20 Best Women’s Soccer Players Of All Time
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is one of the major soccer tournaments taking place in 2023.
Women’s football has grown over the years, with rising stadium attendance and struggle for equal pay with their male counterparts at the forefront of the growth.
The United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) is a dominant force in women’s soccer. Hence, it has produced some of the best women’s soccer players of all time.
The USWNT is the most successful in international women’s soccer — winning 4 FIFA Women’s World Cup titles, 4 Olympic gold medals, and 9 CONCACAF Gold Cups.
It won at least a medal in every World Cup and Olympic tournament in women’s soccer from 1991 to 2015.
Here are TOP SOCCER BLOG’s 20 best women’s soccer players of all time.
1. Marta (Brazil)
Marta Vieira da Silva is often regarded as the greatest female footballer of all time.
She won the FIFA World Player of the Year 6 times — 5 of them consecutively from 2006 to 2010!
Marta holds the record for being Brazil’s top international goalscorer of any gender, with 115 goals.
Furthermore, she also holds the record for most goals scored in the FIFA World Cup tournament (women’s or men’s) with 17 goals.
Marta was a member of the Brazilian national teams that won the silver medal at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics.
She was also awarded the Golden Ball (MVP) at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship and won both the Golden Ball award as the Best Player and the Golden Boot award as the top scorer at the 2007 Women’s World Cup after leading Brazil to the final of the tournament.
At club level, Marta won the UEFA Women’s Cup at Swedish club Umea IK in 2004 and won 7 Swedish league championships during her time playing for various teams in the country.
She has been consistently recognized as one of the top soccer players of her generation, and her exceptional skill and goal-scoring ability have made her one of the most recognizable and beloved figures in the sport of women’s soccer.
Despite not winning a World Cup or an Olympic gold medal, Marta has been a key player for the Brazilian Women’s National Team and has helped lead Brazil to several international tournaments.
Marta has been a dominant player at the highest level of women’s soccer for over two decades; her longevity and consistency set her apart from other great players.
2. Mia Hamm (USA)
Mia Hamm is one of the greatest icons of women soccer.
She ranks third in the history of the USWNT for appearances (276), first for assists (144), and second for most goals scored (158).
Hamm won the FIFA World Player of the Year twice, in 2001 and 2002.
Furthermore, she is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion.
In December 2000, Hamm was named one of the top three female soccer players of the 20th century in the FIFA Female Player of the Century Award.
3. Birgit Prinz (Germany)
Birgit Prinz helped Germany win the FIFA Women’s World Cup twice and won the FIFA World Player of the Year 3 times. She finished as runner-up for the award 5 times!
She won the German Player of the Year 8 times and has played in the best women’s soccer leagues in the world.
Prinz also led Germany to win the UEFA Women’s Euro 5 times, as well as 3 Olympic bronze medals.
In addition, she won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The attacker finished as the female Bundesliga top scorer 4 times.
4. Christine Sinclair (Canada)
Canadian forward Christine Sinclair is arguably the greatest female soccer striker in history.
She helped her country win an Olympic gold medal, two bronze medals, and a CONCACAF Cup.
Furthermore, she has won the Canada Soccer Player of the Year award 14 times!!!
Sinclair is the world’s all-time leader for international goals scored for men or women, with 190 goals!
Also, she is one of the most-capped active international footballers with more than 300 appearances.
Sinclair has so far been shortlisted for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year 7 times.
5. Abby Wambach (USA)
Abby Wambach is undoubtedly one of the best women’s soccer players of all time.
Wambach was a regular for the USWNT from 2003 to 2015.
She is currently the highest all-time goal scorer for the team (second in international goals for both female and male soccer players) with 184 goals.
Wambach won the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2012, becoming the first American woman to win the award in 10 years.
At the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she won the Bronze Boot and Silver Ball.
Wambach helped USA win the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.
Abby Wambach wrote one of the best soccer autobiographies every young soccer fan must read.
6. Homare Sawa (Japan).
Japanese attacker, Homare Sawa, is regarded by many as one of the greatest women’s soccer players of all time and the greatest Asian female footballer of all time.
Her professional career spanned across 24 years.
Notably, she captained Japan to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011 and an Olympic silver medal finish in 2012.
At the 2011 World Cup, she won the Golden Ball as the Best Player of the Tournament and the Golden Boot as the top scorer.
Later that year, Sawa won the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year — becoming the first Asian (male or female) to win the award.
She won the AFC Women’s Player of the Year twice, in 2004 and 2008.
Throughout her career, she won 11 league titles and 8 domestic cup titles in the Japanese League, and was also named to the league’s Best XI for 11 seasons.
Sawa has the most appearances and goals for Japan, with 205 and 83, respectively.
7. Sun Wen (China)
Sun Wen is considered one of the all-time greats of women’s soccer.
She won both the Golden Ball (Best player) and Golden Boot (top scorer) for her performance at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
In 2000, Wen was named FIFA Female Player of the Century along with Michelle Akers.
Sun Wen is widely credited with popularizing women’s soccer in China and inspiring a generation of young players to take up the sport. Her success and popularity helped raise the profile of women’s soccer in Asia and around the world.
8. Michelle Akers (USA)
Michelle Akers helped the USWNT win two FIFA Women’s World Cups (1991 and 1999) as well as the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics.
At the 1991 World Cup, she won the Golden Shoe as the top scorer, with 10 goals.
Akers is regarded as one of the greatest female football players in history.
She was named FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2002, an award she shared with China’s Sun Wen.
9. Kelly Smith (England)
In her prime, Kelly Smith is considered as one of the world’s top female players.
She won 15 trophies with Arsenal Ladies, including 5 Premier League titles.
Smith is England’s second-highest goalscorer of all time with 46 goals.
Kelly Smith was widely regarded as one of the most clinical finishers of her generation.
10. Kristine Lilly (USA)
Kristine Lilly played for the USWNT for 23 years, becoming the most-capped soccer player in history (men’s or women’s), with 354 appearances.
She is the 3rd all-time topscorer for the USA behind Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach, scoring 130 goals.
Lilly won two FIFA Women’s World Cups and two Olympic gold medals with the team.
11. Renate Lingor (Germany)
A classical Number 10, Renate Lingor, is renowned for her elegance, technical brilliance, and excellent vision.
She was very skillful and lethal from set pieces. Her vision and creativity made her a master of defense-splitting passes.
Lingor helped Germany win 2 FIFA Women’s World Cups, 3 UEFA Women’s Euros, and 3 Olympics bronze medals.
At club level, she led Frankfurt to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League 3 times and the Bundesliga 7 times.
12. Megan Rapinoe (USA)
Megan Rapinoe is an American winger that has won the FIFA Women’s World Cup twice, as well as an Olympic gold medal.
She won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards at the 2019 World Cup.
Furthermore, Rapinoe won the Ballon d’Or Féminin and The Best FIFA Women’s Player in 2019.
Megan Rapinoe is also known for her exceptional technical ability, including her dribbling skills and her accuracy with both feet.
Her creative playmaking and passing ability make her one of the most unpredictable and exciting players to watch on the field.
13. Cristiane (Brazil)
Cristiane Rozeira de Souza Silva is definitely one of the greatest female soccer players ever.
A prolific forward, Cristiane was part of Brazil’s silver medal-winning teams at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
In total, she has participated in 5 FIFA Women’s World Cups and 4 Olympics.
She was part of the Brazilian team that was runners-up at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007.
Cristiane is one of only 3 women soccer players to have ever scored a hat trick at the Olympics.
She managed a staggering 96 goals in 151 soccer caps for the Brazilian national team.
14. Nadine Angerer (Germany)
Nadine Angerer is regarded as one of the best female goalkeepers in soccer history.
When Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper got injured before the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Angerer took over as first-choice and kept a clean sheet in every round as Germany won the tournament.
Germany also won the UEFA Women’s Championship on each of the 5 occasions Angerer was involved.
With her country, she won the FIFA Women’s World Cup twice (in 2003 and 2007).
Germany also finished third at the Olympics in 2000, 2004, and 2008.
Angerer had a reputation for being a penalty-saving specialist, famously stopping Marta’s kick in the 2007 World Cup final victory over Brazil.
In 2014, Nadine Angerer was named FIFA World Player of the Year — becoming the first goalkeeper (male or female) to win the award.
15. Ariane Hingst (Germany)
Ariane Hingst is considered one of the best women’s soccer defenders ever.
She helped Germany win 2 FIFA Women’s World Cups, 4 UEFA Women’s Euros, and 3 Olympic bronze medals.
She was one of the team’s key players at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where Germany did not concede a single goal throughout the entire tournament.
After retiring, she became an assistant coach of VfL Wolfsburg women’s team.
16. Aya Miyama (Japan)
A legend of Japanese women’s soccer, Aya Miyama appeared in 4 FIFA World Cups between 2003 and 2015 — helping Japan win the title in 2011.
She was also the captain of the national team from 2012 to 2016.
Miyama won the AFC Women’s Footballer of the Year three times in 2011, 2012 and 2015.
She was also part of the side that won the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics.
17. Formiga (Brazil)
Miraildes Maciel Mota, commonly known as Formiga, is widely regarded as one of the top female soccer players in history.
Formiga holds many international records as a member of the Brazilian national team.
She is the only player that participated in all Olympic tournaments of women’s football since the first edition at the 1996 Olympics.
She also holds the record of appearing at 7 different FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments and was part of the side that reached the final in 2007.
Furthermore, she was a member of the team that won silver at two Olympics in 2004 and 2008.
Formiga was a member of the Brazil national team for 26 years and is the most capped football player in the history of the Brazil national teams (men and women), making 234 appearances.
18. Alex Morgan (USA)
Alex Morgan is known for her incredible goal-scoring ability and has scored 120 goals in 201 appearances for the US Women’s National Team, making her one of the all-time top goal scorers in the history of US Women’s soccer.
Alex Morgan helped the USWNT win two FIFA Women’s World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019.
At both tournaments, she was named in the Team of the Tournament, and she won the Silver Boot in 2019.
Morgan has won the CONCACAF Women’s Championship 3 times with USA.
Alex Morgan has won other numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, including two Olympic gold medals.
Her ability to perform at the highest level of international competition has earned her recognition as one of the greatest women’s soccer players of all time.
She is still one of the best US women’s soccer players today.
19. Christie Rampone (USA)
Christie Rampone captained the USWNT for several years, playing in 5 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals and 4 Olympics.
She won the World Cup in 1999 and 2015 and also won 3 Olympic gold medals.
Rampone never finished lower than third place in each of the World Cup or Olympic tournaments in which she competed.
With 311 caps, she is also the third-most capped player in soccer history.
20. Carli Lloyd (USA)
Carli Lloyd is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 and 2012) and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion (2015 and 2019).
She won the FIFA Player of the Year twice (2015 and 2016).
Lloyd scored the gold medal-winning goals in the finals of both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
She has made 316 appearances for the USWNT, placing her second on the all-time list. She also has the 4th-most goals and the 5th-most assists for the team.
During the United States’ 5-2 win over Japan in 2015, Lloyd became the first player ever to score a hat-trick in a FIFA Women’s World Cup final.
She won the Golden Ball as the Best Player of the Tournament and earned the Silver Boot for her 6 goals and 1 assist during the tournament.