Women's soccer continues to make history, as EA Sports announced on Monday that Alex Morgan will be among the first women ever to cover its FIFA video game series.
Morgan and Canada's Christine Sinclair will be paired with Lionel Messi in each of FIFA 16's U.S. and Canada releases respectively, the company said.
It will be the first time in the game's history that women are featured on the cover, and follows the company's reveal in May that women will be included in the game itself for the first time ever.
Alex Morgan (left) and Christine Sinclair's (right) covers for the North American releases of FIFA 16 (Credit: EA Sports)
"It gives women’s soccer another platform to showcase the advancement in the sport," Morgan told The Huffington Post. "Just the fact that women’s sports in general is continuing to be a mainstream thing and creating more awareness, more popularity -- and it’s exciting to be part of the history in the making right now."
A rendering of Alex Morgan as featured in FIFA 16. (Credit: EA Sports/YouTube)
Scheduled for a September 22 release, FIFA 16 will have 12 women's national soccer teams including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and the U.S. The teams will be featured in the game’s kick-off, tournament and online-friendly modes. EA Sports revealed earlier this month that Stephanie Catley won a vote to appear on Australia's cover.
Stephanie Catley will appear with Messi on Australia's FIFA 16 cover, another player will be revealed on August 13. (Credit: EA Sports)
Morgan said the upcoming release of the game is "perfect timing," coinciding with her team bringing home the Women's World Cup trophy this July.
"It’s been incredible to see the year that women’s sports has had so far," the player said. She added that having women in the game will allow people -- herself included -- to get to know the women's teams and players that aren't televised as much as the men.
Morgan celebrating with her teammates after defeating Japan 5-2 to win the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
But Morgan acknowledged that there's still plenty to be disappointed about when it comes to women's soccer. Particularly with regards to FIFA, which has been embroiled in scandal and continuing to face charges that it doesn't put equal efforts into supporting the women's game.
Morgan herself was at the center of an outcry after a seemingly sexist FIFA story in the first line described her as "very easy on the eye and good looks to match." She told HuffPost that "it was just a mistake."
When I first saw the article it was the day after I had actually done the interview and it was with a really sweet lady at FIFA, so to be honest, I know that she had really good intentions. But I know there are some articles that are twisted in the wrong ways and you know that they’re trying to raise an eyebrow or be controversial. But I really think that she had good intentions for this article. And she came up to me and apologized immediately after, so this is one instance where I really think it was just a mistake.
But while Morgan is willing to let the article slide, she was more firm when it came to the changes she'd like to see within FIFA. She called for more representation for women in both FIFA as whole as well as well as its executive committee -- the latter of which has only one elected woman on its 25-member group. She also echoed the sentiments of her teammates, such as goalkeeper Hope Solo, who have spoken out about the vastly smaller purses awarded to women's World Cup teams compared to the men's.
"We understand that the men’s World Cup brought in a lot more marketing dollars and more revenue, but you just see that gap and it’s shocking, it really is," Morgan said. "And that’s something that FIFA can actively change."
The success of the U.S. women's team and their inclusion in FIFA 16 are two things that Morgan hopes will spur change.
"There are inequalities, but being a part of this, being a part of team and a movement that is closing that gap of inequality is a really great thing to be a part of," Morgan said.
She continued, "The inequality is out there and it’s something that can be changed easily and I hope over time, in the more recent future, it’s changed."
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