Canada Soccer disappointed at college players being dropped from FIFA video game

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The Canadian Soccer Association says it is disappointed by an NCAA stance that has resulted in six of its women’s internationals being dropped from the new “FIFA 16” video game.

EA Sports, which makes the soccer game in suburban Vancouver, said it had been informed by the NCAA that the six Canadian — and seven other — college players would be risking their eligibility by being in the game.

“Protecting the interests of our players in the long run is of paramount importance for us and while we are disappointed by the NCAA ruling and its impact on six of our athletes, Canada Soccer is supportive of EA Sports’s resulting action to not include them in this year’s game,” Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, said in a statement Friday.

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“We are extremely proud and excited to see both our men’s national team and women’s national team represented in a world-renown franchise such as EA Sports FIFA 16 and look forward to providing Canadian fans with another way to experience our brand of international soccer.”

An NCAA spokesman declined comment Friday.

The players involved are Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan, Jessie Fleming, Ashley Lawrence, Janine Beckie, Rebecca Quinn and Sura Yekka, Mexico’s Tanya Samarzich, Greta Espinoza, Christina Murillo, Amanda Perez, Emily Alvarado, and Maria Sanchez, and Spain’s Celia Jimenez.

Women are included in the game for the first time, with Canada and 11 other national teams represented.

Buchanan, a junior at West Virginia, was delighted when news of the women’s inclusion was initially announced in late May.

“This is super-sick. Never would have thought in my life this would happen. Love it,” she tweeted.

There was less reaction this time, with several of the Canadian women simply retweeting the EA statement on the roster changes.

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EA says the collegiate players will be replaced in the game by women who have played for the national teams in question.

The Canadian men’s team is also featured in the new game after being absent in recent editions.

“FIFA 16” comes out Sept. 22 on PC, Xbox One and 360, and PlayStation 3 and 4.

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Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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