In the long history of football, many amazing female athletes have played and inspired others with their talent and skill, the greatest female footballers in particular. They have broken barriers and set new standards for the sport. Women’s football has been blessed with exceptional players, from the early pioneers to the current icons.
In this article, we celebrate not only the best female football players in 2023 but the greatest female footballers of all time. They have amazed us in World Cups, Olympic Games, and domestic leagues worldwide. These athletes have shown their incredible abilities and helped raise the status of women’s football.
Honorable Mentions: Kelly Smith, Carli Lloyd, Kristine Lilly, Joy Fawcett, Homare Sawa, Christie Pearce, Carin Jennings, Hege Riise, Formiga, Hope Solo, Julie Foudy, Sissi, Briana Scurry, Carin Jennings-Gabarra, Pia Sundhage, Silke Rottenberg, and Doris Fitschen
Who’s the greatest female footballer of all time?
Join us as we explore the impressive careers of these trailblazers. From the legendary players of the past to the current stars, we honor the female footballers who have left a lasting legacy.
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Nadine Marejke Angerer, born on November 10, 1978, is a German football coach and player. Currently, she serves as the goalkeeping player-coach for the Portland Thorns in the National Women’s Soccer League. Throughout her career, Angerer has achieved remarkable success.
Debuting for the Germany women’s national football team in August 1996, she went on to earn an impressive total of 146 caps. Angerer’s breakthrough came during the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup when she stepped in as the first-choice goalkeeper after Silke Rottenberg’s injury. With Angerer’s exceptional performance, Germany emerged victorious in the tournament, as she managed to maintain a clean sheet in every round.
Following her triumph in the World Cup, Angerer continued as the first-choice goalkeeper for the 2009 and 2013 editions of the UEFA Women’s Championship. Her remarkable journey includes being named to the FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team in both 2007 and 2015. Angerer was awarded the prestigious Silbernes Lorbeerblatt.
In the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013, Angerer’s stellar performance earned her a spot in the Squad of the Tournament. She also earned the title of UEFA Women’s Euro Best Player of the Tournament.
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Lily Parr was an English football player who is best known for her achievements in women’s football during the early 20th century. She was born on April 26, 1905, in St. Helens, Lancashire, England, and passed away on May 24, 1978.
Lily Parr played as a forward for the Dick, Kerr’s Ladies team, one of the most successful and popular women’s football teams of the time. She began her career with the team at the age of 14 and quickly established herself as a talented and prolific goal scorer. Parr’s powerful left foot and accurate shooting ability made her a formidable player on the field.
Furthermore, during the First World War, women’s football gained popularity in England with the suspension of men’s football. Lily Parr and her team attracted large crowds and set numerous attendance records. One of her most notable achievements was scoring 43 goals in the 1920-1921 season.
She retired in 1951 after a remarkable 31 years in the sport. In 2002, Parr was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame, recognizing her significant contributions to the game.
Lily Parr’s legacy as a pioneer for women’s football and her remarkable goal-scoring ability cemented her as one of the most iconic figures in the history of women’s soccer.
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Wambach is widely recognized as one of the greatest female footballers in history. Born on June 2, 1980, in Rochester, New York, she achieved remarkable success during her career.
Wambach served as a forward and made her international debut for the United States women’s national soccer team in 2001. Throughout her tenure, she amassed an impressive record, earning 256 caps and scoring a total of 184 goals. Her goal-scoring prowess is second only to Christine Sinclair, who holds the record for the highest number of international goals with 190.
Notably, Wambach played a vital role in the United States’ victory at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where she contributed six goals and received the Golden Boot as the tournament’s leading scorer. Her leadership and ability to find the back of the net were instrumental in the team’s success.
Over the course of her career, Wambach earned numerous accolades, including the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2012. She also won two Olympic gold medals with the United States in 2004 and 2012. After the Women’s World Cup triumph, Wambach retired from professional soccer in 2015.
Her great sense of space and positioning allowed her to get to long balls and crosses, and she could even make passes to her teammates using her head or back heel. Wambach’s height and physique made her excellent in the air, and she was famous for scoring goals with diving headers or bicycle kicks.
She also earned recognition for her energy and hard work on the field, frequently assisting her teammates defensively and initiating attacking plays. Wambach’s versatility allowed her to play in various positions, including as a playmaker in midfield. Besides her playing abilities, she was admired for her determination, tenacity, and leadership qualities.
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Sun Wen, a retired Chinese professional footballer, is widely regarded as one of the greatest female footballers in history. She was born on January 6, 1973, in Shanghai, China.
Sun Wen played as a forward and had an illustrious career representing the China women’s national soccer team. She made her international debut in 1990 and went on to earn 163 caps, scoring 106 goals for her country.
One of Sun Wen’s most notable achievements came in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup held in the United States. She was crucial in leading the Chinese team to the final, where they narrowly lost to the United States in a penalty shootout. Sun Wen was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player and the Golden Boot as the top scorer, scoring seven goals and providing four assists.
Sun Wen earned numerous accolades and honors throughout her career, including the prestigious title of FIFA World Player of the Year in 2000. She was known for her exceptional technical skills, agility, and goal-scoring ability, making her a feared field striker.
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Despite not attaining the same level of fame as some of her esteemed colleagues and rivals, Heidi Mohr left an indelible mark on the world of football with her exceptional skills on the pitch. Her recognition as Europe’s Player of the Century in 1999 speaks volumes about her prowess as a forward.
During the period from 1991 to 1995, Mohr dominated the Bundesliga Golden Boot race, securing the prestigious title for five consecutive seasons. Her goal-scoring abilities often placed her far ahead of her closest competitors.
Representing Germany, Mohr achieved great success, claiming three European Championships. In the 1991 edition, she emerged as the top scorer, showcasing her remarkable scoring instincts. Additionally, she was awarded the Silver Boot as the second top scorer in the 1991 World Cup, finishing behind the legendary Michelle Akers.
Tragically, Heidi Mohr, one of the greatest female footballers ever, passed away in 2019, leaving behind a lasting legacy as one of the greatest women footballers the game has ever witnessed. She has achieved an extraordinary goal-scoring record in Germany, both at the club and international level, which will seldom be surpassed.
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Sinclair has had an illustrious career representing both the Canada national team and various club teams. She has been a Canadian women’s national team member since 2000 and has served as the team’s captain for many years.
She scored more international goals than any other male or female player, with 190 goals.
At the club level, Sinclair has played for various teams, including the Vancouver Whitecaps in the USL W-League and the Portland Thorns FC. She has been a key figure in the success of the Portland Thorns, helping them win the NWSL championship in 2013 and 2017.
She has been recognized on the global stage, being a candidate for the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016. In 2002, she secured the 6th position, and in 2012, she achieved her highest ranking at 5th place. Additionally, she received the Best FIFA Special Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in 2021, highlighting her exceptional contributions to the sport.
Sinclair’s remarkable performance extended to the Summer Olympics as well. In 2012, she earned the Summer Olympic Golden Boot, a prestigious recognition for being the top scorer in the women’s soccer tournament.
Within Canada, Sinclair’s impact is undeniable. She received the title of Canadian Player of the Decade for the years 2010 to 2019. Moreover, she has been awarded the title of Canadian Player of the Year an astonishing fourteen times in the years 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2018.
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Mia Hamm won two Olympic gold medals and two FIFA Women’s World Cup championships. She played as a forward for the United States national team from 1987 to 2004 and is considered among the greatest female footballers and an icon in the sport.
Mia Hamm represented the United States in four FIFA Women’s World Cups. She participated in the first tournament in China in 1991, in Sweden in 1995, and in the United States in 1999 and 2003. Hamm also led her team in three Olympic Games: Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000, and Athens in 2004.
Throughout these seven prestigious international tournaments, Hamm played 42 matches and scored 14 goals.
In December 2000, FIFA honored Mia Hamm as one of the twentieth century’s top three female soccer players in the FIFA Female Player of the Century Award. Amongst a distinguished group of legends, she placed just behind Sun Wen and her fellow American player, Michelle Akers.
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Akers was a key member of the U.S. team that won the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991. She played a crucial role in the tournament, scoring 10 goals, including five in a single match, and won with the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer. The National Soccer Hall of Fame inducted Akers in 2004.
Michelle Anne Akers stood tall on the soccer field, measuring 178 cm in height and weighing 150 pounds (68 kg). Her imposing physical stature made her presence felt, and she was recognized for her aggressive and physical style of play.
Michelle Anne Akers concluded her 15-year soccer career just before the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. She set an impressive record of 105 goals in 153 international matches. Additionally, A shoulder injury primarily influenced her decision to retire. She had also been battling chronic fatigue syndrome since 1991.
Alongside Mia Hamm, she stood as one of the only two women to be on the FIFA 100 list. This prestigious list, compiled by the legendary Brazilian footballer Pelé to commemorate FIFA’s centenary, highlighted the 125 greatest living football players.
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Prinz had a lengthy career, playing at a high level for over a decade. Her consistent performances, goal-scoring ability, and impact on the game helped solidify her reputation as one of her era’s best women soccer players.
Born with a burning passion for the sport, Prinz’s talent quickly emerged as she rose through the ranks. She achieved a breakthrough in 1995 when she was bestowed with the UEFA Women’s Championship Golden Player award.
Without acknowledging her performances in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, no discussion of Prinz’s career is complete. Second only to the legendary Marta in the all-time leading goalscorer list, Prinz’s 14 goals in the World Cup, including the title of top scorer in 2003, proved her ability to shine on the biggest stage.
Prinz proved her scoring prowess in the Bundesliga as well. She claimed the honor of being the league’s top scorer four times.
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Who is the football famous female? Marta Vieira da Silva, commonly known as Marta, is widely regarded as the best female player ever.
Being among the best women football team players, Marta holds the distinction of being Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer, notching an impressive tally of 115 goals while wearing the yellow and green jersey. With 17 goals, she holds the record for the most goals scored in any World Cup, regardless of gender.
Moreover, she became the first male or female footballer to score at five different World Cups; Christine Sinclair later matched this milestone in 2019 and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2022.
Marta was the first footballer, once again, irrespective of gender, to score in five consecutive Olympic Games.
Presently, Marta plays as a forward for the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League.
We sincerely hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed immersing yourself in this article dedicated to the Greatest Female Footballers.