Best Female Soccer Players Of All-Time

Women’s professional football has risen in popularity over the last few decades. While the global stage gets most of the attention with the Olympics and World Cup, there are now more stable professional leagues around the world. There are a few football powerhouses that produce top talents like Brazil, the United States, Canada, and Sweden. Most of the football’s top female talents have come out of the last ten years with the sport. You currently have names like Marta out of Brazil and Christine Sinclair out of Canada.

1. Marta

Starting with the Brazilian National Team at the age of 17, Marta is one of the best players of all-time. While she has never won a World Cup or Olympic gold, she has produced 29 goals and ten assists in 55 national team appearances. She does have a Copa America trophy under her belt and is viewed as the best football player in her country’s history. Marta continues to play with the Orlando Pride here in the United States and has over 20 goals in three seasons as she is now 34 years old. This is quite impressive given the age factor. The Brazilian International has many accolades as she was 2018’s Best FIFA Women’s Player. She is a three-time FIFA Women’s World XI and also was the Golden Ball winner in the 2007 World Cup. This was just a start for being the all-time World Cup goals leader among men and women. Marta has averaged almost a goal a game during her international career.

2. Mia Hamm

Mia Hamm was the face of US Women’s Soccer, and she played from 1991 to 2004, where she won two Olympic golds and also two World Cup trophies. Hamm was also a five-time USSF Female Athlete of the Year. Hamm has eight career goals at the World Cupp and six assists. She also has five goals for the Olympics as well. Hamm made 276 international appearances and had 158 goals. She was another name to go to North Carolina, which was a soccer powerhouse for both men’s and women’s soccer. Hamm would go onto win four NCAA championships. She briefly played club soccer with the Washington Freedom from 2001-2003, where she had 25 goals in 49 appearances. Hamm currently runs her own foundation and continues to be a big name in US Women’s Soccer.

3. Christine Sinclair

Christine Sinclair is one of the best forwards of all-time. She is a two-time NWSL champion and over 20 goals combined between the Olympics and World Cup since 2003. Sinclair has made 296 Canadian international appearances and has over 180 goals. She holds the record for both men’s and women’s international goals. Sinclair played college soccer for the University of Portland, as she didn’t stretch too far away from home, being born and raised in British Columbia. She scored 100 goals in her college career. Sinclair continued to stay in the Northwest for her club teams, playing with Vancouver and Portland.

4. Abby Wambach

There has generally been a goal race between Abby Wambach and Christine Sinclair, but Wambach takes all the silverware. She was on the 2015 World Cup team and was named 2014’s CONCACAF Female Player of the Year. She also has six USSF Female Athlete of the Year awards. Wambach has 23 goals between the Olympics and the World Cup. Wambach would go onto finish with 184 goals in her international career and 255 caps. She played college soccer at Florida, where she went onto win a National Championship. Wambach played for Washington Freedom and the Western New York Flash for her club teams, scoring 75 club goals in 119 appearances.

5. Birgit Prinz

Birgit Prinz was the featured player on those German powerhouse teams from the early to mid-2000s. Prinz has quite a few trophies in her cabinet as she was a two-time World Cup winner and also won three Euros in a row. Prinz has 30 goals in 59 matches between the World Cup, Olympics, and Euros. She played in over 200 games for Germany and finished her career with 128 international goals. Prinz dominated at club level as well, with over 280 club goals from 1993 to 2011. She played with FFC Frankfurt for most of her career. Prinz also has a master’s degree in psychology and has worked as a sports psychologist with the youth academy.

6. Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe is one of the most decorated female football players in the world. She started out with the international team at the age of 25, where she finished with silver before going back to win the World Cup in 2015. Rapinoe has two Olympic gold medals and is also a Ballon d’Or winner. She was voted 2019’s Fifa Women’s Player of the Year and was the Golden Ball winner in the 2019 World Cup. She has over 20 goals in international tournament play and 16 assists. Rapinoe has made over 75 appearances for the OL Reign and has 37 goals with them. She is well known for her contribution to LGBT organizations and has used her platform to speak out for various causes.

7. Nadine Angerer

The best women’s goalkeeper in history belongs to Nadine Angerer. She played for the German international team making 146 appearances. Angerer is a two-time World Cup champion and had a historic game against Norway, where she saved two penalties. She has won over 140 games in her international career. Starting out with FC Nurnberg, she played most of her club matches with FFC Turbine Potsdam and FFC Frankfurt. Angerer did play a year with the Portland Thorns, where she now is the goalkeeping coach and has been since retiring.

8. Michelle Akers

Michelle Akers put on one of the best World Cup performances in history back in 1991. She scored ten goals in six matches, also recording an assist. Akers also scored both goals in the final game against Norway. Akers is a two-time World Cup champion, and she was also a part of the 1996 gold-winning squad as well. She is a three-time USSF Female Athlete of the Year. She went onto play in 153 international games and had 105 goals. Akers played mostly with Tyreso FF, where she played a few seasons before just focusing on international play. She went to UCF, where she played four years and was an All-American each season. She also won the Hermann Trophy, which is the nation’s top college soccer player.

9. Sun Wen

Sun Wen is one of the top strikers to play the game. She has over 100 goals in her international career and has played 163 international games. She retired in 2006 and won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot in the 1999 World Cup. Sun grew up playing and watching soccer with her father, where she credits him for getting her involved. She played briefly in the United States, as she scored seven goals for the Atlanta Beat during the 2001-02 season. Sun dominated in the Asian Cup, winning in 1001, 1993, 1995, and 1997. She also led China to a silver medal in 1996. The highest World Cup finish was second place in 1999.

10. Kristine Lilly

Another early pioneer for US Women’s Soccer was Kristine Lilly. She has two World Cup trophies and two Olympic golds. Lilly was a solid midfielder who took home three USSF Female Athlete of the Year awards and was on the 2007 World Cup All-Star team at the age of 35. She played her college ball at North Carolina, and they took home the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship four times. Lilly played overseas for her club career at the beginning, playing with Tyreso FF in Sweden.  She would return to play with the Boston Breakers. After returning, she finished with 354 international appearances and had 130 goals during that time. Lilly is currently an assistant coach for the Boston Breakers.

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