In The Game: FIFA 16 Gets Women’s International Teams

Alex Morgan

So here’s a GOOD piece of news involving FIFA – the gaming franchise will finally be adding women to its playable character roster, kicking off [sorry] with the twelve women’s international teams included in FIFA 16 [official site].

Here’s the trailer:

While domestic sides aren’t going to be represented in the 22-year-old game series (yet), in FIFA 16 you’ll be able to play as the women’s national teams from Germany, USA, France, Sweden, England, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, China, Italy and Mexico. Your chosen side will then be able to face off against another women’s international side. That’s across several game modes – a FIFA press release specifies Kick Off, an offline tournament and online friendly matches.

It feels like a start. A significant and positive start.

To make sure that they captured the movement side of things correctly, a mixture of motion capture, 3D player modelling and head-scans were involved.

“Bringing some of the best women’s players and teams in the world to our franchise is a massive event for EA Sports, and we are equally excited about bringing millions of fans a new way to play,” said David Rutter, VP of EA Sports FIFA.

“We’re making sure fans get an authentic experience when playing with Women’s National Teams thanks to our innovative player capture and reference tools, as well as the sophisticated gameplay platform which we will continue to innovate on in FIFA 16.”

I’m actually rewatching the trailer right now (while carefully ignoring the comments) and it’s really cool to see bits of the mo-cap session with the players from the USA team as well as the simple but effective repeated assertion, “I’m in the game/We’re in the game”.

FIFA 16 is out in September, I do believe.


  1. BobbyDylan says:

    I’m really glad about this. I’ve always said Soccer is a game for sissies and women.

    • Syt says:

      A friend used to say, “Football is a game for gentlemen, played by hooligans. Rugby, meanwhile, is a game for hooligans, played by gentlemen.”

      • John Walker says:

        You’re friends with the Chancellor of Cambridge from 1890?!

      • hiddencamel says:

        Sounds like your friend never had the privilege of meeting a rugby team on a night out.

        • Daemoroth says:

          I’m pretty sure a football team out on the town will get just as rowdy. You can’t argue though that their reactions towards and treatment of referees are deplorable and barbaric, compared to rugby players who show some respect.

        • Syt says:

          Rugby teams aren’t frequent in Austria. However, I once ran into the Danish national team on the subway on a Saturday night. They were drunk and regaling the entire train with funny, dirty songs.

          A much superior experience to the drunk, snarling masses the Vienna football clubs regularly produce.

      • ansionnach says:

        Over here we might also go on to say that (Gaelic) football is a game for hooligans played by hooligans and hurling is… quite a physical game… played with sticks…

    • Armadillo says:

      Personally I’m looking forward to the feature where you buy a microtransaction to determine who wins the match, or where the tournament takes place – ‘Blatter thanks you for your contribution’

  2. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Meanwhile, last I heard from Miles Jacobsen at Football Manager is that women’s football needs to become roughly as popular as the English second division before they’ll include it. This from a game which features Swedish amateur leagues.

    • riadsala says:

      Well, how popular are Swedish amateur leagues to the Swedish market? How popular are woman’s leagues? I know they are increasing in popularity, but there could well be more demand for amateur male leagues? I assume male amateur leagues make more sense to include from a pure gameplay perspective as the some players from lower leagues will filter through to higher leagues. Whereas you’re unlikely to have many female players getting picked up by the top male clubs.

    • Wulfram says:

      Swedish amateur leagues interact with more significant leagues. It’s part of the larger structure of men’s football. Whereas women’s football is inherently separate.

    • AimHere says:

      Obscure men’s teams integrate with the main men’s database in Football Manager quite easily. And getting the info for the game is likely fairly easy, given that FM already has scouts all over the world, and chances are people involved with the amateur league are huge fans of the game. SI are just adding to their scouting network, and it can be added piecemeal to teh game.

      Women’s football is entirely seperate for football managers’s purposes – the players and teams barely interact with the men’s game (at least not in the areas that FM simulates), so to simulate women’s football to anything like the same degree as the men’s game, SI would have to build up an entire scouting network almost from scratch (and getting up-to-date information would be hampered a little by the relative lack of press coverage the women’s game gets). What’s more, this hypothetical women’s football database doesn’t become useful until you’ve done nearly all the work. Most decent people agree that a women’s league in FM would be nice to have, but Miles is making a judgement call as to how much demand SI would need to see for the women’s leagues in FM before the company puts in all that effort.

      EA’s cost to add in a Women’s football tournament in FIFA is likely a lot less (at least compared to the total effort they put in the game). The game already deals with more or less separate football competitions, they already have the infrastructure in place for capping footballers and making them play football in the game. The effort required to put in a women’s tournament in FIFA is roughly the same as the effort involved in putting in any new men’s competition. It was easier for EA to do it, and so they did it. Yay!

  3. Skeletor68 says:

    Without making too big a deal out of it, I don’t think there is any need for the ‘mere 22 years’ in the article above. Women’s football is nowhere near the same popularity so I think EA should be lauded for including it at all. It’s a significant amount of work and I think they deserve full praise rather than mild derision for not having it before. Am I just being an ass? Maybe it is much more popular with some people than I’ve seen. Not many sports games include the female equivalent as far as I can tell.

    As a parallel I would say that women’s MMA is very popular with Ronda Rousey as big of a star if not bigger than many of the male fighters. Hypothetically, if a modern MMA game didn’t include a women’s division it would be a factor of discrimination rather than interest/popularity.

    • Legion23 says:

      I completly agree with you even if it hurts me to praise EA for anything… Nevertheless I am surprised they did this and looking forward to it.

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      Philippa Warr says:

      It was intended more as a slight, humorous eyeroll after a) confirming the lifetime of the franchise and b) that I’ve felt they could have definitely implemented women’s teams over the last few years. I did go on to say, sincerely, “It feels like a start. A significant and positive start.”

      If the intro is undermining that I think I’ll tweak it as it means the general message isn’t coming over right.

      • Skeletor68 says:

        It’s only a small thing Pip, so possible that it wouldn’t read that way to others. You’re quite right that you go on to clarify. RPS is great, I just wouldn’t want the article to get an overall tone of an ‘easy’ dig at EA when I think it is too positive a story to deserve it.

        • Skeletor68 says:

          Feel free to delete these comments from me now that you have amended. Don’t want to derail.

        • namad says:

          It also sounded a bit odd to me. I don’t think it’s been a matter of EA leaving women out, it’s just that women’s leagues were in the top100 most famous/popular. Presumably they have a choice to include a small market semi-pro men’s team, or an international women’s team.

          Personally I’d rather they just pick whichever team is more famous to include. It sounds like presumably the woman’s team cost them a lot more than whatever other men’s team options they had. They probably could’ve just whipped up some new textures for a new men’s team, but they actually spent the time to mo-cap women, instead of just using the women the men’s animations and making them slightly smaller…

          this seems like a giant step forwards, and maybe a complete and total and finished revolution for fifa.

          what are the other steps you’d like to see from ea on this matter? more women’s teams in their other franchasis? or is this fifa roster update not go far enough to include women even within fifa? there’ll probably never be as many women’s teams in fifa as men’s teams just because there aren’t as many in the real world either.

    • pepperfez says:

      They can very easily deserve both praise and derision. “Don’t be so negative, be more grateful” is a fucking irritating thing to hear/read, especially in defense of twin garbage-titans FIFA and EA.

    • brokeTM says:

      I had to check to be sure I wasn’t reading Polygon.

  4. WarderDragon says:

    Meanwhile, FIFA in real life demands gender testing in the women’s soccer world cup. It’s a good thing I’m not really into soccer games, I don’t want to touch anything FIFA-branded with a standard issue 10 foot pole.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      What’s wrong with gender testing in a gender segregated sport?

      /genuinely curious

      • Chiron says:

        Thorny issue you shouldn’t touch with a stick but… well, trans and genetics I believe.

      • mike2R says:

        I know very little about the issue, certainly not enough to form an opinion. But I think one of the issues may be that there are medical conditions that can mean gender is not black and white, so you get a situation where a player who has always thought of herself as a woman, and has the genitalia to back it up, is declared a man for the purposes of eligibility for a competition.

        How you balance what must be an extremely nasty situation for the individual in question, vs fairness for other competitors, isn’t something I feel qualified to judge.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          Knowing probably as little about it as you do, the hardest part would seem the actual testing and where to put the line between genders. Honest competition for everyone else outweighing someone’s subjective idea about themselves seems quite obvious to me.

          • Kala says:

            Someone’s subjective idea of themselves can turn objective (or, at least have scientific basis which is tantamount to the same thing) with hormones and surgery etc, though, when it comes to sex differences:

            “Research suggests that androgen deprivation and cross sex hormone treatment in male-to-female transsexuals reduces muscle mass,” says Eric Vilain, M.D., Ph.D., professor, and director of the Center for Gender-Based Biology and Chief Medical Genetics Department of Pediatrics at UCLA. “Accordingly, one year of hormone therapy is an appropriate transitional time before a male-to-female student-athlete competes on a women’s team.”

            “As Dr. Vilain and other medical professionals have stated, hormone replacement therapy has a way of adjusting bone density, muscle mass, and eroding other advantages trans athletes may have.”

            link to

          • pepperfez says:

            But honestly, how much should you really trust someone named “Dr. Villain”?

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            By that point we’re back at my first, sentence, of course.

          • Mint says:

            If you are superficial enough to judge someones trustworthyness by their name then i would say you should not trust him at all.

      • pepperfez says:

        It’s arbitrary and inherently unworkable because sex isn’t binary. None of hormones, chromosomes or genitalia are a workable criterion, and taken together they’re often contradictory, so the idea of a definitive determination is often fantastical.
        We’re not talking about doping or male “impostors” stealing women’s titles, either, or even about trans women. We’re talking about women, who were born as women, who have lived their entire lives and competed as women, being singled out for a global discussion of the state of their genitalia because they’re particularly good athletes and maybe have broad jaws.

        This article is a lot more comprehensive and a lot less grouchy than my gloss, actually, so probably better to just see that.

        • hiddencamel says:

          There have been numerous incidents over the years of men impersonating women to “steal their glory”, which is why gender testing became a thing.

          Ultimately, the only way to avoid some arbitrary definition of gender for the purposes of sports is to desegregate completely, which would be disastrous for women’s sport, as they would simply disappear from the top tiers of most sports.

          • pepperfez says:

            There have been numerous incidents over the years of men impersonating women to “steal their glory”

      • Neutrino says:

        Strange. I asked that exact same question in response to this comment, yet it seems to have been deleted.

      • blastaz says:

        I’ve always seen gender segregation in athletics/team sports as akin to weight categories in boxing. It’s sort of a “handicap” designed to make the sport more fair overall.

        Fighters have to weigh in before a bout to show they make weight…

    • pepperfez says:

      And, in further FIFA Murdering Parody news, FIFA literally denies women an equal playing field.

      • Mint says:

        “Men’s World Cup tournament matches are played on natural grass while CSA and Fifa are relegating female players to artificial turf,” said Dellinger.”

        In short , lower tier soccer does not get spend as much on as higher tier soccer. Has nothing to do with gender here.

        • Grizzly says:

          I think the Woman’s World Cup being considered “lower tier” is exactly the problem they’re calling out.

  5. Kala says:

    ” I don’t think there is any need for the ‘mere 22 years’ in the article above.”

    It’s accurate. That’s how long it’s taken until this point, isn’t it? If the first one was released in 1993? Which seems like quite a long time, whether the reasons are good or bad.

    “Women’s football is nowhere near the same popularity so I think EA should be lauded for including it at all.”

    She did: “It feels like a start. A significant and positive start.” That sounds like credit where it’s due to me…?

    “Am I just being an ass?”

    I wouldn’t go as far as that, but maybe unduly defensive. (and I only say ‘unduly’ because I have no idea why you would be at all).

    • Kala says:

      and that was meant to be in response to Skeletor68, but apparently I missed -.-;

      • Skeletor68 says:

        No worries man, I think I explained above. I’m only being overly pernickety because I love RPS so much.

  6. Rizlar says:

    Apparently women’s football used to be a lot more popular than it is now, it’s good to see it (slowly) becoming prominent again. A quick search for ‘history of women’s football’ turned up this article on the subject: link to

    Also that video must be the most American footie thing I’ve ever seen. >.<

    • christmas duck says:

      Great article.
      Lily Parr for DLC, get on that EA.

    • Mint says:

      Actually , soccer still is not popular amongst woman and has not risen in interest much the last few years if at all. It is all done because of political correctness and in the videogame industry there is some $ to be made in that.

      It is like you are seeing all over europe and the U.S right now ” We need more woman in engineering” setting up special programs for them but no one has been able to point out why we need it and at the same time avoiding the real reasons why we dont have that many females in engineering (because like with football , they dont have the same amount off interested females in there, just like there are less men in nursing or male nanny’s).

  7. Janichsan says:

    …women’s national teams from Germany, USA, France, Sweden, England, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, China, Italy and Mexico.

    And, oddly enough, the current world champion – Japan – is absent.

    • Joriath says:

      You can only hope that was because of licensing issues rather ignorance

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Apparently Konami has the rights for the Japanese team. (source: some guy in Eurogamer comments)

  8. Not_Id says:

    Wot’s next EA, Dead Space 4 with Ms Caasi Clarke?

    We got to draw the line somewhere guys. Before we know it, they’ll be everywhere.
    Today we saw an awesome book review on RPS. A FEMALE wrote that book btw. Now this ‘FIFA with females’ news? The article about which is written by a girl named Philippa. She even has a girly girls name.

    I didn’t even know that girls could kick balls!

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      You could ask them, they might demonstrate!

      • Not_Id says:

        I don’t know man, EA wouldn’t change sexes for the next Dead Space game would they?
        Maybe they’d do what they’ve done with FIFA 16?
        A seperate campaign, FOR THE LADIES. ;-)

  9. Rao Dao Zao says:

    But wouldn’t you rather play a Deus Ex-style FIFA corruption conspiracy game instead?

  10. Carlos Danger says:

    Well it seems that Witcher 3 lost its spot as the best game of 2015. No way they can compete with this.

    • pepperfez says:

      At least until Sapkowski starts having his novels written by slaves and then murdering them, the source material just isn’t spicy enough to compete.

  11. cpt_freakout says:

    Hey, that’s pretty cool. Too bad they won’t allow mixed matches because FIFA 16 is also real life, but hey, it’s a start!

  12. OscarWilde1854 says:

    Uh…. I mean… Good, good. Wonderful news for females. Sorry… hand must’ve slipped to caps lock…

  13. FantasyMeister says:

    4 years ago there was this: link to – it lays out a lot of interesting facts about how popular Women and Girls’ Football actually is.

    The petition got a lot of press back then, especially when Fernanda Schabarum, the petition starter, was invited to speak with David Rutter, the VP of EA Sports FIFA about the issues raised. This in itself was quite an achievement. But actually seeing it come to fruition for years later is pretty amazing.

    The timing is awful in respect of charges against FIFA’s Governing body, but also probably planned to coincide with that fact that the Women’s World Cup starts in Canada in just 9 days time. But what’s most significant is that this is EA’s first announcement about FIFA 16 this year (I’m sure they’ll be announcing many other all-new features in the run up to E3 and beyond). This is their biggest franchise, so to make such an important, inclusive and game changing announcement right at the first whistle (sorry) is a bold, industry leading step to make.

    I can do nothing but applaud everyone involved in making it happen. I’d also love to see someone try and track down Fernanda Schabarum for a follow up article, and pass on my thanks too. I’m kinda biased, my daughter played football for a few years too :) And next time anyone speaks to David Rutter, pass on my thanks there too, very grateful.

    • thedosbox says:

      Yeah, I’m happy to see this small first step, but it’s unfortunate the release of the game is going to be months after the tournament has finished.

  14. carewolf says:

    Can you play a mens team against a female? Maybe that way I can finally have a chance in winning against my friends in this game, either that or be instrumental in a glorious female victory over the incompetent men.

  15. Shiloh says:

    Thank God for FIFA, standing up for probity and right thinking in football eh.

  16. Laini says:

    This is pretty cool and hopefully something they can expand on in the years to come.
    My only concern is that this will probably be the only big update this year, like goalkeepers was for FIFA 15.

    I’d love to see them really revamp Career mode. Ah well, there’s always FIFA 17.

  17. TobleroneRoloCombo says:

    But it’s hard to add women! Ubisoft said so!

  18. SilentDawn says:

    I wonder how long it will take for a nude patch to come out. my guess is 2 days.

    • Mint says:

      why would you care how anyone decides to mod and play their game?

  19. Johnny Go-Time says:

    Thanks for sharing this!
    My daughter’s often down on the lack of strong female role models in story & (well-publicized) sport. I live in Winnipeg, Canada, one of the hosts of this year’s Women’s World Cup, and I’m taking her to see USA v SWE

    She’ll be very happy to see the ladies getting included in the videogame!