Potential Ability refers to a hidden attribute which determines how good a player can become. Potential ability can range from 0-99, with 99 being the highest. Potential Ability is often discussed alongside Current Ability (CA).
Potential Ability (PA)Edit
Most players have a set Potential Ability (some may be left blank and are therefore randomly chosen at the start of a new game). Both range from 1-100. Potential Ability is how good a player can become, if they are trained well and given experience. Potential Ability is completely fixed: it cannot be lost or gained. A player's Current Ability may rise or fall, though will never surpass his Potential Ability. This means a 21 year old player with a CA of 50 and PA of 75 may only ever reach a CA of 75, but might never reach that.
To maximise potential young players must be trained with schedules relevant to their role and position. A lot of people try to get physical attributes high rather for players aged 15 - 19 and then swap to the senior schedules. Young players must also have match experience (a good tactic is to play them is lesser games or bring them on as a substitute. Another option is to send them on loan, though this can be risky, as not all clubs will play them regularly. When sending a younger player on loan, having the Recall option available means that if a player is not being played enough, they can be recalled back to the club.
If a player doesn't progress well it becomes hard for them to reach their full potential, so doing these is a must.
Old players have a set PA as well. They will never reach it as they are too old, but it is passed on to their regen . This is important as it means players like Rivaldo will never become as good as they once were but, once retired, their regen can.