The 12 teams of the National Women’s Soccer League will soon join the roster of playable squads in FIFA 23, EA Sports announced on Monday, and they will be part of the renamed EA Sports FC when that game launches later in the fall. EA Sports said the teams would be available in-game beginning March 15.
A licensing partnership with the NWSL Players Association means all of the league’s real-life performers will be part of FIFA 23 as well. The NWSL’s 12 clubs make for a total of 36 in the video game debut year for women’s professional soccer. (It’s also the first year a women’s pro, Sam Kerr of Chelsea, is on the cover of the global bestseller.) They join the 12 teams of the Women’s Super League in the United Kingdom, and France’s Division 1, also comprising 12 sides.
All 36 teams are available in the game’s Kick Off modes of play (Classic, House Rules, and Volta), plus Tournament Mode, Head to Head and Co-op Seasons, and Online Friendlies. Four NWSL stadiums will also be present in the game, though EA Sports didn’t say which; four MLS venues where NWSL teams also play home games (BMO Stadium, Lumen Field, Providence Park, and Red Bull Arena), are already in FIFA 23.
EA Sports had previously said other features of top-flight women’s soccer, including the UEFA Women’s Champions’ League, and the 2023 Women’s World Cup, would arrive to the game in time for those events’ kick-offs.
“We’re passionate about EA Sports continuing to be a changemaker for women’s football, and our partnership with both the NWSL and the NWSLPA is another step we’re taking as an organization to advance the sport,” Andrea Hopelain, EA Sports’ senior vice president for brand, said in a statement.
The NWSL’s next season opens on March 25, with two matches broadcast on Paramount Plus and CBS Sports’ streaming service. It’s the 11th season for the league, begun in 2013 as the successor to Women’s Professional Soccer and the Women’s United Soccer Association, dating back to 2001. Portland Thorns FC is the league’s reigning champion, the club’s third overall.