Women’s soccer continues to grow at a fast rate worldwide. In just the last few decades, more countries are being competitive at the highest level, and little girls are getting into the sport knowing that they have a chance to be a professional if they work hard.
That is all to say that the list of the 15 greatest female soccer players of all time might look a little different a decade or two from now. The best will not be forgotten, but new players will be recognized. For now, here are the 15 best the game has seen.
15. Megan Rapinoe
A year ago, there is no way that Megan Rapinoe would be on this list. However, she had an outstanding 2019, winning FIFA women’s player of the year. She is 34 years old, so it would seem like her best days are behind her, but she could continue to add to her resume before it is all said and done. She has become the face of the women’s national team right now, and her activism has made her a crossover star in so many ways.
14. Lotta Schelin
There is not a player from Sweden who has nearly the same credentials as Lotta Schelin. She was able to score 88 goals for her country, and almost pulled off a stunning victory in the 2016 Summer Olympics by reaching the final. Sweden was unable to compete with some of the top national teams out there, but she had success at the club level that earned her spot on this list. Not bad for a player who was told early in a career that a spinal condition would not allow her to play soccer at any level.
13. Alex Morgan
Even though the 2019 World Cup was not as dominant for Alex Morgan as she would have liked, the United States still took on the title. As it turns out, they did not need her to be dominant, as the team has so many weapons that they were still able to cruise through the tournament.
What is scary is that Morgan is the first player on this list who still has plenty of time left to add to her resume. She is coming off the birth of her first child, but she is fully prepared to come back and play at the highest level. If she can win a few more major championships, there is no reason why she can’t be in the top 10 and possibly even a top-five.
12. Hope Solo
Talented and controversial, Hope Solo anchored the defense for the United States for almost a decade. She has the most shut outs in United States women’s national team history, and her two gold medals and one World Cup title speak for themselves.Although she has been involved in some off the field issues that sometimes derail her accomplishments, she is in the discussion for greatest goalkeeper of all time.
Marta received most of the attention for Brazil over the last two decades, but Christiane had a great career as well. She is still playing at this point, but during her prime, she was one of the best in the world.
Brazil finished as runner ups in both the World Cup in the Olympics, which might be the only real knock on her career. If they were able to push through and win just one of those major titles, she could be in the top 10. She is still the leading score in Olympic history, and has shown that she is very durable as well. Her career might be coming to a close, but it will be a long time before people forget about her play on the pitch.
10. Ada Hegerberg
The Norwegian soccer star Ada Hegerberg is one of the most talented players to ever play the game. However, she is not only known as one of the best players in the world, but also as one of the most popular players among both fans and teammates.
She became historic when she received the first ever women’s ballon d’Or reward 2018, which wasn’t just important for Ada, but for women’s soccer overall. Ada Hegerberg is already a world class player that will go down in history as one of the greatest ever, however, in a couple of years, will she be regarded as the greatest of all time?
9. Nadine Angerer
The first goalkeeper to make this list is Germany’s Nadine Angerer, and it really is impossible to argue against. She was a two time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, and she anchored a defense that helped win a pair of World Cup championships. She had to wait her turn behind Silke Rottenberg, But then showed that she was actually an even better option. She made a name for herself internationally, but she also lead her club teams to plenty of success.
8. Carli Lloyd
The story is not all complete just yet, but Carli Lloyd is still a top 10 player even if she never plays again. She was dominant at the international club level for a long time before her run in 2015, when she led the United States to a World Cup championship. She plays more of a mentorship role on the international squad these days, but still has something left in short spurts.
7. Sun Wen
It is impossible to talk about Chinese soccer without bringing up Sun Wen. She was truly dominant during her prime, and showed that she was arguably the best player in the world in 1999 when she won the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot at the World Cup. She gets overlooked a bit these days, but the truth is, she was the FIFA Women’s Player of the Century to close out the 2000 season.
6. Christine Sinclair
Talk to any soccer fan in Canada, and Sinclair belongs near the top of his list. She had the credentials to be a star for any team, and she dominated every level. Canada did not have a lot of international success, but two WPS championships and two NWSL championships puts her on the shortlist of greatest club players in recent memory.
5. Abby Wambach
Versatile forward Abby Wambach is on a shortlist of greatest players of all time, but only winning one World Player of the Year award hurts her case. She was able to achieve so much as far as team success is concerned, and is still the only player who can challenge Mia Hamm as the best from the United States.
She does have one of the most memorable goals in soccer history, making a last-minute header in the 2004 Olympic finals to give United States the gold medal. She also helped to kickstart a new dominant run for the women’s team in the World Cup, taking home the title in 2015.
4. Birgit Prinz
Prinz is a big reason why Germany turned into a dominant team at the World Cup level. She was able to help them win a pair of World Cup championships, and her individual success lead to three Player of the Year awards.
With 410 goals scored between international and club play, Prinz is easily considered the best player in women’s German soccer. The country is still looking to get back to international relevance.
3. Homare Sawa
Bursting onto the scene in the early 1990s, Sawa quickly became the face women’s Japanese soccer. She turned into a national hero when she won the World Cup title for her country. In total, she competed in six World Cups and four Olympic games. She was almost always the go-to player on offense, turning Japan into a legitimate threat.
2. Mia Hamm
If anyone can make a case for number one other than Marta, it is Mia Hamm. Although she won just two FIFA World Player of the Year awards, she was able to achieve much more team success. She won a pair of World Cups with United States, plus an Olympic gold medal. She also won four national championship in college, and helped pave the way for the Women’s Professional Soccer League.
The stand out for the Brazilian national team has six FIFA World Player of the Year awards to her name. Although she was never able to win a major championship with her country, her individual talent is impossible to overlook. She was able to score in creative ways, open up space for others, dribble as well as anyone, and turn into an unstoppable force in so many ways. This makes her the best soccer player of the game has ever seen.