Women began playing soccer in the late 1880’s but it wasn’t of the level that it is today. It took a long time for women’s soccer to reach great heights and gain recognition. In 1982, the first ever women’s UEFA championship was held and later in the 1990’s, the first Olympic Soccer tournament and World Cup was held for women. Since then, this sport has continued to rise in popularity.
As the sport gained popularity in the last twenty to twenty-five years, the list contains of mostly modern era women soccer players. The diversity among the players on this list just goes to show how popular the sport has grown on an international level. Most of the players are still playing at various clubs and still have a chance of getting better and being the best at the sport. Regardless of their nationality or playing status, these women just tend to prove how much they deserve to be on this list. With their athletic ability they deserve all the celebration and recognition that they can get.
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Here is the list of the Top 10 best Female Soccer Players:
10. NADINE ANGERER
In her most recent achievements, Nadine has won the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Award, becoming the first ever goalkeeper in the history of football to win this award. She also holds the record at 540 minutes for not allowing a goal in consecutive matches. Throughout the 2007 World Cup, not a single goal was scored against Nadine. Her name was also on the team sheet for the starting squad for Germany women’s soccer team. In 2009 and 2013, Germany’s women’s soccer team won the UEFA Women’s Championship. Also in 2008, her team won a bronze medal in the Olympics.
9. KRISTINE LILLY
Till date Kristine Lilly holds the record for 352 caps in a career that began in 1987 and ended just in 2012. No other player – male or female – comes near this record that Kristine holds. She led the team as a captain and also in attack as a striker. Throughout her career, Kristine has competed in five World Cups. In which, her team was placed third in three of them and won the Cup twice. She also is a three time Olympian out of which she has won gold twice. She played as a forward for the Boston Breakers for four seasons, at club level and is now an assistant coach for the same.
8. SUN WEN
Sun Wen scoring a 106 times from 152 matches for China is easily one of the best female soccer stars of China. She has helped her national team win a silver medal at the Olympics, in 1996. Her greatest accomplishment came in 1999 Women’s World Cup, when she won the golden boot and the golden ball awards and China finished second at the competition. Among two, she was one of the recipients of the FIFA Female soccer Players of the Century Award along with Michelle Akers in 2002.
7. ABBY WAMBACH
Abby Wambach has scored a total of 167 international goals for which she holds a record. No other player in history of football has scored these many for their country. And to add to that, most of her goals she has scored at the biggest stages. She has represented her country at the World Stage thrice from which her country came second once and third twice. Also she has three Olympic Gold medals on her name. She is also the first soccer player to win the AP Athlete of the Year award in 2013 and the first American woman to win the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year award.
6. BIRGIT PRINZ
Birgit Prinz is the most capped non-American soccer player of the world. Playing for Germany international, she has been a three time FIFA World Player of the Year Award. In 2003 and 2007, she led Germany to the World Cup title. For three years, she won the bronze medal at the Olympics precisely in 2000, 2004 and 2008. She is also tied for the FIFA women’s World Cup all time leading scorer at 14 goals. She has won eight Bundesliga titles and 3 UEFA Women’s Cup at club level. Even though she retired in 2011, her legacy as one of the best female soccer players is well established.
5. HOMARE SAWA
One of the best play making players at midfield in women’s soccer is Homare Sawa. She led her team with her captaincy at Japan to an Olympic silver medal in 2012 and the 2011 Women’s World Cup title, and also won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot for the Most Valuable Player and leading scorer in the 2011 World Cup. She also won the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Award in 2011 and her legacy had been cemented since then. She is one amongst the Top 10 Greatest Female Soccer Players In The World 2017.
4. MICHELLE AKERS
The former captain of the United States women’s soccer team was Michelle Akers. In 1991, the golden boot was awarded to Michelle for being the top scorer at the World Cup. And also in the same year, she scored a fantastic total of 39 goals in just 26 international matches. All this was surprising due to the fact that, Akers was not a forward but a midfielder. She received FIFA’s highest possible honor in 1998, the FIFA Medal of Merit. She was named the FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2002 and also was one of the only two women ranked in the FIFA’s Top 100 List in 2004.
3. CHRISTINE SINCLAIR
Christine Sinclair currently is the third all-time lead scorer with 148 international goals. But as she is still playing at present, she may surpass both Hamm and Wambach to be the first all time lead scorer. The Canadian captain and record goal scorer, Sinclair led her national team to the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup title in 2010 and an Olympic bronze in 2012, scoring a legendary hat-trick in a losing semi-finals effort against the United States. She is also an eleven-time winner of the Canada Soccer Player of the Year award and has been a nominee for the FIFA World Player of the Year award six times.
Hailed as one of the most talented female soccer players in history is Marta. She had also been awarded the FIFA Player of the Year for five consecutive years beginning in 2006. She also helped Brazil finish runner-up in the 2007 Women’s World Cup, winning the Golden Ball and Golden Boot for the best player and top scorer in the tournament. Currently, she is tied for the all-time leading goalscorer with Brigit Prinz with 14 goals in the Women’s World Cup.
1. MIA HAMM
Mia had retired in 2004, but still today she is the face of women’s soccer for casual fans. She has been the FIFA Player of the Year twice. She was in the squad of the United States when they won the World Cup in 1991 and 1999. Also, she was playing when the States won Olympics gold medal in 1996 and 2004. She has scored a 158 goals on the international level for her country and ranks second in the world in all time leading goal scorers. She was one of the just two women to get a spot in the FIFA’S Top 100 List. More than her achievements and awards, she is looked up to as an idol for any sports in the United States. And she always has her spot in any conversation about female soccer.
This was the list of the Top 10 most popular and greatest female soccer players 2017 with a sneak peek into their career and achievements. Today, there has remained no barrier of gender to hinder the development of women across the sectors.