Sunday 08 March 2020, 11:54

Ever-growing female presence in FIFA eSports

  • Female players under contract at various clubs around the world

  • Growing number of women in the FIFA eSports scene

  • Profiles of some of the main players to mark International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March every year, and has decided to mark the occasion by shining a light on the burgeoning female presence in the FIFA eSports arena. A growing number of women are establishing themselves on the scene and looking to stick around for the long term. Here is a look at some of the FIFA eSports names and the stories behind them.

Laura Morena

Laura 'LaurixGames' Morena is the first female player to represent a professional FIFA eSports club in Spain. She signed what was an historic contract at the end of last year with Spanish team DUX Gaming, saying at the time: "It’s an honour for such a major club to show an interest in me. I’m delighted that women who play EA SPORTS FIFA and enjoy football are getting this kind of attention, and to represent and inspire them is something that I’m very happy to do."

This season has also seen her become a part of the Real Zaragoza squad for the eLa Liga, the official championship in Spain and part of the FIFA 20 Global Series. Morena is currently working hard with the coach and her team-mates to continue to improve her game and get to take part in international tournaments in the near future.

Sandra Martinez

Laura Morena is not the only woman to make it into the eLa Liga this year, as she has been joined by 25-year-old Sandra Martinez who plays for SD Huesca in the Spanish championship.

"I never expected to be discovered by a team and this is a unique opportunity for me," the Spaniard said when she signed her contract.

It will be fascinating to see how the two fare this season in the eLa Liga, which concludes with a final on 9 May.

Katarina Vukoja

The Austrian E-Bundesliga also features a woman this season with Katarina Vukoja playing for SCR Altach and showcasing her considerable skills in the final event in early February.

Vukoja’s day job is with her country’s national postal service but she spends most of her free time on the virtual pitch. She has been well established on the Austrian scene for a good while now.

Lisa Manley

NoFuchsGiven was one of the first FIFA eSports clubs to pick a female player for their team. Christian Fuchs’ club, which took part in the FIFA eClub World Cup 2019, signed England’s Lisa Manley – a footballer who had to curtail her activities on the actual pitch due to injury.

20-year-old Manley currently has a contract with Fulham, where she plays primarily in midfield. On the virtual pitch meanwhile, she has already showcased her skills in the ePremier League.

Stephanie Luana da Silva Santos

Future FC – who narrowly missed out on qualifying for this year’s FIFA eClub World Cup – signed Brazilian FIFA talent Stephanie 'Teca' Luana da Silva Santos at the end of last year to play alongside former FIFA eClub World Cup winner 'FIFA Ustun' and Israel’s Roee Feldman.

The Brazilian is one of only a few women who play FIFA full time, representing the club from her Sao Paulo home and working online with the performance team and the coach.

As is the case on actual pitches around the world, the FIFA eSports women’s scene is growing all the time and showing great potential for the coming years. Perhaps you know of other female FIFA eSports players worthy of a mention? Share your stories on Twitter with the hashtag #FIFAeWorldCup and make sure you include the handle @FIFAeWorldCup when you submit!