Alex Morgan FIFA

EA Sports' FIFA video game debuted in 1993, but only its most recent edition, FIFA 16, includes female players. It features 12 international teams, including the U.S.

Gamers have responded.

"If you take the U.S. Women as a singular team and you look at the 600 teams you can play with on a global basis, not just in the U.S., the U.S. Women, they're actually the 23rd-most played team around the world in FIFA 16, which is a stunning statistic," says Peter Moore, EA Sports COO.

USWNT

Moore revealed this fact at BlazerCon, a two-day soccer conference in Brooklyn hosted by Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, the hosts of Men in Blazers. Moore sat on a panel with Bennett.

"Here's a better stat," he says. "Alex Morgan has now scored a million goals. And the goalkeeper is getting p***ed off. She's the first woman to reach a million."

Morgan appears on the FIFA 16 U.S. edition cover alongside Barcelona star Lionel Messi. Any skepticism on the interest in women's teams by gamers can be debunked by Moore's stats. FIFA 16 has not even been out for two months and people are already hooked on the virtual U.S. Women's National Team.

Sydney Leroux

"That's humongous," former U.S. star Brandi Chastain told ThePostGame. "That's like stepping into an environment that no one thinks you belong in. I think about '96 [Olympics], which was the first year women's soccer was a participating sport. Think about it. 100 years and it just became part of the games.

"I'd love to see the '99 team be able to play the 2015 team. Now, people can play both sides of that game."

Moore was born in Liverpool, but has spent most of his adult life in the U.S. He acknowledged the massive interest in the U.S. Women's National Team right now and how it could no longer be ignored. The USWNT won the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada, the nation's first title since 1999.

"When add Alex, and you add Abby [Wambach] and you throw Carli Lloyd in there and you have that final, I just felt sorry for Japan," Moore says.

For current players, being included in the game is progress but not the end goal.

"We think it was a very smart move for FIFA to put us in the game and we hope it pays off for them because not only is it a cool thing for us, but a cool thing for everyone," says midfielder Heather O'Reilly, who sat on a BlazerCon panel with teammates Ali Krieger and Becky Sauerbrunn and moderator Katie Nolan of Fox Sports.

USWNT At BlazerCon

O'Reilly also half-jokingly questions the FIFA 16 rankings system. She is an overall 81 rating, while Krieger is an 82 and Sauerbrunn an 86.

"I was disappointed in my speed, to be honest," O'Reilly says. "I'm a lot faster than that."

EA Sports was a sponsor of BlazerCon, and Nolan took this as an opportunity to put the brand on the spot.

"You should just probably show us how fast you are," Nolan said to O'Reilly. "We should have a footrace. Aren't the people at EA the ones who make the ratings? If you show them that you can run fast…"

Sauerbrunn said: "I would say that they absolutely should be higher."

Meanwhile, Krieger said with a laugh, "I wish I could score as many goals as I can in FIFA."

USWNT FIFA 16 Launch Party

One aspect of FIFA 16 the women's players tip their hat: Graphics. When all three were asked if a teammate's virtual equivalent was botched, no one could think of an obvious answer.

"I think there were a few that were so spot on like Megan Rapinoe and Sydney Leroux," O'Reilly said. "They have all the tattoos accurate."

Moore, who says "FIFA" is probably more associated with the video game than the world soccer organization, revealed some other notable statistics on FIFA. He claims "50 percent of [U.S.] players now consider [soccer] a favorite sport" and "34 percent of U.S. players become pro [soccer] fans after playing the video game (meaning they go to an MLS game, buy merchandise or even travel to Europe for a game)."

Moore also explained that due to population, "More people in the U.S. play Real Madrid-Barcelona in FIFA 16 than they do in Spain."

According to Moore, the FIFA series doubled its "population" from 2013 to 2015. The U.S.'s craze for sports and video games makes it a juicy target for FIFA. A video game driving a sport's foothold in a nation may have been a ludicrous idea a decade ago, but in 2015, U.S. Soccer can only buy into it.

"We believe we've been instrumental, the invisible hand in driving this love of the game," Moore says of soccer in the U.S.

For almost two months now, that invisible hand has included virtual women's soccer players. From a moral sense, this addition is a long time coming. From a business sense, this boom for women's soccer, both at the video game and real-life level through EA Sports' use of women's players, is only beginning.

Maybe Heather O'Reilly will be faster in FIFA 17.

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U.S. Women's World Cup Hometown Craft Beers

 

Shannon Boxx

Shannon Boxx, M, Redondo Beach, Calif. Absolution Brewing Co. in Torrance is barely a year old. It also produces root beer and cream soda in addition to its alcoholic brew, which all carry religious monikers. Cardinal Sin Crimson Ale, Purgatory Hefeweizen and Sinner Stout are just the beginning.

 

Morgan Brian

Morgan Brian, M, St. Simon's Island, Ga. There isn't a single brewery in St. Simon’s Island, and there aren't many near it. But head north to Savannah, Georgia, and you'll find Moon River Brewing Company, a brewery that claims its building is haunted. Watch out for "Toby."

 

Lori Chalupny

Lori Chalupny, D, St. Louis It's almost impossible to pick just one brewery that represents the St. Louis area. The leader in St. Louis' craft beer movement, however, is almost certainly Schlafly -- the guys and girls at Schlafly market the company as "The Saint. Louis Brewery" with no (visible) apology to Anheuser-Busch. The company took a major step last October when it expanded sales the Chicago area.

 

Whitney Engen

Whitney Engen, D, Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. Strand Brewing Co. resides in Torrance, five miles from Engen's hometown. The six-year-old brewery recently earned the 2015 Small Business of the Year Award for the 66th assembly district. Strand hasn't brewed many super adventurous beers, but judging by its success, it doesn't really need one.

 

Ashlyn Harris

Ashlyn Harris, GK, Satellite Beach, Fla. Approximately six miles from Harris' hometown and on the opposite side of the Indian River sits the Intracoastal Brewing Co. It features Shellfish Warning Saison!, a stout brewed with Florida panhandle oysters, and Black and Blue Porter, a blueberry porter. According to Florida Today, more than 1,000 patrons at its 2013 opening consumed 212 total gallons. Don't worry about doing the math -- it's more than 2,261 12-ounce servings.

 

Tobin Heath

Tobin Heath, M, Basking Ridge, N.J. Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery in Berkeley Heights is approximately eight miles from Heath's hometown. Unfortunately, part of the building was damaged in April after a brewing tank ruptured. This place is certainly one of the more upscale craft breweries and restaurants in New Jersey.

 

Lauren Holiday

Lauren Holiday, M, Indianapolis Sun King Brewing Co., located in downtown Indianapolis, has produced at least 185 beers, according to its beer list. Its Lonesome Dove and Barrel Aged Batch 666: Sympathy for the Devil earned gold and silver medals respectively at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.

 

Julie Johnston

Julie Johnston, D, Mesa, Ariz. Desert Eagle Brewing Co. is yet another young brewery on our list. Founded in 2011, Desert Eagle resides on Main Street in Mesa and boasts weekly live music and a handful of beers with bird references in their monikers. No birds were harmed in the making of the beer.

 

Meghan Klingenberg

Meghan Klingenberg, D, Gibsonia, Pa. Gibsonia is just 16 miles from Pittsburgh, and the Steel City is home to Church Brew Works, a brewery literally housed in a former church. Church won the Great American Beer Festival's 2012 Large Brewpub of the Year Award. No word on if the holy nature of its operation had any effect on the judges.

 

Ali Krieger

Ali Krieger, D, Dumfries, Va. Voted 2015 Best Local Brewery in the D.C. area by the Washington City Paper, Port City Brewing Company is 27 miles from Krieger's hometown. The brewery and Pacers Running, an East Coast-based shoe store, host a "Joggers and Lagers" event most Mondays throughout the summer, where attendees can jog a pre-determined route and subsequently feel less guilty about consuming craft beer.

 

Sydney Leroux

Sydney Leroux, F, Phoenix Phoenix is loaded with craft breweries, and Sun Up Brewing Co. is one of the best. Uwe Boer is the head brewmaster at Sun Up and was touted as the "olliest man in brewing" by the Phoenix New Times in 2012. Hefty praise, sure, but if there's one word you'd want the man brewing your beer to be described as, it might as well be jolly.

 

Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd, M, Delran, N.J. Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant is six miles from Lloyd’s hometown, but has 11 total locations in the northeastern United States. Despite being a chain, its beers frequently earn medals at both the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. Its Russian Imperial Stout has won six combined gold medals between both events.

 

Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan, F, Diamond Bar, Calif. Sanctum Brewing Co. in Ponoma has a number of interesting beers on top. Newtonian was brewed with honey and fiji apples. Leftovers was brewed with leftover grains, wheat and cranberries. But the most adventurous of all their brews is Hamish the Red, an imperial red ale brewed with turnips. Turnips.

 

Alyssa Naeher

Alyssa Naeher, GK, Bridgeport, Conn. – Two Roads Brewing lies only four miles from Naeher’s home of Bridgeport. Two Roads boasts some pretty memorable beer labels, the most impressive of which is the barrel-aged version of their Route of All Evil Black Ale. The menacing looking chili pepper on the label boasts that the beer was aged with hot peppers, which is surprisingly not a rare occurrence in the craft beer world.

 

Kelley O'Hara

Kelley O'Hara, D, Fayetteville, Ga. Approximately 14 miles from Fayetteville sits Jailhouse Brewing Co., a brewery housed in an old jail. The names of the beers are exactly what you'd expect: Misdemeanor Ale, Mugshot IPA, Breakout Stout, Conjugal Visit Imperial Red Ale.

 

Heather O’Reilly

Heather O’Reilly, M, East Brunswick, N.J. Triumph Brewing Co. in Princeton is one of two of the brewery's locations. It features an Oatmeal Cream Porter, which sounds like an incredibly good beer to cap a meal with. Plus, it's pouring $3 pints during an U.S. Women's matches!

 

Christen Press

Christen Press, F, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. The Dudes Brewing Co. in Torrance, like any good craft brewery, has a number of unique beers on tap. Grandma's Pecan, an English style, is brewed with pecans, as you might expect. Juicebox Series, which features an orange having a jolly good time on its label, is brewed with cocoa nibs vanilla beans and blood oranges. Odd combo.

 

Christie Rampone

Christie Rampone, D, Point Pleasant, N.J. Rinn Duin Brewery of Toms River officially opened in 2014. The brewery is named after an Irish castle, and has numerous Irish- and English-inspired beers. All of the beers on the menu are described as either Irish, English or Scottish style, and can only be found in New Jersey.

 

Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe, M, Redding, Calif. Wildcard Brewing Co. was founded by husband and wife Jeff and Jenny Hansen. Many of their beers have luck or gambling-themed names, like Double Down, Dumb Luck, Liar’s Dice and Shot in the Dark. It's fitting considering the brewery's name and the amount of risk the Hansens took in opening a brewery in the first place.

 

Amy Rodriguez

Amy Rodriguez, F, Lake Forest, Calif. California boasts the most natives on the roster. Luckily for us, California is home to approximately more than 550 craft breweries. Tustin Brewing Co. in nearby Tustin opened in 1996. It brews fairly basic beer, but its Golden Spike Light Ale and Blimp Hangar Porters are former medalists at the Great American Beer Festival.

 

Becky Sauerbrunn

Becky Sauerbrunn, D, St. Louis, Mo. Good thing the team has more than one player from St. Louis, because the home of the Cardinals has so, so many breweries worth mentioning. 4 Hands Brewing Co. is only four years old, yet its beer list is stacked. One of the more interesting brews is Ca$h Mony, an Imperial IPA brewed with what Four Hands calls a "wasteful" amount of hops.

 

Hope Solo

Hope Solo, GK, Richland, Wash. Founded in 2010, White Bluffs Brewery in Richland doesn't really have an "out there" beer. However, itsRed Alt took home a Great American Beer Award in 2014. In fact, Red Alt has earned a number of awards, and is a two-time champion of the German Hybrid Beers Division of the Washington Beer Awards.

 

Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach, F, Rochester, N.Y. Rohrbach Brewing Co. is a 24-year-old company in Wambach's hometown. The long-time New York brewery has donated more than $500,000 to Rochester charities over its lifetime. Recently, Rohrbach rolled out the first beer in its Neoteric Series, an India Pale Lager with orange and grapefruit.

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-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.