Top Ten Most Popular Women Football Players In History


As much as it may seem like football is a man’s sport, the game is played and enjoyed by all genders.

One could argue that the female football scene, even if not as big and monetised as that of their male counterparts, is still as interesting and exciting, providing the same frequency of thrills, adrenaline and excitement.

Football is not a sport that only men fancy playing. However, most football fanatics place more priority to male football in comparison to ladies kicking a ball.

In this article, we outline the ten most popular women football players throughout the entire history of the sport.

These players, just like the top male players, possess all the major qualities needed to succeed and rise to the top of the pecking order in the beautiful game.

As a football lover in general, and women’s football in particular, let tell you how these intriguing talents contributed to the history of football.

10 most famous female footballers in the world

1. Michelle Akers

Position: Forward/Midfield/Defense
Nationality: American

Played for the American soccer team, Akers helped the United States Women national team win historic world cup titles in 1991 and 1999.

The striker scored 105 goals in 153 appearances for the United States Women’s Team, winning the Golden Boot award as top scorer of the 1991 tournament with ten goals.

She was named Female Player of the Century in 2002 and was one of the two females named in the FIFA 100 list in 2004, a list compiled by arguably the greatest football player of all time, Pele, of the 125 greatest living soccer players of all time.

2. Mia Hamm

Position: Forward/Midfield
Nationality: America

We said Akers was one of the two female footballers named in FIFA 100, well Mia Hamm is the other name on the list.

The versatile player used to be the all-time leading international goal scorer in history before countrywoman Abby Wambach broke the record in 2013.

She played side by side with Akers, winning 1991 and 1999 Women’s World Cup, as well as the Olympic in 1996 and 2000 with the American team, which helped her receive the award of the FIFA World Player of The Year two times.

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She has a record of 158 international goals and 144 assists. More than a successful women player, she has become a pioneer that transformed women’s soccer from an activity to a sport with her success and popularity.

3. Abby Wambach

Position: Forward
Nationality: American

Abby is one of the football players that left a permanent mark on football’s history. Between 2001 and 2015, she set a remarkable record, scoring a whopping 184 goals for the USWNT in just 237 games until Christine Sinclair of Canada broke the record.

What is even more impressive here is that most of Wambach’s goals were scored on the greatest stages. She has played in three World Cups and three Olympics.

Even though she joined the American national team in 2001, she only won her first World Cup in 2015 before retiring at the age of 35.

4. Kristine Lilly

Position: Striker
Nationality: American

Kristine Lilly is the most capped footballer of all time, spending 23 years as a member of the American Women’s Soccer Team.

She played an astonishing 345 games for the national team. Football fans would never forget Lilly’s headed clearance off the line in stoppage time of the 1999 Women’s World Cup final.

During her wonderful years as a footballer, she bagged a total of 130 goals and 105 assists for the national team.

Even though she is often missed out in the list of the most talented American women players, no one can deny her talent as one of the best in this field.

In five editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Lilly has participated, she won the title twice in 1991 and 1999.

5. Marta

Position: Striker
Nationality: Brazilian

Marta is regarded as a women’s version of Pele in Brazil as she encapsulated a God-given talent to become one of the most skilful footballers ever.

She has been named the FIFA World Player of the Year for five years consecutively since 2006 and came back to win her sixth in 2018.

She won both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards at the 2007 World Cup after helping Brazil win the runners-up prize.

Unlucky to never win the World Cup, Marta still holds the bragging rights of becoming the player with the most World Cup goals for both men and women’s category with a whopping 17 strikes.

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6. Birgit Prinz

Position: Striker
Nationality: German

Birgit Prinz played a critical role in helping Germany win the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, and has achieved three Olympic bronze awards.

She has also won the Women’s Bundesliga five times, the UEFA Cup three times and the UEFA European Championships five times. That’s why Birgit Prinz is considered as probably the most prominent female European footballer ever.

Through the years of her profession, she scored 262 goals, with 14 of those coming in the world cup. She was voted player of the year on three occasions and retired in 2011.

Now she is working as a sports psychologist for both men’s and women’s teams in the Bundesliga, the highest level of pro soccer in Germany.

7. Christine Sinclair

Position: Striker/Midfielder
Nationality: Canadian

The list will be incomplete without Christine Sinclair being in it. The Canadian international has the record of most international goals scored for both sex with an astonishing 186 strikes for the Canadian Women’s Soccer team.

She is the most capped active footballer with 296 matches and has won the Canadian Player of the Year for an unmatched 14 occasions.

Though she has never won either a World Cup medal or an Olympic gold award in five World Cup tournaments and two different Olympic Games, she is still considered to be one of the best football players to come from Canada.

“I believe she’s the best ever player on the planet … We think she is presumably the most misjudged player in the entire world,” said USWNT footballer Abby Wambach in high praise of the Canadian starlet.

8. Nadine Angerer

Position: Goalkeeper
Nationality: German

She is regarded by many as the best female goalkeeper ever. She was the first one to win the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year prize in history.

She also holds the record for the longest duration ( 540 minutes) without conceding a goal. She is well known for featuring in the entire 2007 World Cup tournament without letting in a goal.

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This came by due to the fact that first-choice goalkeeper Rottenberg was injured before the tournament, forcing the team to trust in Angerer and her talents helped the German team win the World Cup without letting in a single goal. It was her second world cup title after the triumph in 2003.

9. Homare Sawa

Position: Midfielder
Nationality: Japan

Another World Cup winner in the list. Sawa was extremely influential in the Japanese women’s national football team journey to winning the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she captained the team and won the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in the same year.

Sara was called a legend of the longevity of her national team. She ended her football career at the age of 37, netting a total of 83 goals in 205 matches for Japan. She truly is one of the most impressive playmaking midfielders in the history of Women’s football.

10. Sun Wen

Position: Striker
Nationality: Chinese

Sun scored a total of 11 goals in 28 major tournaments for the Chinese National Team. She received both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the 1999 World Cup finals in the USA.

She was renowned for her speed and innovativeness that brings chances to her teams to win multiple matches and she is well known for her wonderful leadership qualities. April Heinrichs, a former American lead trainer, complimented Sun after watching her play at the Sydney Olympics: “I like to pay for her to come to play in the United States in the Women’s United Soccer Association. She’s so balanced. She’s an extraordinary leader who shows others how it’s done for 90 minutes.”

Luckily, women’s football has gained more and more popularity compared to 30 years ago, when the first women’s football World Cup was organized in China.

These top 10 most popular women football players in the world truly deserve more attention and acknowledgement for their capability, motivation, and constant effort in the football world.

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