KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Beginning today, owners of EA Sports’ FIFA ’23 soccer video game can now play as the Kansas City Current. The video game added the National Women’s Soccer League to its system for the first time.
“It’s incredible, kind of a surreal feeling,” said KC Current forward Kristen Hamilton, who loves video games herself.
The FIFA game (named after soccer’s governing body: Fédération Internationale de Football Association) consistently ranks as one of the most popular video games in the world. When EA Sports originally released the ’23 version, it included the NWSL equivalents from France and England. Today, it made a downloadable update available for users on a variety of formats like PlayStation, Xbox and on computers. Today's expansion adds the NWSL and the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
“It’s really cool the recognition we’re getting; the credibility we’ve built up,” Hamilton said. “That’s a testament to all the players who came from year one of this league and building it up now. It’s super exciting.”
EA Sports took hundreds of pictures or scans of each player in the NWSL to create their avatars in the game. Hamilton said those characters have been the source of good-natured jokes in the Current locker room.
“Everyone was giving Lo’eau [LaBonta] a little crap because she looks super tall in hers and she’s not necessarily the tallest player on our team,” Hamilton said with a laugh.
For the record, the Current list LaBonta as 5 feet and 1 inch tall.
Players have also taken notice of how FIFA rated their skills. Newly added Current midfielder Debinha has the second best overall ranking in the entire league. Desiree Scott, a midfielder, ranked in the top 10 in several categories, like defense.
Hamilton is humble about her rating.
“I don’t really want to see the player ratings, my feelings are probably gonna get hurt,” she said with a laugh.
Beyond the avatars and the ratings, players hope being included in a video game will grow popularity in the game and inspire other women and men.
“My brother texted me and said he’s going to play as me, so it’ll be really cool to see for sure,” defender Kate Del Fava said.
Head Coach Matt Potter believes this milestone is one of many more to come.
“For the athletes, it gives them the stage they’ve long deserved. It’s good to see it happening,” he said.