Australian football dynamo Sam Kerr has become the first woman to ever grace the global cover of EA Sport’s long-running FIFA franchise. The Matilda’s forward was revealed as the FIFA 23 cover athlete, starring alongside Paris St Germain striker, Kylian Mbappé for the video game’s Ultimate Edition. The landmark acknowledgement continues Kerr’s incredible ascent to sport‘s Mount Olympus, arriving just months after the Australian captain was awarded the Professional Footballers’ Association Women’s Players’ Player of the Year.
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Two phenomenal forces up front.
One ultimate strike partnership.
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) July 18, 2022
The new FIFA 23 Ultimate Edition cover was revealed in a tweet by EA Sports on Tuesday, alongside the caption: “Two phenomenal forces up front. One ultimate strike partnership”. For Mbappé, who is among the highest-paid athletes in the world, the honour marks his third straight appearance on the international cover, however, Kerr’s representation arrives with added prestige. She follows in the footsteps of fellow Australian Steph Catley, who adorned the domestic FIFA cover, alongside superstar Lionel Messi back in 2016.
Until now, no female footballer had graced the global cover of the much-loved FIFA gaming franchise. US women’s national team striker Alex Morgan and international football all-time top scorer Christine Sinclair previously starred in the US and Canadian versions, however, Kerr’s appointment raises the bar for women’s sport.
It follows an incredible few years for the Fremantle native, who managed to lead her league club, Chelsea, to a second consecutive Women’s Super League title, not to mention a second FA Cup earlier this year. Her inspirational efforts saw her claim a second Golden Boot award with bookies placing her as the odds-on favourite to collect her first Ballon d’Or and FIFA Player of the Year gongs. With the kind of year that Kerr has had, it makes sense to put her front and centre, but there is still work to be done.
Despite the steadily growing popularity of women’s football, EA Sports is yet to feature women’s leagues in the game’s Career Mode. There are international women’s teams included in the game, with female players added to the online social Pro Clubs mode, but the franchise has stopped short of making it truly mixed. That may soon be about to change, however.
With EA Sports set to end its long-running partnership with FIFA, further expansion in the women’s space may be on the cards. As ABC rightly points out, women’s clubs Olympique Lyonnais and Manchester City already feature in some of the new marketing material posted online. The full FIFA 23 reveal trailer will be posted on July 20, however, there is an official countdown already underway. To learn more, check out EA Sports’ rundown via the link below.