It is not uncommon to see stadiums in the United States, Spain, Germany, or even Brazil sold out for important women’s soccer games, and the sport continues to evolve in nations like Canada, Argentina, and Norway. Who are the best women soccer players of all time? We have compiled a list of fifty of the top women soccer players in the world. If you are new to the women's game or want a quick almanac of the best players ever, here are fifty women’s soccer players you need to know about.
Known as the female Zinedine Zidane, Louisa Necib is a legend of the women's game in France. She has spent much of her career with the Olympique de Lyon. With the French national team, she scored 36 goals in 145 games and won two titles. But it was with Lyon where the creative midfielder shone the most, winning twenty championships.
Briana Scurry was from 1994-2008 the United States women’s national team’s last line of defense. The agile goalkeeper made huge saves for the US Women’s National Team (USWNT), none bigger than her penalty kick shootout save at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup against China, in the final at the Rose Bowl. Scurry won multiple championships and awards with the USWNT.
Julie Foudy has long been considered a pioneer of the women’s game in the United States. As a player she had an incredible career, scoring 45 goals in 275 appearances for the USWNT, as well as helping to try to kick start the WUSA (Women’s United Soccer Association) with the San Diego Spirit. Today Foudy is a sports broadcaster but still speaks her mind on equality issues for women pro athletes.
One of the greatest women’s soccer goal scorers of all-time, Sun Wen scored an astronomical 106 goals in 163 games for China. Sun played 28 matches and scored 16 goals in four FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments and two Olympics Games. Sun played in the United States and the WUSA with the Atlanta Beat from 2001-2002.
Christie Pearce was one of the USWNT best defenders, having played 311 games for the national team and scoring four goals. Pearce played on various teams in various women’s soccer leagues, mostly in the New York area.
Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan is a tough defender, playing 116 games and scoring 4 goals for her national team. Buchanan is currently playing for French power Olympique de Lyon, where she recently won the UEFA Women’s Champions League this season.
Norway’s Bente Nordby was a phenomenal goalkeeper, helping lead the Norway teams of the 90s. Nordby won two Olympic medals with the national team, gold in Sydney 2000 and bronze in Atlanta 1996. Nordby was nominated for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year Award in 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007.
One of the landmark players for the American teams of the 1990s, defender Joy Fawcett played every minute of the FIFA Women’s World Cups of 1995, 1999, and 2003. A defender with a knack for goal, Fawcett scored 27 goals in 241 games for the USWNT.
Legendary USWNT forward Tiffeny Milbret scored 100 goals in 206 caps for the United States women’s national team. Milbret was a part of the women's side that won a World Cup and Olympic gold. Milbret leads in various offensive categories for the women’s national team.
One of the greatest Scottish female football players of all time, Julie Fleeting represented her country from 1996-2015, scoring 116 goals in 121 matches. Julie Fleeting would win 22 titles in her club career, with her best years coming with the Arsenal women’s team. The Scottish striker was known for breaking down defenders by bulldozing right down the middle.
Another towering presence of the USWNT Golden Generation, Kristine Lilly scored 130 goals in 354 for the Women’s U.S. team. Lilly was a midfielder/forward, and still is the most capped international soccer player among men or women. Lilly was a key player of the USWNT’s 1999 World Cup victory.
Sweden’s Lotta Schelin is one of the greatest female soccer players from the UEFA region. Schelin scored over 100 goals playing for Olympique Lyon and 88 goals for the Swedish Women’s national team. Schelin helped the Swedish team make it to the semifinals of the UEFA Women’s Euros on two occasions and was a quarterfinalist in two Olympic games.
Brazilian legend Cristiane is still going strong after a career which saw her play for Brazil on 151 occasions and score 96 goals. Cristiane participated in five FIFA Women's World Cups and four Olympics. The cunning forward also played at the club level in Brazil, France, Germany, Sweden, the United States, Russia and South Korea.
Kelly Smith is one of English women’s soccer’s all-time leading goal scorers with 46 goals in 117 caps. Smith played her club career in England and the United States, most notably with the Arsenal Women’s Football team, winning 14 titles. Smith is one of England’s most decorated female soccer players.
The leader of the 1999 USWNT, Michelle Akers is considered by many to be one of the greatest female football players of all time. Akers was a part of two World Cup triumphs for the United States women in 1991 and 1999. She also took part in winning the gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta games. Today Akers is an assistant coach in the National Women's Soccer League, with the team Orlando Pride.
Former Portland Thorns and Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was a goalkeeping legend, becoming the first netminder (man or woman) to win FIFA World Player of the Year in 2014. Angerer played in every major tournament for the German national team from 1996-2015, winning two FIFA Women’s World Cups and five UEFA European Football Championships.
Considered one of the best female soccer players of her generation, midfielder Hege Riise helped Norway win the 1995 Women’s World Cup. Riise scored 58 goals in 188 caps for Norway and would continue to inspire as a coach winning seven championships with LSK Kvinner.
Homare Sawa to many is the greatest Asian women’s footballer of all time, with 83 goals in 205 games for Japan. The crafty midfielder also scored over 150 club goals winning many championships in her career. Sawa was one of the leaders of the Japanese team to win the 2011 World Cup.
Danielle van de Donk is yet another talented midfielder/ winger to come out of the Netherlands. Van de Donk continues to play today with Lyon and made huge waves in the seven years she played with Arsenal. Danielle van de Donk was a part of the Dutch side that came in runners-up in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
The England center back Steph Houghton has been a mainstay for the English Women’s national team since 2007 with 121 caps and 13 goals. At the club level, Steph Houghton has played for Sunderland, Leeds United, Arsenal, and Manchester City. With the latter three clubs, she has won a total of 15 titles.
Italy striker Cristiana Girelli has been an impressive goal scorer throughout her career. At Juventus, her current club, she has 53 goals in 58 games. Girelli has 21 club championships, and with the Italian national team she has 46 goals in 78 caps. Cristiana Girelli is truly one of the best strikers of the modern game.
Germany midfielder Lena Goessling was a standout player since her youth career, having played with the German national team since U-17s. Lena Goessling played ten seasons with VFL Wolfsburg and held the German women’s team win gold in the 2016 Olympics.
Scottish attacking midfielder Kim Little has dazzled fans in the United Kingdom since turning pro in 2006. The cunning midfielder is one the best players at Arsenal and has 59 goals in 140 caps for Scotland. Little also played two seasons in Seattle with the NWSL, winning the league’s version of the Supporters Shield twice.
PSG forward Kadidiatou Diani has really made a name for herself playing a vital role for club and for France. Diani has 57 goals in 96 matches for PSG and has been in the French national team set-up since 2010. Kadidiatou Diani is a player to watch in the future in women’s soccer.
Talented goalkeeper Christiane Endler is a top prospect out of Chile and one of the first South American players not from Brazil on the list. Endler has had an extensive career playing for eight different clubs, and is currently with Lyon. She has won nine championships to date.
Another major contributor to the women’s game in the Netherlands is winger Lieke Martens. With over 50 goals for the Netherlands and currently at Barcelona, Martens is one of the top female athletes in the world. Martens has won 18 championships in her career and is a menace down the flanks.
One of the greatest female soccer players from South Korea, Ji So-yun scored 64 goals in 137 caps for South Korea. Her career is defined by her eight-year stint at Chelsea where So-Yun won 13 championships.
Lindsey Horan is an all around attacking player for the USWNT and the Portland Thorns. Horan can play in various positions and has 25 goals in 109 appearances for the United States. Aside from playing with the Thorns she has played for PSG and Lyon in France. Horan has won seven titles in her career.
Delphine Cascarino is one of France’s best female players, having won various titles at Lyon, the only club she has ever played for. With the French national team Delphine Cascarino has nine goals in 40 games.
French scoring machine Eugenie Le Sommer is one of her country's most decorated soccer players. Le Sommer has scored more goals than any gender for France at 86 goals and has won 30 championships in her illustrious career.
Barcelona and Spain false 9 Jennifer Hermoso has made a career of scoring goals and setting them up. Hermoso wears the number 10 jersey at Barcelona and has won 12 championships in two stints with the club. On the Spanish national team Hermoso has 45 goals in 91 games.
Another great talent from Norway, Caroline Graham Hansen plays with Barcelona and has achieved sensational numbers in her national team with 43 goals in 93 games. Graham Hansen is a world class winger and has won championships with three different clubs.
Ertz is an impressive defender that can score goals, with 20 in 116 caps for the national team. Her performance at the club level earned her an ESPY for best player in 2021. Ertz is on hiatus at the moment as she is pregnant with her first child.
Born in Hungary but representing Germany, Dzsenifer Marozsán is another of those Lyon players that continue to win titles at will. Dzsenifer Marozsán is a solid midfielder and won the UEFA Women’s Euro championship in 2013.
Portland Thorns wing-back/winger Crystal Dunn has begun to come into her own with 24 goals in 123 games with the USWNT and winning championships with Portland. Known for her speed, she can play multiple positions and was a mainstay with the USWNT.
England full-back Lucy Bronze was the first English player to win UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award after rising through the ranks of the English youth system. Today Bronze is a key contributor to Manchester City, after spending three seasons in Lyon and Liverpool.
Denmark and Chelsea attacker Pernille Harder earned the credentials of being the world’s most expensive female soccer player when she transferred from Wolfsburg to Chelsea in 2020. Harder has 67 goals in 131 appearances for Denmark, and she won the UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award in 2018 and 2020. Harder is also known for her LGBTQ+ advocacy.
Arsenal and Netherlands goal machine Vivianne Miedema is just a powerful finisher. Vivianne Miedema has 74 goals in 89 games for the Lady Gunners, and 92 goals in 108 games for the Clockwork Orange.
Sam Mewis is now with the Kansas City Current after a not so good spell in North Carolina. The talented midfielder has saved her best stuff for when she wears the red, white and blue, with 24 goals in 83 games.
One of the greatest female German soccer players of all time, Birgit Prinz won two World Cups with Germany and scored 128 goals in 214 games. Prinz competed in five World Cups, four Olympic games, and is second to Marta as the all-time Women’s World Cup leading scorers.
Australia’s forward Sam Kerr has a killer instinct for scoring with 59 goals in 110 caps, and nearly a goal per game playing at Chelsea. Kerr has an array of individual honors and championships and will be a player to watch in the future.
At the moment Kerr has participated in three FIFA Women’s World Cups and the 2016 Olympic games. Known as a prolific goalscorer and playmaker, Kerr has exceptional speed and skill. She has been named the best player in the Australian league two times.
The Michael Jordan of women’s soccer, Mia Hamm was the role model all girls looked up to. The face of the game in the United States and across the world. Hamm scored 158 goals in 276 games, winning two World Cups, and three Olympic medals. Hamm would play two seasons in the WUSA, her only spell in club soccer. Hamm is considered by many the greatest American soccer player of any gender.
Hamm was the youngest athlete to play for the USA national team at the age of 15, and broke through many stereotypes around women’s sports. A finisher, assist provider, and explosive player, Hamm was simply amazing.
The world’s all time leading scorer, Christine Sinclair has multiple awards and accolades that make her one of the best ever. Sinclair has 189 goals in 309 games playing for Canada, while being the only soccer player of either gender to score in five World Cup editions. Sinclair also has seven championships with the Portland Thorns.
Sinclair helped Canada to a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympic games in Rio, she was voted Canadian player of the decade in 2019, and won two NWSL championships to go along with one Concacaf Women’s championship in 2010.
The well traveled Alex Morgan is one of the new faces of the USWNT, having played for ten clubs, most notably for the Orlando Pride on two occasions. Morgan also has 115 goals in 190 caps, and has even gone on to work in five movies off the pitch.
Morgan is a born winner with one WPS Championship (2011), one NWSL Championship (2013), one Division 1 Féminine (2017), one UEFA Women's Champions League (2017) on her CV. She also won one gold medal in the Olympic Games (2012), and two FIFA Women's World Cups (2015, 2019). Morgan was included in the FIFPro World 11 four times (2016, 2017, 2019, 2021).
The controversial Hope Solo had over 200 caps for the USWNT and was considered one of the best goalkeepers of all time, but unfortunately she’s had issues off the pitch. Solo has been arrested multiple times, most recently in March 2022. Off-the-cuff statements and issues with alcohol have stained an otherwise all-time great career.
On the field Solo was a decorated player, being named best goalkeeper of all time in the women's game. She won two gold medals in 2008 and 2012, and one FIFA Women's World Cup (2015).
The Barcelona and Spain great, Alexia Putellas is one of the top midfielders and wingers in the world. Winner of 25 championships and The Best Women’s Player of the Year in 2021, Putellas has accolades of every kind.
The Spanish midfielder has won five Primera Iberdrola (2013, 2014, 2015, 2021), one UEFA Women's Champions League (2021) and was included two times in the UEFA Women's Champions League Squad of the Season (2019, 2021).
The midfielder winger Megan Rapinoe has been huge on the pitch and very vocal off of it. Rapinoe has been a pioneer by voicing her opinions on social issues, even speaking out against President Donald Trump. Known for her pink hair and tremendous skill, Rapinoe has been one of the most influential female athletes in the last decade.
Rapinoe won the Golden Boot for scoring the most goals at the 2019 World Cup and the Golden Ball for being named the best player of the tournament. Rapinoe has been acclaimed by her teammates as an “excellent passer of the ball”.
One of U.S. Soccer’s most explosive forwards, Abby Wambach scored 184 goals in 255 games for the national team, she is also a six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award and World Cup champion. Her autobiography, Forward, was a national best seller.
Wambach can also claim to have won two gold medals in the Olympic Games (2004, 2012); she was named the Best FIFA Women's Player of the Year (2012), Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press (2011), and has won two ESPY Awards (2011, 2016).
One of the mainstays of the USWNT was Carli Lloyd, who scored 134 goals in 316 games from 2005-2021. Lloyd won two World Cups and two gold medals for the national team, and in 2021 she was named as the highest paid female soccer player in the world. Known for her scoring abilities, Carli Lloyd could score with both feet and her head.
Lloyd is the first woman to have scored a goal in six consecutive World Cup games, she was named as the Best FIFA Women's Player of the Year (2016) and earned the Golden Ball, the Silver Boot, Goal of the Tournament and was included in the All-Star Team of the 2015 World Cup.
Like many soccer players in Brazil, Marta is all skill, all dribble, and mesmerizing. The Brazilian has been named FIFA World Player of the Year six times, five of them being consecutive (from 2006 through 2010). Marta has scored 115 goals in 171 games for Brazil, and continues to play with the Orlando Pride in the United States
Marta has also won the UEFA Women's Cup (2004), one Copa Libertadores (2009), two WPS Championships (2010, 2011), two Pan American Games (2003, 2007), and three Sudamericano Femenino (2003, 2010, 2018).
All these women have contributed immensely to the growth and popularity of women’s soccer, and many of them are role models and idols to young girls and boys alike. Watch some of the best highlights of women’s soccer in the Highlights App!
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