Although there are numerous famous faces in the world of soccer (or football for those international gamers), few could be faulted for not knowing them. The FIFA franchise, for example, has only highlighted a select group of top tier footballers, and continuously put them on the series’ covers.

This year, however, things are changing: FIFA 16 is breaking new ground by putting its first female soccer players on the cover. For US gamers, FIFA 16 will feature World Cup champion forward Alex Morgan, while Canadian players will see Christine Sinclair on the box art.

Granted, both women’s soccer stars are featured alongside series stalwart Lionel Messi, but their place on the FIFA 16 box art is still a major turning point for the sport. For years, FIFA has focused exclusively on the men’s side of things, but this year’s iteration will finally feature women’s soccer as well. So fans of the women’s side of the sport – arguably the more honest and less flop-heavy side – can enjoy controlling their favorite national teams.

While picking Lionel Messi for the FIFA cover year after year must not have been a hard decision given his popularity, the selection of Alex Morgan likely weighed heavy on the folks at EA Sports. Although Abby Wambach may be the US Women’s team’s most recognizable face, she’s towards the tail end of her career. Wambach barely even played in the latter World Cup 2015 games, for example.

Alex Morgan, on the other hand, is the future face of the women’s national team. She first burst on the scene at the World Cup four years ago and has fast cemented her place as the team’s go-to star, making her the perfect choice for the cover.

While there’s no clear catalyst for the growth of stronger female representation in games, seeing things like this is no doubt exciting. It means that female gamers no longer have to worry about only playing as men in their favorite games, but can embody strong females like Lara Croft, Evie Frye in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, or Aloy, the protagonist in Guerrilla Games’ Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Obviously, we don’t expect the big changes to happen over night, but small developments like EA Sports finally including women’s soccer in FIFA can do nothing but help. The Women’s World Cup likely opened a lot of Americans’ eyes to the fact that the US team is a major powerhouse in the sport, and now they can control those same players on the virtual pitch of FIFA 16.

What do you think of Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair joining the FIFA 16 covers? Will you play any women’s soccer matches within the game?

FIFA 16 releases September 22, 2015 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

Source: IGN