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FIFA 23 career mode: the best teams to manage

FIFA 23 is the latest in EA Sports’ popular soccer franchise, and one of its best features is career mode. This lets you choose any club in the game — or even create your own — and lead them to glory, picking teams, making transfers, and doing things your way.

But which club should you manage? With over 700 teams to choose from, it can feel overwhelming. Fear not — we’ve analyzed every club in the game to find five that will create careers as thrilling as they are unusual. Whether you want to start from the bottom or rely heavily on youth, these are the best teams to manage in FIFA 23.

If you’re looking for a few helpful FIFA 23 beginners’ tips, we’ve got a guide for that. We’ve also got a full-blown FIFA 23 career mode guide if you want to go more in-depth.

The road to glory: Barrow

A screenshot from FIFA 23 showing the information board of Barrow.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The enduring appeal of FIFA’s career mode is its ability to craft stories of your own creation. Seasons twist and turn, rivals rise and fall, new star players emerge — all of this helps to make each career uniquely yours.

One of the best ways to create a memorable career mode story is to embark on a “road to glory” journey. Usually, this involves taking a very low-rated team and leading them to trophies and success. In FIFA 23, the best team for this job is Barrow in League Two, the fourth tier of the English soccer pyramid.

Being in such a lowly division means you’ll need to grind for several seasons before you’re able to even think about winning the nation’s highest honor, the Premier League trophy. Not only that, but Barrow have the lowest budget in League Two, making your task even tougher. Fortunately, the board is very forgiving, aside from expecting you to rein in spending by keeping an eye on the club’s finances. Take them to the top, and the glory is all yours.

The most lenient board: RFC Seraing

A screenshot from FIFA 23 showing the information board of RFC Seraing.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Making a success out of your team, both on and off the pitch, can be hard enough at the best of times, but add to that a slate of unreasonable demands from the club’s board, and the pressure ratchets up another notch or two.

In FIFA 23, each club has a set of board requirements covering domestic success, continental success, brand exposure, financial performance, and youth development. If you want a chilled-out career with little pressure from the board, you’ll want these requirements to be as low as possible — and they don’t come any lower than at RFC Seraing in the Belgian Pro League.

In every category, the board expectations are “very low” (the lowest score possible). That means there will be minimal interference in your career, and the expectations that the board does set should not be too difficult to achieve. As well as that, the team is in a competitive league, so it should remain interesting as you scale the club up. If you want a career where you can take things easy, this is the team to try.

The toughest board: Boca Juniors

A screenshot from FIFA 23 showing the information board of Boca Juniors.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have Boca Juniors. A far cry from RFC Seraing, this club has the toughest, most demanding board expectations of any club in the game. If you want a real challenge, you’ve found it.

Domestic success? Critically important. Continental success? That’s critically important, too. Brand exposure and youth development? You’d better believe they’re critically important. The only respite is the club’s financial targets, which have a rating of “high” instead of “critical.” Not much respite after all, then.

Incidentally, Boca Juniors’ board expectations are the same as their arch-nemesis club, River Plate. However, we’ve picked Boca Juniors here because they have a lower budget — wouldn’t want things to be too easy now, would we? Keep this board happy, and you’ll have achieved something remarkable.

The youth-only challenge: SC Freiburg II

A screenshot from FIFA 23 showing the information board of SC Freiburg II.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Securing the future of your club is just as important as any victory on the pitch, and in FIFA 23, that’s best represented by scouting and developing young players. If you want to make that the centerpiece of your career, why not try a youth-only challenge where your only recruitment can be from your own youth academy? Without being able to bring in outside talent, you’ll embark on a challenging career that can be immensely rewarding.

One of the best teams to pick for this is SC Freiburg II in the German 3 Liga. For one thing, this team is the B-team for Bundesliga outfit SC Freiburg. That immediately creates some lore for you to exploit. Since the real-life SC Freiburg II is mainly a development team, it makes sense that you should only recruit youth players.

As well as that, the board’s expectations also play into this. Most objectives are rated at “very low” importance, with financial performance set to “medium.” Youth development, however, is critically important. The good news is the low domestic objectives allow you time to build up the squad and create a lasting project without the pressure of trophy demands. Time to get scouting!

The smallest budget: UCD AFC

A screenshot from FIFA 23 showing the information board of UCD AFC
Image used with permission by copyright holder

These days, the world of soccer is dominated by wealthy clubs wielding untold financial resources with which to dwarf their rivals. Manchester City, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain — all these clubs and more could effectively buy whoever they wanted without a second thought.

In FIFA 23, exercising that kind of power can quickly get boring. If you really want to prove yourself with minimal resources, take the helm of Irish club UCD AFC. At a little over $700,000, they have the smallest budget of any club in the game, meaning you’ll be woefully restricted in who you can buy to improve the club.

Not only that, but the Irish league does not have a very high reputation in the game, meaning it’ll be tough to convince players to join even if you can afford them. Your best bet is to scout for cheap youth players and hope a lucky cup run brings you a sizeable windfall. If that kind of challenge sounds right up your street, this is the team to go for.

Alex Blake
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