The Best Youth Systems on Football Manager 2022: 20 Lesser-Known Clubs

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What’s the first thing you do in the transfer window once you set up your save on Football Manager? For me, I head over to my scouting department and see how the staff are looking, and then I proceed to set up the best scouting network.

Regardless of the level of the club I’m managing, I always pay extra attention to scouting young players from all over the world. There are just so many short and long-term benefits, and nothing quite matches the feeling of satisfaction from watching a young player grow into a top-class player for my team.

Wonderkids are one of my favorite things about Football Manager and if you know what you’re doing, they’re pretty easy to find year in, year out. There are many wonderkids on FM22, and more pop up as regens at different clubs every year with the yearly youth intake systems in place.

If you know the clubs with the best youth systems in the game, then you can have your scouts stalk their youth intakes every year – you’re bound to find something good.

Obviously, most of the top clubs – the Barcelonas and Liverpools – have excellent youth systems on Football Manager. However, apart from the fact that everyone already knows about them, it can also be a bit more difficult to prize young players away from those clubs to yours.

On that note, I thought I’d have a look at the smaller, less popular leagues and clubs and compile a guide of some of the more prominent FM22 best youth academies that aren’t the most obvious teams that you’d already know have good academies.

Before we dive in, there are a few things you should know.

What Makes A Good Youth System On Football Manager?

First off, you can go to a club’s profile page and see information about their training facilities, youth recruitment and youth facilities, but details about “Youth Importance” won’t be there.

There are four categories that affect the overall quality of a club’s FM 22 youth intake. They are:

  • Youth Facilities
  • Youth Importance
  • Youth Recruitment
  • Junior Coaching

Each one of these categories is rated out of 20 points. In-game, the ratings are loosely translated as follows:

  • 0 to 3 points: Poor
  • 4 to 5 points: Basic
  • 6 to 7 points: Below Average
  • 8 to 9 points: Adequate
  • 10 to 11 points: Average
  • 12 to 13 points: Good
  • 14 to 15 points: Great
  • 16 to 17 points: Excellent
  • 18 to 19 points: Superb
  • 20 points: State-of-the-art

Youth Facilities

Youth Facilities are one of two most important factors (alongside Junior Coaching) that decide the ability of the young players that come through a club’s FM22 youth intake at any given time.

It refers to the quality of the training facilities available for the young players to train, even before they become visible and enter the game on the day of youth intakes.

A club with a minimum of “great” youth facilities is more likely to produce players with good current and potential abilities.

Youth Importance

At the beginning of the game, this category might not be so important. In fact, it is most relevant to you if you plan to take charge of the club in question.

This is because it refers to the level of importance placed on youth development by the club owners. It will affect decisions made about improving youth facilities or expanding the recruitment network, so you want to keep an eye on that if you plan to make board requests for these improvements.

Also, a club with a low rating for youth importance is more likely to lose quality in their youth recruitment after a while because the club owners are less likely to invest funds in maintaining their youth facilities.

Youth Recruitment

This refers to the reach that the club academy has in relation to recruiting young players from academies and affiliate clubs. The higher the FM 22 youth rating, the higher the club is in the pecking order for picking the best young players.

The club’s reputation also plays a role here. If they have a worldwide reputation, they are more likely to have the option of recruiting great foreign young players. However, if the club only has a national reputation, their selection may be restricted to a pool of home-grown players.

Junior Coaching

The FM 22 youth ratings in this category are broken down slightly differently.

  • 0 to 2 points: Basic
  • 3 to 5 points: Fairly Basic
  • 6 to 9 points: Average
  • 10 to 13 points: Adequate
  • 14 to 16 points: Good
  • 17 to 19 points: Excellent
  • 20 points: Exceptional

Junior coaching refers to the quality and quantity of coaches available for the junior players before they join the club as youth intakes each year.

The higher the rating here, the higher the chances that the players will come in with a good enough current ability to give them the best chance of reaching their potential.

Alongside youth facilities, junior coaching is the most important deciding factor for a club’s overall youth system rating.

Which Clubs Have The Best Youth Systems?

A number of factors were taken into account when choosing this selection of clubs.

The first factor is that none of these clubs belong to the top six European leagues. As suggested earlier, most of the youth systems at those top clubs are well-known, so there is not a lot to discover there. Instead, we focused on smaller teams with amazing academies and youth setups.

Secondly, “youth importance” is not calculated as a deciding factor, since the main aim of this guide is to show which clubs have the best systems once you launch the game. It is only added as a “good to know” piece of information.

Finally, some clubs did not make the final cut despite having – on paper – excellent youth recruitment simply because of the country they are in.

Even if a club has a great youth system, the overall youth system rating of the country that the club is in affects the quality of the home-grown players that come through on youth intake days, so I’ve prioritized countries with a good youth system here.

I’ve also added an overall DiamondLobby rating based on the average ratings calculated from the three most important categories.

Now that’s out of the way, these are fifteen clubs with excellent youth systems on Football Manager 2022.

1. FC Liefering (Austria)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 19
  • Youth Importance Rating: 19
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 20
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 19
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 10

2. KRC Genk (Belgium)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 19
  • Youth Importance Rating: 15
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 19
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 18
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 9.5

3. Salzburg (Austria)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 19
  • Youth Importance Rating: 18
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 20
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 17
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 9.5

4. River Plate (Argentina)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 16
  • Youth Importance Rating: 12
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 20
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 16
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 9

5. Club Brugge (Belgium)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 20
  • Youth Importance Rating: 15
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 17
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 16
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 9

6. Standard Liege (Belgium)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 19
  • Youth Importance Rating: 19
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 17
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 17
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 9

7. Anderlecht (Belgium)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 17
  • Youth Importance Rating: 10
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 19
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 18
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 9

8. Bodo/Glimt (Norway)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 16
  • Youth Importance Rating: 11
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 20
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 17
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 9

9. Basel (Switzerland)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 19
  • Youth Importance Rating: 13
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 20
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 17
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 9

10. Universidad Catolica (Chile)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 16
  • Youth Importance Rating: 10
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 18
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 16
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 8.5

11. Sparta Prague (Czech Republic)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 17
  • Youth Importance Rating: 12
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 16
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 17
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 8.5

12. Banik Ostrava (Czech Republic)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 18
  • Youth Importance Rating: 16
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 16
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 16
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 8.5

13. Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 16
  • Youth Importance Rating: 16
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 16
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 17
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 8

14. Servette (Switzerland)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 16
  • Youth Importance Rating: 11
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 16
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 16
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 8

15. Sao Paulo FC/SPO (Brazil)

  • Youth Facilities Rating: 13
  • Youth Importance Rating: 16
  • Youth Recruitment Rating: 20
  • Junior Coaching Rating: 14
  • DiamondLobby Overall Youth System Rating (/10): 7.5

Honorable Mentions

The following have excellent youth systems on FM22, but they did not make the final cut due to one or more of the reasons discussed earlier:

  • FCV Farul Constanta (Romania)
  • Independiente del Valle (Ecuador)
  • C Libertad (Paraguay)
  • FC Nordsjaelland (Denmark)
  • Maccabi Haifa (Israel)
  • Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Israel)
  • Pyunik (Armenia)
  • Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Korea Republic)
  • Pohang Steelers (Korea Republic)
  • RGUOR Minsk (Belarus)

Final Words

If the most important thing to you when choosing a team in Football Manager is the youth system at the club, then this guide would have helped you to make a decision.

If, on the other hand, you’re more concerned about such things as the freedom to sign anyone you want without competition rules holding you back, then this guide to the best leagues to manage in on Football Manager 2022 might be of more use.

Whatever your decision is, snapping up potentially world-class players and watching them grow under your tutelage is immensely satisfying, and the best way to do that is to catch them young.

Keep an eye on the clubs discussed here, and you’ll be well on your way. You can even make an FM22 challenge of it, where you only sign young players under the age of 20.

Good luck!

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