Scouting is fundamental to building and maintaining a strong squad, from the senior squad down to the youth squad. It can help you to beat your rivals to the best available players, particularly emerging hot prospects that do not yet have a high reputation. Having an extensive scouting network and using it effectively is therefore of great importance.
1. Your Scouting Network
1.1. Staff Scouting Knowledge
Each individual staff member, including yourself, has a scouting knowledge level for one or more nations. A staff member has a 100% knowledge level for his own home nation (except physios, who have only 10%) and can also build up knowledge levels for other nations by:
Scouting a nation as part of a scouting assignment - This applies to scouts only. A scout's knowledge level for a nation improves as he spends time scouting that nation. However, his knowledge levels for previously scouted nations also gradually decrease.
Having favoured personnel from a particular nation - A staff member has a higher knowledge level for the home nation of one of his favoured personnel.
A staff member's scouting knowledge levels are shown on his staff profile and his favoured personnel are shown on the Information section of his Overview tab.
1.2. Club Scouting Knowledge
Your club's scouting knowledge is comprised of the knowledge levels of all of the sources in your scouting network. The sources in your scouting network include you and all of your staff, along with all of your club's affiliate clubs and senior affiliates.
The knowledge level your club has for an individual nation is equal to the knowledge level for that nation of the best source; the best source being the source with the highest knowledge level for the nation.
The knowledge level you club has in a geographical region is based on the combined knowledge levels it has for the nations in that region.
The Knowledge tab of the Scouting screen shows your club's knowledge level for each region and nation. The best source for each nation is shown next to the knowledge level for that nation.
1.3. The Effects of Scouting Knowledge
Your club's scouting knowledge determines how many players you can view and filter on the All Known Players tab of the Scouting screen, and also how many staff you can view and filter on the Staff Search screen. The higher your club's knowledge level for a nation, the more lower reputation players and staff from that nation you can view. Your club's scouting knowledge also affects knowledge levels for individual players, as explained below.
An individual scout's knowledge level for a particular nation affects how many players he is able to find when scouting that nation and how much time it takes him to complete his assignment. The higher his knowledge level, the more players he will find and the more quickly he will complete his assignment. A scout with a 100% knowledge level for a nation will finish an assignment to that nation after a very short period of time as he does not need to stay there to continue to build his knowledge level for the nation.
1.4. Building an Effective Scouting Network
It is highly advisable to try to build and maintain a scouting network with knowledge in a wide variety of nations, subject to the scouting range imposed by your club's board.
In particular, it is recommended that you give greater priority to those nations that are more important for your club. More important nations include:
Nations that are in the region of your club - Ideally, you want to beat the competition from rival clubs for players in your region. Also, there are likely to be less restrictive regulations on signing such players, such as work permit rules, while such players are more likely to settle well at your club and want to stay there in the long term.
Nations in your club's continent with high reputation divisions - Clubs in these nations are more likely to produce players with good ability and potential through their youth systems, develop players better and attract higher quality established players. In Europe, such nations include England, Germany, Italy and Spain.
To view divisions in order of reputation click the world icon, select the tab for you continent, click Profile and then select the Leagues section of the Competitions tab.
Nations that regularly produce a large number of young players with good ability and potential - Having high knowledge levels for these nations in particular can help you to sign talented players before they establish themselves. Examples of nations with good youth production are provided below.
In order to build and maintain the knowledge of your scouting network you can:
Sign scouts, and preferably other backroom staff, with good knowledge levels for those more important nations that your club does not already have good knowledge levels for.
Send scouts on assignments in those nations (particularly more important nations) for which your club has low or no knowledge levels, if possible - However, you should be careful how you assign your scouts. Building up knowledge in a wide variety of nations, including less important nations, can be useful, but you should ensure that the knowledge of each scout remains manageable and that scouts refresh lost knowledge where necessary, especially knowledge lost in more important nations.
The Scouting Assignments guide provides more advice on how to set up scouting assignments.
Request a new affiliate club or senior affiliate from your club's board - An ideal affiliate would be one based in a nation that regularly produces a large number of good players.
In addition to building and maintaining the knowledge of your network, you should sign scouts of the highest quality that you can. You should try to sign scouts with good ratings in those attributes discussed in the Scouts guide. In particular, Judging Player Ability and Judging Player Potential are the most important attributes.
2. Player Knowledge Levels
If you have attribute masking enabled in your game then your club also has a player knowledge level for each individual player who is not at your club. This affects how much information about a player you can view. The player knowledge level for a player can be seen on the Scout Report section of his Reports tab.
You can disable attribute masking when starting a new game by ticking the Disable Player Attribute Masking checkbox. Otherwise, attribute masking is enabled. With attribute masking enabled, attribute ratings for players outside your club are represented as attribute ranges in cases where the actual rating is not known.
Your club's player knowledge level for a player affects the following:
Attribute ranges - The higher the player knowledge level, the smaller the attribute ranges that are used to represent the player's attributes. With a sufficiently high player knowledge level all attribute ratings are known.
Ability star ratings - The higher the player knowledge level, the less black stars are included in the player's ability star ratings given in a scout report* for the player. Black stars represent uncertainty regarding ability and are explained in the Player Ability & Performance guide. Potential ability may remain uncertain for young players even where the player knowledge level is 100% or the player is at your club. Ability star ratings for scouted players are discussed in the Scout Reports guide.
Pros and cons - The higher the player knowledge level, the more pros and cons are given in a scout report* for the player. You can check which pros and cons have not yet been assessed for a player by hovering over the areas yet to assess button at the top of the report. Pros and cons for scouted players are discussed in the Scout Reports guide.
Roles - The higher the player knowledge level, the more roles the player is given ability star ratings for in a scout report* for the player.
*The information on a scout report is static, as explained in the Scout Reports guide, and is based on what the player knowledge level for the player was immediately following the report.
Position familiarity - The higher the player knowledge level, the more position familiarity information you can see for positions where the player's familiarity is less than natural.
Preferred moves - A certain player knowledge level is required to see the player's preferred moves.
Plans - A certain player knowledge level is required to see the player's short-term plans and long-term plans on the Information section of his Overview tab.
Happiness - A certain player knowledge level is required to see details of the player's happiness on the Information section of his Overview tab.
Games Played in Position - A certain player knowledge level is required to see details of the player's stats in the Games Played in Position panel on the Information section of his Overview tab.
Player contract information - A certain player knowledge level is required to see details of the bonuses and clauses in a player's contract.
Your club's starting player knowledge level for a player is affected by various factors, including:
Your club's scouting knowledge level for the nation of the player's club - The higher your club's knowledge level for the nation, the higher your club's player knowledge level for the player.
Whether the player plays in the same division as your club - Your club has higher player knowledge levels for such players.
The player's reputation - The higher the reputation of the player, the higher your club's player knowledge level for the player.
A player's reputation description can be viewed on the Information section of his Overview tab.
Your own ratings in the Player Knowledge and Youngster Knowledge manager attributes - These are explained in the Manager guide.
You can increase your club's player knowledge level for a player by:
Scouting the player - The longer your scouts scout the player for and the more matches they watch him play in, the more your club's player knowledge level for the player will increase. There is a limit to how much knowledge can be gained by requesting report cards only. Furthermore, the better the quality of the scouts you use the more quickly your club will increase its player knowledge level for the player through scouting him.
Increasing your club's knowledge level for the player's nation - The different ways of doing this are explained above.
Giving a scout an assignment to scout the player's club's nation, region or competition - This can increase your club's knowledge level for the nation the player is based in and can also result in the player himself being scouted.
- Managing your team in matches where the player features for the opposition team.
Choosing to attend a match in which the player features - You can choose to attend a team's match by clicking the "-" in the Result column on the team's Schedule screen. You cannot choose to attend a match if your own team is scheduled to play at the same time.
3. Nations With Good Youth Production
New young players are brought into the game world, or generated, on a regular basis. These players are known as newgens. The nations given below tend to produce more high quality newgens.
Excellent - Brazil
Very Good - Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain
Good - Egypt, England, Holland, Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey
Okay - Algeria, Belgium, Columbia, DR Congo, Ivory Coast, Portugal, USA
Newgens may also be referred to as regens. However, technically a regen is a player who has retired and been regenerated into a new player, as happened in older versions of the game.