Published on August 11, 2015 by Annika Hepp  

Women athletes are starting to earn more respect and attention in the world of sports. After helping her team win the Women’s Soccer World Cup 2015 in Canada, Alex Morgan will be the first female athlete ever who’s face will appear on the cover of the EA Sports FIFA video game series.

“It’s exciting to be part of the history in the making right now”, says Morgan in her interview with HuffPost. Morgan will join Lionel Messi, the best male soccer player, on this year’s cover, which will be released September 22 in the United States. On the other hand, Christine Sinclaire will appear alongside Messi on the cover of the Canadian edition. In this edition, Gamers will be able to choose from 12 women’s national teams, to compete in online Match Days and Tournaments. This cover will change a lot for female athletes in the near future. Players of the U.S. Women’s National team earned $2 million for the World Cup win, compared to men who earned $35 million for last year’s win. Let’s look at athletes that have been on the video game cover in the past 22 years.

Athlete's Name on Front Cover of EA Sports FIFA Video Game Series
David Platt + Piotr Swierczewski 1994 Male
Erik Thorstvedt 1995 Male
Frank de Boer + Jason McAteer 1996 Male
David Ginola 1997 Male
David Beckham 1998 Male
Dennis Bergkamp 1999 Male
Sol Campbel 2000 Male
Paul Scholes 2001 Male
Thierry Henry 2002 Male
Edgar Davids, Roberto Carlos+ Ryan Giggs 2003 Male
Thierry Henry,Alessandro Del Piero +Ronaldinho 2004 Male
Patrick Vieira, Fernando Morientes + Andriy Shevchenko 2005 Male
Wayne Rooney + Ronaldinho 2006 Male
Wayne Rooney + Ronaldinho 2007 Male
Wayne Rooney + Ronaldinho 2008 Male
Wayne Rooney + Ronaldinho 2009 Male
Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcoot + Frank Lampard 2010 Male
Wayne Rooney+ Kaka 2011 Male
Wayne Rooney 2012 Male
Lionel Messi 2013 Male
Lionel Messi+Gareth Bale 2014 Male
Lionel Messi+ Eden Hazard 2015 Male
Lionel Messi + Alex Morgan 2016 Male+Female

One question the shown graph right away reveals is: “why didn’t FIFA put a female soccer player on the cover in 1999, when the United States hosted and won the Women’s World Cup?” The graph above presents the names of athletes, the year of publication, and the gender that has been covered on the FIFA video game series. The first cover came out in 1994 and since then, solitary male athletes appeared on the cover until this year. If we analyze the graph further, we realize that Wayne Rooney and Ronaldinho were presented together on the cover from 2006-2009. Rooney became a regular feature face until 2012. Lionel Messi took over the cover in 2013 and has been on it until today.

How important is this to the Women’s sports world?

"It gives women’s soccer another platform to showcase the advancement in the sport," explains Morgan to the Huffington Post. Awareness and more popularity will be granted towards female athletes. It seems like it is perfect timing considering that the United States just won the Women’s World Cup in Canada a few weeks ago. Due to the introduction of a female on the world’s best selling video game, not only women’s soccer, but all other women’s sports will hopefully gain more respect and equality to men’s sports.

This blog post was written by Samford University student Annika Hepp.


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