Football Academy is a mix of a football trivia game and a card game. In it the player gets to enter the academy where he under the supervision of former Chelsea and Portugal manager Luiz Felipe Scolari gets to create his own team and test his knowledge about the sport. When starting out at the academy the player gets two packs of cards with footballers. Once the player has picked his starting eleven out of these he will be able to go to the stadium and compete against unlocked teams. Victory in matches and the player is awarded badges, trophies and better card packs that allows him to improve his team.
The player can't go directly to the stadium however. First he must prove his knowledge about game at the classroom. Here the player gets to take a Football IQ test consisting of three mini games. The accumulated points from the mini games is the player's football IQ which determines how good footballers the player can acquire. Early on the player only has access to bronze packs but by defeating teams in the stadium silver and gold packs will be unlocked. The test can be redone at any time but first it might be wise for the player to practice the mini games on the training pitch.
Once the player has a team it is time to go to the changing room and manage it. Here the player gets to pick a formation and a starting eleven. Each footballer has a number of attributes such as position, nation and skill rating. The team also has a chemistry rating which is based on the footballers' home country as well as their preferred position and formation. Therefore it's important not only to pick the best ones, but also makes sure that they fit with their team mates.
The actual matches of the game are played similarly to manager games such as Championship Manager where the player only gets to see an overview of the action. The tactical possibilities available are more limited here as the only options available are where to attack (left, right or center) and the mentality of the team (push up, sit back or balanced). What special however is that at different times throughout the matches the player will face dribbling, passing and shooting battles. Here one of the footballers will face one of the opponents. Before the battle the footballers' ratings are recalculated based on their mentality, chemistry and energy. Then each player gets to choose one of two actions and depending on if he is successful or not the footballer's rating increases or decreases. The footballer with the highest rating wins the battle. Being successful leads to more and more battles until a goal scoring opportunity appears.
Football Academy has support for two player multi-card play. The players can test out their teams against each other but it is also possible to trade footballers.