The Unused Sub: Something About Soccer In Video Games

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So did anything interesting happen in the world of WoSo?

THIS FIFA BREAK WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PROBLEM-FREE!
And then we saw the announcement that Boston Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle would be out six weeks. There was also an injury that will keep Chicago Red Stars’ Yuki Nagasato out of rotation at the moment. Seattle Reign FC’s Rumi Utsugi has some injury that at the time I write this, we don’t know the extent of. Lynn Williams reportedly needs an MRI. And then there was some freak accident involving inflatable bodies that gave Sabrina D’Angelo a bum ankle.

WHAT IN THE WORLD DID YOU DO, SOCCER GODS!?

This FIFA break was supposed to just have some friendlies where nothing major happens, yet there’s some cruel bastard that decided to make some players hurt. And that’s not cool.

PRESS START
If you’re a gamer, then these past couple of days were like Christmas for you as this year’s E3 happened. E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is the convention show of the video game industry. There the industry shows the world what they’re working on with the intention to release within the year or some point next year. Electronic Arts, makers of the FIFA video game series, are no stranger to the event. This year’s release of FIFA titled FIFA 18 features some guy named Cristiano Ronaldo. I hear he’s good.

When it comes to the women’s side of the game, FIFA made waves when FIFA 16 in 2015 included women’s national teams. They were USA, Germany, France, Sweden, England, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, China, and Mexico. The next iteration continued that, adding the Netherlands and Norway. While it wasn’t announced/confirmed at E3, it stands to reason that FIFA 18 will have women’s national teams, maybe an addition or two.

But how about the next step, how about women’s club teams?

We still have a lot of time before FIFA 18’s September worldwide release and surely during that time, EA Sports will drop more info about what licensed teams and leagues will be joining the already robust offering of over 30 leagues, over 650 teams. Could this year’s release give us women’s club teams in some form? I don’t know. I can be like you and hope for it, that someday there will be women’s clubs teams. When FIFA 16 gave us the women’s national teams, the gaming modification community went to town with the PC version of the game and made a mod featuring NWSL teams. It surely gave women’s soccer fans a glimpse into hopefully a future that is sooner than later. I mean really, what is the argument against having women’s club teams available to play in FIFA’s exhibition mode? Or better yet a full on career mode where you could have leagues like the NWSL, FAWSL, Division 1 Féminine, and Frauen-Bundesliga? Just think of being able to be in charge of, say, the Seattle Reign FC and, after winning the NWSL Championship, getting the chance to face off against Arsenal Ladies in a virtual Club World Cup showdown?

In the weeks leading up to the worldwide demo release of FIFA 17, social media freaking out was at a fever pitch when an image dropped saying said demo would feature Arsenal Ladies, Liverpool Ladies, Boston Breakers, and Orlando Pride as playable women’s club teams. The image turned out to be fan-made, but just the idea of it got everyone buzzing. Not even the staunchest hater would deny the existence of a demand for women’s clubs teams in a future iteration of FIFA. Surely with the NWSL looking to be on the path to sustainability, it’d be impossible to find a better outlet to expand their brand and the profiles of the league’s stars than with an appearance in a FIFA video game. Throw in the leagues from England, France, Germany and I promise you, there will be a whole world of people grateful that they can play as their soccer heroes on the virtual pitch.

Time will tell if women’s club teams will be in FIFA. As much as I’d like to see it with this year’s release, I don’t expect it. Of course, if I had a direct line with the producers of FIFA, I’d bug them about that along with other wishes for the next game. My realistic guess as for how far the women’s game will go with this year’s release is, they’ll have the teams participating in this summer’s UEFA Women’s European Championship along with the staples like USA, Australia, Canda, and all other nations that have appeared since. In 2018, with FIFA 19, that’s where I think we could see some traction with getting women’s club teams into the game.

For the longest time, the motto of EA Sports was, “If it’s in the game, it’s in the game.”

It’s just a matter of time folks before the women’s game gets proper and full representation in one of the world’s biggest and most successful video game franchises.

SERIOUSLY, YOU ALREADY WON IF YOU MADE IT THROUGH THE FIFA BREAK, INJURY-FREE
Here are this weekend’s predictions.

  • Chicago Red Stars OVER Washington Spirit.
  • North Carolina Courage OVER Boston Breakers.
  • Seattle Reign FC OVER FC Kansas City.
  • Houston Dash and Orlando Pride play to a DRAW.
  • Portland Thorns FC OVER Sky Blue FC.

And with that, here’s this week’s music video break.

Song: “Symphony” | Artist: Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson