The Asian Football Confederation may not have awarded the Asian Women’s Player of the Year award since 2019, when Japanese player Saki Kumagai won the award.
Still, it doesn’t mean that Asia women’s football has not grown on the continent, and neither does it mean a shortage of talents.
In fact, the continents have managed to produce some interesting football talents that have even helped some of their countries to their first-ever FIFA women’s World Cup qualification.
Saki Kumagai, Sam Kerr, and Mana Iwabuchi have all been popular in the last decade, and though they still remain relevant, they have been joined by some new and exciting talents in Asian women’s football, and that is why we will take a look at 10 of them in this article.
Here are the best women’s soccer players in Asia.
1. Sam Kerr (Australia)
The best women’s soccer player of all time, the best women’s soccer player in Asia at the moment, and talk about the best women’s striker in European football, and Samantha Kerr would fit into all descriptions.
The Australian international is one of the best women’s soccer strikers at the most.
This is not surprising as she holds the all-time leading Australian international scorer, with over 60 goals and at 29.
Kerr is one of the most decorated players both for club and country and has won the golden boot in a league in three different continents. Her trophy cabinets are loaded.
Sam Kerr is widely recognized for her exceptional speed, agility, and goal-scoring abilities.
She currently plays as a forward for both the Chelsea football club in the FA Women’s Super League and the Australian women’s national team, the Matildas, which she has captained since 2019.
Her impressive skills and accomplishments have earned her a reputation as one of the greatest female forwards in the history of soccer.
2. Wang Shanshan (China)
China has qualified for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and Wang Shanshan is one key reason for that.
She scored five goals in five games and the winning penalty at the 2022 AFC Women’s Cup that sealed the trophy and the ticket to New Zealand/Australia.
Little known outside Asia, though, she was recently named China’s female player of the year 2022.
Although Wang Shanshan has the ability to play in various positions, her primary position is as a striker, which has led Chinese press to compare her to Ruud Gullit.
In fact, during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Coach Hao Wei utilized her versatility by playing her in both defence and attack.
3. Mary Fowler (Australia)
The 20-year-old Mary Fowler is a youngster in female football, especially for Australia, but it would be foolhardy to underrate her potential for a player who made the FIFA women’s World Cup roster for Australia at the age of 16 in 2019.
Mary Fowler signed a four-year contract with Manchester City last year in the Women’s Super League in England and also has played in Australia and France with Montpellier.
The forward is confident of her performance as the FIFA Women’s World Cup approaches, especially after performing well as Australia got to the Bronze medal match at the last Olympics.
Mary Fowler has the potential to become one of the best midfielders in women’s soccer.
4. Saki Kumagai (Japan)
Saki Kumagai is Asia’s most successful and decorated female footballer and one of the most successful considering both genders.
Kumagai is undoubtedly one of the greatest women’s soccer players of all time.
Kumagai, who is now 32 years is still waxing strong as a defender for AS Roma after helping the Nadeshiko Japanese women’s national team to a hugely successful decade between 2010 and 2020.
The Japanese skipper was part of the team that won the FIFA World Cup in 2011, finished second in 2015 behind the USA, and also won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. Going into the 2023 women’s world cup.
She remains the only player from the 2011 FIFA World Cup winning team still in the national team after Iwabuchi was dropped.
5. Yui Hasegawa (Japan)
Yui Hasegawa moved to Manchester City from West Ham United the last summer, and it’s a testament to her quality and what she contributed to the team.
Mana Iwabuchi may not have made the World Cup team for Japan, but they can definitely bank on Yui Hasegawa, who, at 26, is heading into her prime.
Hasegawa won the FIFA under-17 women’s World Cup in 2014 and has managed to play her way up from the cadet teams to the national team and has remained consistent.
6. Sarina Bolden
Forever will the Philippines remember Sarina Bolden as the player who brought them to the limelight of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and their first-ever participation in any FIFA competition.
The 26-year-old midfielder was born in the USA but chose to feature for the Philippines in 2018 for the AFC Women’s Cup.
Her first laurel was the 2018 South East Asian game bronze medal.
Perhaps the 2022 AFF Women’s Cup title was a sign of what was to come as she made history by scoring the penalty that secured the world cup for the Philippines after a 1-1 Quarter-final draw against Chinese Taipei.
Bolden possesses great technical skills, versatility, and leadership abilities. She has played as a midfielder and a forward and is praised to find the back of the net, with 21 goals in 36 caps for the Philippines.
7. Huỳnh Như (Vietnam)
Vietnam’s team captain and four-time Vietnamese Women’s Golden Ball winner Huỳnh Như initially made history by becoming the first female Vietnamese player to play professionally abroad in Europe in August 2022.
She signed for the Portuguese club Vilaverdense in the Portuguese Campeonato Nacional Feminino and showed it wasn’t a fluke by helping Vietnam secure a place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year.
The 31-year-old Nhu is the country’s top goalscorer. Nhu won 3 SEA Games and 1 AFF Cup title for Vietnam, besides clinching 7 Vietnam national championships and 3 National Cup crowns at the club level.
Huỳnh Như is a talented and lethal attacker, with 67 goals in 72 soccer caps for Vietnam attesting to that.
8. Ji So-yun ( South Korea)
Ji has previously been nominated as FIFA Best Women’s Player, FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, and won the FA Women’s Player of the Year in 2014 on top of her trophies won for Chelsea.
She spent eight years at Chelsea before returning to Asia last year.
Her sixty-six goals in 144 games for the Asians is what she did between 2006 and now, but she’s not been successful in terms of national team laurels beyond bronze medals at the Asian games.
9. Maika Hamano (Japan)
Maika Hamano won the Adidas Golden Ball at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup last year when Japan finished second to winners Spain.
She has gone ahead to play four games for the national team and seems poised for more as she’s been invited to the FIFA World Cup.
The 19-year-old youngster is highly rated at Chelsea, who snapped her up and sent her on loan to Hammarby in Sweden.
10. Wang Shuang (China)
Wang Shuang is one of the last two winners of the AFC Women’s Player of the Year award after her 2018 feat, which she has duly justified.
She is one of the most important players in the China women’s national football team,
She went to PSG and is currently with Racing Louisville in the USA.
She has 43 goals in 121 matches for the Chinese national team.