The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is underway and right on schedule EA Sports has released a teaser for its upcoming FIFA 16 video game. And no, Sepp Blatter, Chuck Blazer, and stacks of cash and weapons(!) do not make an appearance… those are in FIFA Grand Theft World Cup. Rather, this game treats us to superb technical ability, precise passing and shooting, and amazing hustle from the best athletes in the world, male and female alike.
EA Sports has added 16 women’s soccer powerhouses like USA, Germany, Japan, Canada, and France to its juggernaut video game series. This game has caught up to EA’s Madden NFL series domestically and totally dominates Madden outside the USA. You can make a save like Hope Solo, whip the ball into the box for Abby Wambach, and score a game winner like Alex Morgan. This is a victory for women as it breaks the video game glass ceiling. For the first time a major video game series includes women’s professional athletes.
It’s also a realization of what I’ve noticed since 1999 – on the world’s stage, the USA’s women’s national soccer team is simply better relative to its competition than its male counterparts. While the men have given us some thrilling moments and legendary performances in World Cups, the USWNT routinely makes it farther into tournaments than the USMNT does. The women have won two World Cups to the men’s zero and seven CONCACAF Gold Cups to the men’s five. Plus there’s really no diving – a welcome change from the men’s game.
Couple all of that with large viewing parties and primetime broadcast TV coverage for the women’s team and what we see is the long-overdue respect our athletes deserve. I and many others will be thrilled to see our women’s team continue to teach us the beauty of the world’s game and grow a love of the game for American fans – female and male alike, live action and video game alike.
Cover image USWNT Celebrates, courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user rachael.c.king, found here.