It’s nicely fitting, then, that one of their own will be featured on the cover of the Australian FIFA 16 game, alongside living football legend Lionel Messi. (Yep. Football. Referring to Messi as playing ‘soccer’ is straight up sacrilegious.)
That someone is the Matildas’ Stephanie Catley: 21-year-old defender, winner of the domestic Young Player of the Year award (twice), and now able to play as herself in a video game in which she features on the cover. With Messi. Life goals, man.
Here’s the yet-to-be-finalised cover, with Catley, Messi, and presumably another male Aussie soccer player to be announced. (This is conjecture, btw – EA Sports haven’t released details.)
Catley described the whole thing as “a dream come true”.
“Knowing I will be playable in the game, as well as being on the cover alongside Lionel Messi, is a career highlight for me!” she said. “Getting this recognition from EA SPORTS and FIFA fans for all our hard work is a great step forward for women’s football on both a local and global scale.”
She’s the first female athlete to appear on the cover of an Australian FIFA game, beating out fellow Matildas Katrina Gorry and Kyah Simon to get there in a nine million strong global voting competition.
At a time when FIFA’s credibility is steadily tanking, their official game gets full marks for supporting sporting equality.
FIFA 16 drops September 24, 2015 in Australia and September 25 in New Zealand.