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NWSL players unhappy over FIFA video game likenesses and abilities

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Several National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) players expressed their discontent at the accuracy of their likenesses on Electronic Arts’ (EA) FIFA video game franchise.

EA, the NWSL and the league’s players union (NWSLPA) announced a partnership earlier in March making the stars and teams of the league playable in the 2023 edition of the popular video game. The league made its first official appearance in FIFA 23 on Wednesday.

Sydney Leroux, Jess Fishlock, Janine Beckie and Madison Hammond were among the players who shared messages on social media expressing unhappiness over their in-game appearances in FIFA 23.

Leroux wrote on Twitter: “I know you expect women to just be thankful and grateful that you’ve given us a little sliver of publicity but please stop wasting our time. Some of us are bald.”

Leroux also shared a picture of her appearance from FIFA 16 compared to the current version, noting the older edition of the game had a closer likeness.

Alongside two images of her in-game player wearing an Angel City jersey, Hammond said, “Somebody please lmk when they find me, Madison Hammond #99 from Angel City! Because this … is simply not it!”

Beckie posted a photo of her in-game player alongside an image of her playing in real life, writing, “Found my long lost twin! Fraternal obviously.”

Players also had issues with their attribute valuations in the game, accusing the makers of not having watched the league.

“When @EASPORTSFIFA didn’t put me in the top 10 for speed I was mad but I was like eh we will show them,” wrote Sarah Gorden, a defender for Angel City. “But when they gave me a 48 rating in speed I realized they have never and will never actually watch a NWSL game.”

When the partnership was announced, Burke stated, “Today is a historic day for both our players and fans.”

NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman added: “The NWSL’s integration into EA SPORTS FIFA 23 is a monumental milestone for the league, the players and millions of football fans around the world as we continue pushing boundaries for the women’s game.”

The 11th season of the NWSL is due to kick off on Saturday, with the North Carolina Courage hosting Kansas City in the opening fixture.

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