Why it Matters if Canada is in FIFA 14

Being in the popular video game can improve identification with the Canadian team
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, September 26, 2013

Made in Canada - coverage of the Canadian MLS, NASL & USL Clubs, CSL, PCSL, Canadian Championship & Canada National Teams

The Canadian Men’s National Team will not be available in the newest version of EA Sports’ FIFA game in spite of EA Sports being a Canadian company.

Some people will say that it is just a video game and ask what all the fuss is about? Many people will just want to watch the actual game or play it themselves because they, to paraphrase Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson “are grown-ass men.”

Canadian soccer is in a tough place. To grow it, new generations must identify with the Canadian team and be inspired to play for it and to support it. For this video games are indeed important. For many the FIFA game has functioned as an entry to the consumption of soccer, rather than merely participation in it.

Obviously there are those that will always choose the best teams, be it Barcelona, Manchester United, Brazil or Germany. But the presence of a team means that it is available. It is a stamp of approval and of relevancy. Being Danish I enjoyed being able to play with the Danish team even if it wasn’t the best team, because it was mine. The same thing goes with club teams; local clubs have special appeals because they are closer to their fans.

Because of modern technology and the multiculturalism of Canada, the youngsters (and adults) are overly exposed to foreign soccer teams, both clubs and international sides. Parallel to improved infrastructure and governance of player development in Canada, those are obviously essential; it will boost Canadian soccer if the local game can be a bigger part of the soccer consciousness of Canadian fans.

We shouldn’t fool ourselves. Being in FIFA 14 (or FIFA 15) won’t get Canada to the World Cup. That requires talented players that can execute a plan better than other teams. But what Canada being in the FIFA series can do, is it to be part of raising the awareness and appreciation of elite local soccer. If it can do that, then in an indirect way it’ll allow for EA Sports to claim a stake in that achievement.

Henrik LONNE

Copenhagen Business School
Club Domestic:
AGF Aarhus
Club Foreign:
Toronto FC
Born and raised in Denmark, the US performance in the 2002 World Cup dragged Henrik into the world of North American soccer. Subsequent trips to Canada made him a Toronto FC fan from abroad. The passion he now has for MLS outshines most European leagues.