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Plugged In

13-year-old’s petition to put female soccer players in FIFA game a hit

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Rebekah Araujo hopes to get girls in EA's FIFA games

By Mike Krumboltz

Rebekah Araujo loves soccer. When she was just two-years old, her father Roberto put a soccer ball at her feet. Now, the 13-year-old Maryland girl loves playing it, talking about it, and playing video games based on it. But there is one thing she doesn't love -- the fact that EA Sports' FIFA soccer video game series doesn't include female players.

Araujo decided to take her complaint to the people, posting the following petition at Change.org.

Currently EA Sports FIFA is available in 51 countries, 18 language, and is one of the world's best selling video games. But even in 2013, you still cannot play with women soccer players.

Soccer is one of the world's most popular sports, for both men and women. Women have had an important role in the game. In fact, the US National women's soccer team alone has won two World Cups and four Olympic Gold Medals including an Olympic Gold in this past summer's games in London.

As someone who looks up to the sport, it's frustrating and disappointing to not be able to play EA FIFA with a female soccer player like me. I want to be able to see some of my favorite soccer role models, like the five time FIFA Women's World Player of the Year Marta and the 2012 Player of the Year Abby Wambach, represented in the game and I think it's time that EA FIFA introduced women players.

So far the petition has garnered over 20,000 signatures from like-minded folks in the United States, Poland, Germany, Mexico, and more. Not bad, but this isn't the first time EA Sports has been under pressure to include female athletes in its game.

Back in 2012, Fernanda Schabarum wrote a similar petition and spoke with FIFA executive producer David Rutter about it. "He said it's going to happen at some point, and he hopes EA is the one to do it, and do it right," Schabarum told game blog Kotaku.

Ah, but when? We reached out to EA Sports for comment and received the following reply from Rutter.

We have a huge respect for female athletes around the world, and love that they enjoy playing our game. Each year we get literally thousands upon thousands of suggestions from our fans for new features and we have to evaluate those suggestions, such as the inclusion of female players in the game, against our resources, priorities and overall fan feedback. Putting female players in the game is always something considered in some shape or form, but we don't have immediate plans to include female players in the game.

So, it looks like Araujo and the millions of other soccer fans still will have to wait for female players in soccer video games. But then again, EA isn't the only game in town. FIFA rival Pro Evolution Soccer from Konami could decide to beat EA Sports to the punch. We know at least one 13-year-old girl who'd buy a copy.

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