There is a first ever at play, but c'mon marketing team, this ain't the first ever. According to the press release, EA has announced their "first ever team of the year" (aka TOTY). But that's sort of pretending the last 15 years of the FIFA football game franchise and FUT never happened. So no, this isn't the first every TOTY, this is just the latest TOTY in the rebranded iteration of the franchise that moved on from FIFA's name and licensing costs, this time for EA Sports FC 24. This is still significant news for all the FUT fans out there because typically the TOTY cards are the highest rated versions of the best players released for the entire year. They are also only available for a limited time, and can mostly only be earned through cold, hard RNG by opening packs and hoping the loot box mechanic works in your favor. There are a few premium packs with guaranteed loan item player picks, which lets you use the player for 10 games or so. But to win the card outright it'll cost a lot of in-game currency (or possibly cold hard cash to open enough packs to either weight RNG over to your side or build a dragon's hoard of coins to turn around in the in-game card market).
As for me, I don't like FUT's mechanics but I do enjoy the mode somewhat, and it's a great way to bide my time before I start up another career mode game in earnest when the current real-life transfer window closes.
That being said there is a genuine first here - the introduction of a female cohort of TOTY stars. This year both men and women are represented with a best eleven, just as they both appear in the FUT mode in general.
If you still want to try your luck, the TOTY cards releases into the game by waves on position groups. So Men’s and Women’s Attackers kick off today, January 19th. They are replaced by Midfielders in two days on Jan 21st, with Defenders and Goalkeepers closing things out on Jan 23rd. Typically what follows is the whole cadre are available in the time immediacy after the last group gets their exclusive window, before the cards all disappear from packs forever.
A look at the lineups can be found on the official site: https://www.ea.com/games/ea-sports-fc/fc-24/toty/toty-mens