By Reece M. Krantz ’16
This year’s edition of the popular sports game “FIFA”released its cover athlete as they do every year, except this time they added Alex Morgan from the U.S Women’s National Team.
Morgan will appear along side Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi on the American retail version. Other notable women’s soccer players will be changed to match the country of sale. Christine Sinclair for Canada and Stephanie Catly for Australia.
“FIFA 16,” set to be released Sept. 22 in North America, is the first in the franchise to feature women on the cover, and, as EA Sports announced in May, this game will also be the first to include international women’s soccer teams.
While this is a positive thing, many say this is an outrage to the traditional cover of a single athlete. Other concerns come from the assumption that they may just be placating the masses to sell more copies.
This is a ridiculous accusation to make. First of all, while it may bring them more money on their product, they will also bring in more popularity of the sport to North America.
Soccer is one of the only sports in America with a decreasing participation rate. From 2008 to 2012, soccer participation rates from the ages of six to 17 fell 4 percent while 17 and up stood relatively stagnant.
Youth participation in sports is an important aspect of life. It builds character and teamwork, while also increasing test scores in school.
Kids should not be limited to football and baseball, two of the more popular North American sports.
Today soccer is growing in the United States, more and more are watching global competitions. In fact, the U.S was third in viewers for the 2014 World Cup, garnering over 145 million concurrent viewers.
ESPN did a study in 2014 examining the growing popularity of soccer in the United States, especially among youth.
In its study, MLS was revealed as having caught up to MLB in popularity among people from age 12 to 17, and the popularity of the FIFA video game series was seen as one of the driving forces behind this.
The “FIFA 16” video game is sure to give some rise and the inclusion of Alex Morgan will be beneficial to youth sports.
These announcements signal the rise of the popularity of the sport among the general public, and they may be a sign that women’s soccer is catching up to the men’s game.
“I know people all over the world play this game and I’m really excited that ‘FIFA 16’ is putting such an important spotlight on women’s soccer,” Morgan said in an EA Sports press release.
While two athletes on the cover may be a one and done thing, I think it should continue with the women and men athlete duo for the sake of future athletes.