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EA Sports removes 13 women players from FIFA 16 due to NCAA pressure

Sydney Leroux FIFA16



If it’s in the game, it’s in the game. Unless the NCAA is involved apparently.

EA Sports has decided to remove 13 women players from its upcoming video game, FIFA 16, because of concerns from the NCAA. The college sports organization does not permit its students to be compensated financially for participating and competing in athletics, and it recently told EA Sports that 13 players would be putting their eligibility at risk if they were included in the latest installment of the popular soccer series.

EA Sports never paid or intended to pay the players for their appearances in the historic first soccer video game to include women’s teams, but nonetheless has given in to the NCAA’s request so as to not put the 13 players in jeopardy of being punished. None of the players are members of the U.S. Women’s National Team.

“Of the hundreds of players on these rosters, 13 are currently attending or likely to attend NCAA-sanctioned schools in the U.S.,” EA said in a statement on its website. “The NCAA recently informed EA Sports that these 13 student-athletes would be risking their eligibility for collegiate athletics by being included in FIFA 16.

“We do not agree with this position. All rights were secured following standard protocol with national governing bodies and federations, and none of these NCAA student-athletes or potential student-athletes were to be individually compensated by EA Sports for their inclusion in the game.”

The 13 players in question, which will be replaced on their countries’ rosters by other real players further down their respective depth charts, are below:

Kadeisha Buchanan, Canada
Jessie Fleming, Canada
Ashley Lawrence, Canada
Janine Beckie, Canada
Rebecca Quinn, Canada
Sura Yekka, Canada
Celia Jiménez, Spain
Tanya Samarzich, Mexico
Greta Espinoza, Mexico
Christina Murillo, Mexico
Amanda Perez, Mexico
Emily Alvarado, Mexico
Maria Sanchez, Mexico

FIFA 16 will hit stores nationwide in the United States on Tuesday, and it will be available on the Xbox One, Playstation 4, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles. It will also be played on Microsoft Windows, Android and iOS.


What do you think about this news? Should the 13 players be allowed to be included in FIFA 16? Hoping at least one of them fights the NCAA on this?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Interesting that none of the 13 players are American. This points to just how hard it is to make the cut on the USWNT – not a single current college player on the US women’s roster.

    All these foreign players – including on the men’s side – who come to the states to play collegiate, do they have to renounce any club affiliation back home? Can they collect salaries when they play soccer for the Ajax youth system, or Sao Paolo, or whoever? I could see that being a serious road block for college recruiting of international athletes. Youth soccer players can sign contracts in some countries as early as 14. And they’re supposed to walk away from that to play a couple years at UCLA? Tough sell.

  2. Personally I think adding the women’s teams and players was a crap move by EA just so they didn’t have to actually improve the game this year. Almost everyone plays online FUT and Career mode offline so adding women’s teams that have neither FUT nor Career options didn’t do anything for the game except add some good PR points and possible eye-candy.

    So excuse me if I don’t cheer for meaningless PR moves while the Brazilian league is still absent, while there is no Concacaf champions league, no Concacaf World Cup qualification system, and no Concacaf teams outside of the US and Mexico. It really is all about the European teams only despite the US being the biggest fanbase.

    • Well, what do American fans consume more of, European domestic football or their own?

      And it’s well-know that EA only goes all out on int’l teams for the World Cup games. Nothing new.

    • Well, if we were to break that down, is his airfare to the locations paid? Hotel? Probably a per diem (I know we’d get those in college if we didn’t eat as a group for a meal)? One thing he’s not getting is the appearance fee/salary.

      That being said, without getting into the money swamp that is D1 athletics these days (TV deals, constant conference shifts, etc), isn’t there (at least on and off) a NCAA football video game? The hypocrisy of it all. And while I grant that someone (NT? FIFA?) was getting paid for their likeness, they weren’t getting any (and any kickbacks could be policed, we need not assume).

      • re: airfare, hotels and per diems; the same happens already for them when they travel to away games. That wouldn’t jeopardize their amateur eligibility.

        and no there isn’t an NCAA video game anymore, not since the O’Bannon vs EA trial (not sure if that was the actual name used). Everyone thought it would allow for student athletes to get paid but it backfired and just made EA stop making the games.

  3. The NCAA is a joke – it makes millions off of free labor and watches like a hawk to make sure none of those players make a cent from their own hard work.

    • The world must be ending because I have found myself agreeing with you more and more recently on this site.

      Kidding aside, NCAA is a racket. Make millions probably billions off students, and compensates them minimally if at all, while putting restrictions on their ability to work during the school year or off-season (at least when I was in school). To those who say “these guys get a free education”, I know guys who played football and basketball in college. They legitimately spent 45-55 hours a week at practice, meetings, working out, games and travel. The ones who were scrubs and skipped the “optional’ commitments were the ones had the time to be real students.


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