know what’s changed in FIFA 16? Whatever your situation, my guides will help you become a pro at scouting the next generation of superstars.

This guide will cover the basics and how to pick a good scout, but if you want to know where to scout, how to spot the best players, how to develop your players and more, head over to my FIFA 16 scouting guide hub page – I’ll be adding more guides soon, so keep checking back.

The basics of scouting

For the first time in many years, it seems that in FIFA 16 EA have really paid attention to career mode. The new player training feature and pre-season tournaments were two additions that players have been asking for for years.

Youth scouting has not had the same major overhaul that other aspects of career mode have, but don’t worry – there are some small but hugely important tweaks to scouting in FIFA 16 that solve some major problems in previous games.

So in part 1 of my FIFA 16 scouting guide, I’m looking at one of the most important parts of scouting: choosing a good scout. How do you know which one to go for? What’s the difference between a scout’s experience and judgment? And is a scout with five stars in both really that much better than a low-rated scout?

Let’s start with the basics of scouting in FIFA 16. You start with a list of five scouts to choose from, and can hire a maximum of three. You then send these scouts around the globe looking for promising youth players, and can sign the best ones to your academy. Unlike in FIFA 15, you can send scouts on missions on the same day that you hired them in FIFA 16. Each month your scout will return with a list of players he’s found, aged between 15 and 17.

Your youth academy can hold a maximum of 16 players. It will cost you £25,000 from your transfer budget to sign each youth player, and they will have a wage of £500 per week.

FIFA 16 scouting guide

You can have a maximum of 16 players in your academy, so pick wisely

In previous FIFA games, your scouts wouldn’t immediately know how good your youth players were, and it would take several months for them to narrow down their estimation of the players’ abilities; even then, you’d only get a rough outline of each player’s OVR rating.

In FIFA 16, however, that’s all changed. As soon as you sign a player to your academy, you can see his exact OVR and all of his stats (you still only get a rough estimation of his potential, though). This is a fantastic development over previous FIFA games, as it means you instantly know how good your youth players are, what their positions are and whether it’s worth keeping hold of them. No more guesswork, as this takes a lot of the pain out of the youth academy.

However, you need to be careful – youth players can threaten to quit the academy unless you offer them a first team contract, although they will not do this within the first three months of being signed to the academy. If you get an email saying a player is threatening to quit, you’ll have around 7 days to promote him or you’ll lose him forever.

FIFA 16 scouting guide

You can now see all your youth players’ stats as soon as you sign them

The May update – no longer in FIFA 16

Once you think your players are good enough, you can promote them to the first team. However, in another very important development to scouting in FIFA 16, there is no longer a May update.

In the past, your youth players would only grow once per month – on 1st May. This meant that if they quit the academy before 1st May, you’d lose an entire year’s worth of growth. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, as youth players now grow month-to-month just like first team players. Keep checking back, because I’ll be looking at this in much more depth in a future part of my FIFA 16 scouting guide.

Experience vs judgment

When it comes to picking a scout, there are two different criteria on which they are rated: experience and judgment. These can have a huge impact on the quality and quantity of youth players your scout discovers.

Experience determines a number of things. First, it determines how many players your scout will find per report. This is something I didn’t realise in previous FIFA scouting guides I’ve written, but it is very important as it can increase your chances of finding good players. Here’s the breakdown of how many players each quality of scout will find per report:

  • Scouts with 1 star in experience will return 1-3 new players per report
  • Scouts with 2 stars in experience will return 2-4 new players per report
  • Scouts with 3 stars in experience will return 2-5 new players per report
  • Scouts with 4 stars in experience will return 3-5 new players per report
  • Scouts with 5 stars in experience will return 4-6 new players per report

So the better the scout, the more players you’ll have to choose from on each report – and thus the greater the chance that a top notch platinum player will be among them.

Secondly, experience determines how likely the scout is to find the type of player you’re searching for. So if you want a goalkeeper, a scout with high experience is unlikely to bring back loads of wingers.

FIFA 16 scouting guide

Judgment is more valuable in a scout than experience, but both are important

If your scout can’t find the player type you’re after, he’ll find an alternative player type. The higher the choice (‘4th choice’ is the highest), the further from the player type you were looking for. The following table shows how likely each scout rating is to find the player type you’re after:

ExperienceExact match?Chance
5 starsYes75%
5 stars2nd choice12%
5 stars3rd choice10%
5 stars4th choice3%
4 starsYes65%
4 stars2nd choice20%
4 stars3rd choice10%
4 stars4th choice5%
3 starsYes55%
3 stars2nd choice25%
3 stars3rd choice15%
3 stars4th choice10%
2 starsYes45%
2 stars2nd choice25%
2 stars3rd choice15%
2 stars4th choice15%
1 starYes35%
1 star2nd choice30%
1 star3rd choice20%
1 star4th choice15%

So a scout with 1 star in experience only has a 35% chance of finding the player type you’re after, and a 65% chance of finding one of three alternative player types. In contrast, a scout with 5 stars in experience has a reassuring 75% chance of finding the player type you’re after, and just a 25% chance of finding another player type.

Judgment, on the other hand, determines the quality of players on your reports. The higher a scout’s judgment, the better chance he has of finding the best players

JudgmentPlayer qualityChance
5 starsPlatinum6%
5 starsGold8%
5 starsSilver63%
5 starsBronze23%
4 starsPlatinum4%
4 starsGold6%
4 starsSilver50%
4 starsBronze40%
3 starsPlatinum3%
3 starsGold4%
3 starsSilver33%
3 starsBronze60%
2 starsPlatinum2%
2 starsGold3%
2 starsSilver25%
2 starsBronze70%
1 starPlatinum1%
1 starGold2%
1 starSilver15%
1 starBronze82%

What this table tells us that it is difficult for good and bad scouts alike to find platinum (tier 1) players. A scout with 1 star in judgment has a 1% chance of finding a platinum player, but a scout with 5 stars in judgment only has a 6% chance.

FIFA 16 scouting guide

5 star scouts are more affordable in FIFA 16 and definitely worth hiring

Where the differences lie is in the lower rated (silver and bronze) players. A scout with 1 star in judgment has an 82% chance of finding bronze players, while a scout with 5 stars in judgment only has a 23% chance.

What are bronze players? What are platinum players? Find out below

How much does scouting cost?

There are three tiers of scout – low, medium and high:

  • A low level scout will have between 1 and 2 stars in judgment and experience. He will cost between £14,000 and £72,000
  • A medium level scout will have between 2 and 3 stars in judgment and experience. He will cost between £72,000 and £324,000
  • A high level scout will have between 3 and 5 stars in judgment and experience. He will cost between £324,000 and £2,880,000. That’s significantly lower than in FIFA 15, when a top level scout would cost you £7,650,000

In these calculations, judgment is ranked more highly than experience. For example, a scout with 3 stars in judgment and 2 in experience will cost £245,000, whereas the reverse costs £151,000.

FIFA 16 scouting tips

The length of a scouting trip will affect its price

Sending a scout to different places will cost you different amounts based on how good your scout is. For example, sending a scout on a scouting trip to England will cost the following amounts based on your scout’s rating:

  • A scout with 5 stars in judgment and experience (i.e. a 5*/5* scout)
    • 3 months: £43,000
    • 6 months: £86,000
    • 9 months: £130,000
  • 3*/3* scout
    • 3 months: £35,000
    • 6 months: £69,000
    • 9 months: £104,000
  • 1*/1* scout
    • 3 months: £26,000
    • 6 months: £52,000
    • 9 months: £78,000

The length of trip you send your scout on will obviously depend on your budget, but interestingly there is not a huge amount of difference in the scouting costs between a 1*/1* scout and a 5*/5* one. So if you can afford the initial cost of hiring the scout, you’re over a major hurdle and should be able to afford the scouting trips.

Which scouts find the best players?

Youth players come in four tiers in terms of their potential: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Each tier represents a different potential range:

  • Bronze: 55-80 potential
  • Silver: 60-85 potential
  • Gold: 65-90 potential
  • Platinum: 75-95 potential

This shows that a bronze player can have a maximum unmodified (more on this below) potential of 80. Likewise if you find a platinum player on your scouting report, he will have a potential between 75 and 95. By this I mean his actual potential – this will be hidden, and instead you will see a potential range. For example, if his actual potential is 80, his potential range may say 75-85.

FIFA 16 scouting guide

1 star scouts will mostly find low-rated players

However, there is also a potential modifier of +/- 10. So this means that even a bronze player could theoretically get his potential boosted up to 90 by the modifier – so the age-old adage that even the worst scouts can find world class players still rings true.
If we recall the scout judgment table from earlier, scouts with 1 star in judgment only have a 1% chance of finding platinum players and an 82% chance of finding bronze players. Given that scouts with 5 stars in judgment have a higher chance of finding platinum players, it’s worth investing in a five star scout if you can afford it – although low-rated scouts can still find top players, but of course you’ll just have to work harder to find them.

But picking a good scout isn’t just about the quality of players they will find – it’s also about the quantity. As we noted earlier, higher rated scouts bring back more players per report, giving you better odds of finding a real gem among them. So having a top quality scout brings a double advantage over a lower-rated equivalent, making it absolutely worth hiring a better one if you can afford it.

FIFA 16 scouting guide

Don’t want any of these scouts? Sim forward a week and they will have changed

Scouts change every seven days. So if your season starts on a Wednesday, the pool of available scouts to choose from will change on the following Tuesday. If you start on a Sunday, the scouts will change on the next Saturday. If the initial batch of scouts you get to choose from is no good, just wait a week and you’ll have a new selection to choose from.

However, there is a quicker way of getting better scouts – hiring them. What I mean by that is every time you hire a scout, they are replaced by another one. But not just any old scout – in most cases they are replaced by one roughly as good as the one you just hired, and there is a 25% chance that a scout you hire will be replaced by one of a higher level. So if you’ve got enough money, this is a quick way to rack up lots of good scouts in a very short amount of time.

Thanks for reading part one of the FIFA 16 scouting guide. If you have any thoughts on this or the YouTube video, make sure you let me know in the comments below.

Make sure you connect with me on social media. I’ve just launched the FIFA Scouting Tips YouTube channel, and you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter for all the latest updates.

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Comments 23

  1. I just started a career, so I check out the youth scouts and the best is a 5 star exp but 3 judgement in my other career im further and the highest is 4/4, so does the time playing the career affect the different scouts?

  2. Sadly this does not apply for Xbox 360 and PS3 games. These games are EXACTLY the same as FIFA 15, except for the game name and the color of menus.

    1. Post

      Real shame to hear that, it seems like they’re just abandoning the 360/PS3 versions more or less. I take it you’re getting the weekly squad updates though?

      1. Yeah, that’s really a shame from EA. The weekly squad updates are still up, at least.
        Well, as I’m not buying the Xbox One for a while, I guess I will just stop giving my money to EA in the next years. That’s really a pity, as I’m a big fan of the FIFA franchise (have them all since 1999).

  3. In addition to youth players demanding contracts or wanting out, I have actually lost two youth players with no warning. Both were 17 and neither had requested a contract; I just got an email saying they had signed for someone else. One had been in my academy for probably 7 months, and the other closer to 5. Both occurrences happened when another youth player had requested a contract and was in negotiations, so I don’t know if they just glitched or if the system couldn’t/wouldn’t send 2 requests at once. I liked the realism of it so I let it run with one of them, but the other was someone I had put some training time into so I reloaded and offered him a contract which he accepted immediately…

  4. Hi Alex, thanks for this article.

    Could you tell me wether those changes in youth academy management (actual OVR shown as soon as the young player is recruited, no more may update …) only concern the PS4/XB One versions (like other changes in career mode such as pre-season tournaments or individual trainings) or are they common to all the game versions ?

    1. Post

      I suspect it’s PS4/Xbox One/PC only, but as I don’t have the PS3/Xbox 360 version I can’t confirm for sure. Most new changes like this seem to be next gen only.

  5. solid article! Is there anyway to determine what the potential modifier will be? Any idea what controls the possible +/- 10 potential to all the players or is it purely a random number between -10/+10 that is assigned to their potential growth when the game creates them? Thanks man

    1. Post

      Thanks 🙂 the modifier seems to be totally random and there’s no way of knowing whether a player has been affected by it. Whenever you get a new report there’s a possibility that one player on it has been affected by the modifier, but you can’t tell.

  6. Does the scouting duration (3-6-9 months) affect the quality of players to be found ? Kudos to your fifascouting site as it has become a key ingredient to playing fifa career mode. TY.

    1. Post
  7. Fantastic article! Very much looking forward to your upcoming posts on this topic. I’ve played career mode countless times but never touched the youth academy… with this year’s changes it looks exciting.

    1. Post
  8. Hey Alex, this is great as usual.
    I have a few things to add from my experience so far from my Plymouth Argyle career, but I’ll add them to the relevant articles when you release em, you prob know them already, wouldn’t want to spoil it.

    But as for choosing a scout, I currently have 3, 2*/3* scouts and I’m getting an obscene amount of platinum players. Pretty much 1 every scout report, so 3 a month, with the majority of the rest being gold, with the odd silver and bronze. And I’ve just sent them out to find anything. I’m on the Sep 21 update, might just be bugged, or there could be something you with experience boosting your chance to find platinum players. Not sure, its just unusually high. Maybe a 5*/5* isnt as important as previous fifa’s.

    Anyways good work as usual, thanks from Aus, keep it up

    1. Another thing I’d add about the may update, or lack of it, is that youth players tend to only grow an overall once every couple of months, so they grow much less in a year than they did with the may update, where they could grow anywhere from 10 to 20 overall.
      This leads you to using player training on youth however you run the risk of stunting growth. In previous Fifa’s, promoting before the may update led to youth players growing physically, while most players who had the may update didnt grow physically at all. This is because physical stats effect players overall, and the may update grew technical stats so high that there was no room for physical stats to grow.
      Now that your training youth players, if your train there technical stats too high you can stunt there growth physically, just like the may update did. This can still happen if you train your players AFTER promoting them, so take care not to train your youth to much.
      What I’ve found so far as a general rule of thumb
      -Don’t train 15 yr olds over 55 overall
      -Don’t train 16 yr olds over 60 overall
      -Don’t train 17yr olds over 65 overall
      This way, when your promoting a player at 16, you can see there potential status (this still requires at least 60 overall to display), but ensures you don’t stunt your players physical growth by overpowering there technical stats.
      There isn’t a strict rule, for example I trained a 90-94 potential 17year old to 68 overall and he seems to be fine, but if you want to be safe until you know more about the system, its a good way to go, with maybe experimenting with players you don’t really need, for example I have 3 right backs in my academy and I only need 1, so I’m training 2 of them higher to see how they go

      1. Post

        Great work, thanks for finding all that out. How long did it take you to train that 17 year old up to 68 OVR? What was his OVR when he entered your academy?

        Let me know how the training of the two right backs goes, it’d be interesting to know 🙂

        1. To train him to 68 took 2-3 months using all the training slots just for him. I think he started around 58 or 59, not sure, he wasn’t 60 yet for sure.
          But I did all the training manually to ensure A’s every time, which is a real drag and pretty certain most people wouldn’t do. Most people I know sim the training most times.
          The RB project has fallen through unfortunately. All 3 requested contracts within a couple of months of each other, and then my first team LM got injured and I had to sign a new one up and train him. By the time I could get back to the RB’s they were 18 and in the low 50’s, so I sold them off.

          The challenge in scouting this year seems to be which players to keep and which to ditch. Usually I would let all youth hit the may update, and then sign them and keep those with good potentials and overall. Now, you need to choose which players you want to keep and train them, otherwise they reach an age where there just not worth training anymore. No point signing a 50 rated 18 year old that you haven’t had time to train, when you can get a new 16 year old at 50 overall and train them.

          It would be really useful if they had created a separate training for youth. So you can sign players in the low 60’s and train them with the first team, and have your 40-50 overall youth in the academy, training until they get good enough to sign.
          It would be all solved with the youth league we’ve been asking for but doesn’t seem EA are interested.

          I’ll let you know about any future tests I run and the results.

  9. Great guide, I’ve been following you for a long, long time now 🙂

    I have a question – how do you determine if player is bronze, silver, platinium etc? I mean I know you can see their potential, but is it also indicated by a colour somewhere or something like that?

    1. Post

      It’s not, it’s purely an internal method that the game uses to produce scouted players. But it’s useful to know because it shows the type of quality each scout will find – low rated scouts are more likely to find low rated (i.e. bronze) players than platinum players, but they can still find amazing players.

  10. Thank you very much for this in-depth article. This will be very helpful.

    If the scouts still change when you hire them then probably the old trick from FIFA15 still works.
    – Save your game right at the beginning of career mode
    – Go to the scout screen and look at the best scout available
    – If he’s already 5*/5* great but if not hire the best scout (and release him asap) until you find a 5*/5* (if you’re on a tight budget you better only hire 1 or 2 and then reload the the save and try again)
    – Once you find one do not!!! hire the 5*/5* scout right away but rather save your game
    – After saving you can hire the 5*/5*
    – If his replacement is not a 5*/5* you can either try hiring the replacement over and over again until you find another 5*/5* scout or just re-load your latest save game and do so until the replacement is the second 5*/5* scout
    – Once again before hiring the second scout save the game
    – Do the same trick once again until you find the third 5*/5* scout which you can then hire straight away

    This way you’ll have all three 5*/5* scouts from day 1 in your career mode and even better at the lowest possible price (thanks to the reloading).
    All it takes is about 5-10 minutes and a bit of luck.

  11. Great article. Love the insight. Do you have any idea what causes the potential modifier to increase or decrease? Is it something we can control?

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