July 20, 2015 - 8:00 PM
TORONTO - Canadian soccer captain Christine Sinclair is not just in the game, she's on the cover.
EA Sports announced Monday that the 32-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., will share the Canadian cover of "FIFA 16" with Barcelona star Lionel Messi. U.S. international striker Alex Morgan will be on the American cover with Messi.
They join Australian Steph Catley, who will be showcased in Australia, as the first women to appear as the face of the hit video game franchise.
"This year's World Cup showcased the unbelievable talent and skill in women's soccer," Sinclair said in a statement. "I'm thrilled that EA Sports is celebrating female athletes in 'FIFA 16.' To be featured in the game and to promote women's soccer with Alex is really special and another exciting step for women in sports."
The video game developer announced in late May that the new version of the game would feature 12 women's national teams for the first time in the 22-year history of the franchise.
Teams from Canada, Australia, Brazil, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. will be available to play in several game modes including Kick Off, an offline tournament, as well as online friendly matches.
The women's teams will "compete exclusively'' against each other in the game, according to EA Sports.
"As soon as we knew women's national teams were joining 'FIFA 16,' we immediately recognized that Christine and Alex would be the perfect cover athletes based on their accomplishments and what they represent for their respective countries and the sport of women's soccer," said David Pekush, senior manager of North America marketing for EA Sports.
"They are exhilarating players and exude heart and courage on the pitch, and we are extremely proud to be working with them this year."
The Canadian women appear to have it over their male counterparts. While EA has yet to announce the men's national teams in the new game, Canada was not one of the 47 squads in "FIFA 15.''
The Canadian women are ranked 11th in the world by FIFA, compared to No. 103 for the men.
Messi has been a constant on the cover in recent years, with other athletes added for local editions of the game, which is developed in Burnaby, B.C.
The video game developer says it captured the likeness, body movements and playing styles of star players like Canada's Sinclair, America's Morgan, and England's Stephanie Houghton.
Morgan and three other U.S. internationals — Sydney Leroux, Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe — took part in a motion capture session which the developer says helped to "build new locomotion for women" in the game.
"It is an incredible honour to be one of the first women featured on the cover of 'EA Sports FIFA,'" said Morgan. "I know people all over the world play this game and I'm really excited that 'FIFA 16' is putting such an important spotlight on women's soccer. And now to share the cover with today's greatest player is surreal."
Canadian players also visited the EA studio for 360-degree body scanning, used to develop player models.
EA says its mobile headscanning unit travelled around the world to capture facial features, including hairstyles, to ensure players look as realistic as possible.
"FIFA 16" will be available Sept. 22 PC, Xbox One and 360, and PlayStation 3 and 4.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015