This year, the FIFA Women’s World Cup is being held across Canada. The teams will be playing in stadiums located in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, and Moncton as they compete to see who will take home the World Cup. Earlier this year, FIFA added 12 Women’s National teams to their video game FIFA16, which is set to be released in September. It’s taken EA Games 22 years to feature women’s teams, which has baffled soccer players, gamers and feminists for decades. Here are five soccer stars you should be keeping an eye out for in the games. These amazing players definitively prove that women belong on the field—both virtually and in real life.
This Brazilian soccer superstar only needs one name to be introduced–like Madonna, or God. Nicknamed “Pele with a skirt”, she also works as a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, helping promote women’s empowerment and sustainable development, all while astounding the world with her athletic prowess. She was part of the Brazilian national team that won silver at both the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, and was voted FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year for five consecutive years, from 2006-2010, until her record was broken by…
4. Homare Sawa
Japan’s key midfielder is a tiny powerhouse of soccer skills, and broke Marta’s winning streak when she was named the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year. She’s considered one of the best-ever players from Asia, and made her first professional debut in Japan’s first division in 1991 at the age of 12. Now 36, Sawa is playing in her sixth World Cup finals after recovering from a series of career-threatening injuries.
3. Abby Wambach
No female soccer player has scored more goals than Abby Wambach, who currently holds the record at 182 international goals. This is her fourth World Cup and, in 2012, she was named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year. She’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and rocks a pixie cut even harder than Emma Watson.
2. Eniola Aluko
This British soccer player is following her dream of playing in the World Cup, and temporarily putting her career as a showbiz lawyer on hold. The 28-year-old forward has been working negotiating contracts for stars like David Beckham, One Direction, and comedian Frankie Boyle. Aluko famously played at Euro 2005 while taking her A-levels. In her BBC sports blog she wrote, “My plan is to work in sports law when I finish playing […]. Women’s football is still quite young, so players aren’t always that savvy when it comes to their contracts.”
1. Christine Sinclair
Christine Sinclair is the most successful soccer player to ever come out of Canada (male or female), and only two other players have scored more than her 153 goals: the previously mentioned Abby Wambach (182), and female soccer trailblazer Mia Hamm (158). This national treasure was Canada’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies for the London Olympics, after leading her team to a bronze medal victory in 2012, where she scored six goals in six games (one ahead of USA rival and aforementioned soccer star, Abby Wambach, FYI). Sinclair is a rare inspiration for aspiring Canadian female athletes.