STOP THE PRESSES! HOLD EVERYTHING AND PAY ATTENTION NOW! WOMEN’S NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAMS (thats soccer for all you Americans who insist on calling football soccer, bloody heathens) WILL BE APPEARING IN THE FIFA 16 VIDEO GAME FOR THE FIRST TIME! That’s right, days after it was announced that the US Justice Department arrested 14 high ranking FIFA officials on charges of bribery and corruption (sadly Sepp Blatter was not arrested, the slime ball) EA announces that 12 women’s national football teams will be available to play for the first time in FIFA 16. I cannot express how overjoyed I am. I have been a fan of women’s football since I was a young boy. My dad, sister, and I would watch Women’s World Cup matches and I was always astounded by the high level of play they exhibited. It always looked different to me, there was more ball control, and better passing. Women seemed to play a game of finesse and ball movement akin to a chess match, where games were won or lost not by a single possession, but rather on the strength of the whole team playing at their peak. If anything, the skill level of professional women’s football has only increased, with women achieving near parity (Or arguably, just parity – Ed) with men in terms of the skill level they display in their games.
It is about time that EA recognized the contributions women make to the sport of football and made them playable in their games. What is even better is that FIFA treated the addition of women to the game with the same respect shown towards the male athletes. According to an official release from Electronic Arts’ (EA) website, the Womens National Teams of Germany, USA, France, Sweden, England, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, China, Italy, Mexico will all be available to play in FIFA 16. FIFA’s own website covered the press announcement. Fifa.com reported that EA brought in four top players from the US Women’s National Team (USWNT), Sydney Leroux, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapino as well as players from Soccer Canada to serve as motion capture models for all the players in the game. The 360 degree body capture of these players allows for new and unique gestures, movements, skill moves, as well as applying real female physiology to the game models. EA also took a mobile head scanning unit to every team featured so that all of the players featured would look as authentic as possible.
Unfortunately there are the usual nuts and wankers who came out of the woodwork the minute that the announcement was made. Why must there always be some Neanderthal plod who has to raise his head every single time something progressive towards women happens in the video game industry? When British newspaper company, The Guardian, tweeted that FIFA 16 would host women’s teams for the first time there were a series of negative posts appeared. Ranging from the “game ruined” type tweet to “feminists ruin everything” men voiced their ignorance and sheer myopic point of view. I honestly found it disturbing. I have no idea whether or not those who tweeted their opinions ever played soccer (against men or women) at all or even followed their respective women’s national teams to know the skill the women are capable of playing at. Having growing up playing soccer (calling it soccer to forgo confusion), I find it to be the most egalitarian sport in the world. In soccer, a woman can become as skilled her male counterparts in the sport. The only difference would come down to physical size and speed. When I played against my sister in pickup games among family friends I learned that she was just as good as I was. Actually she had better ball handling skills. The only advantage I had was I was bigger and faster. In college I played against plenty of girls in co-ed pickup games and often met my match in terms of both offensive and defensive skill. I just don’t understand why adding women to FIFA 16 is so aweful. How does it detract from game play, visuals, or fidelity to the sport of football? Shouldn’t people really be freaking out about how Sepp Blatter has been elected as the president of FIFA again? Better yet, why not wonder what how the clean up of the Santa Barbara coastline is going after the huge oil spill. Or more importantly, lets consider what we can do as a species to actually try to function with more egalitarian and accepting hearts and minds rather than obsessing over why adding women to a sports video game is going to be then end of the FIFA video game franchise as we know it? Come on now.