Women’s soccer has improved a lot in the last decade. So, it is understandable that fans would want to know the best female soccer players of all time – who could also be the most famous female soccer players.
Without much ado, let’s highlight the 20 best female soccer players of all time.
Our list is in no particular order, but highlights the most famous female soccer players who have also excelled on the pitch.
1. Marta (Brazil)
Mata is like the “Ronaldinho” of female football. Her ability to go past players as if they do not exist is second to none. She is skillful and efficient in front of a goal.
It is important to mention that Marta is the first footballer (male or female) to score in 5 different World Cups.
Marta tops Pele and any other Brazilian footballer (male or female) as the Brazilian with the most goals in International football (109).
Also, Marta holds the record as the soccer player (male or female) with the most goals in FIFA World Cup history (17).
In 2007, Marta led the Brazilian female national team to the FIFA Women’s World Cup final. Although they lost to Germany, she won the Golden boot and Golden ball awards.
In addition, Marta won 6 FIFA World Player of the Year awards: 5 was won consecutively (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010). Given all of these achievements, Marta is the best female soccer player and also the most decorated..
Take your time to watch and enjoy the best of Mata.
If one player deserves to take the top spot on the top best female soccer players, it is Marta.
Read Also: The Best Female Soccer Coaches
2. Megan Rapinoe (U.S.A)
Some of the most famous female soccer players make their presence felt on the pitch and off it.
Rapinoe is vocal against the discrimination in allowances between the U.S.A male and female national teams.
She, alongside 27 others, filed a lawsuit against the U.S.A Soccer Federation to correct what they think is an abnormality.
However, Rapinoe’s presence off the pitch does not hinder her performances on it.
At the height of her activism in 2019, she played a pivotal role in her country’s Women World Cup triumph. In that tournament, she won the golden boot, golden ball, and the man of the match in the final.
The same year, she was named The Best FIFA Women’s Player. Rapinoe also bagged the 2019 Ballon d’Or Feminine award.
Megan Rapinoe is a two-time Women’s World Cup winner (2015, 2019) and an Olympic gold medalist (2012).
It is important to mention that, based on our research on Google Trends, Megan Rapinoe is the most famous female soccer player since 2004.
Consider Reading: The Best International Footballers At Every Position
3. Mia Hamm (U.S.A)
Hamm, alongside Michelle Akers, was named in Pele’s 125 greatest footballers ever.
When female football was yet to gain worldwide recognition, Hamm stood as the face of the sport. For some fans, Hamm would easily top the list of the best female Soccer players.
Hamm was part of the U.S.A female soccer team that won the 1991 and 1999 FIFA World Cup. She also has 2 Olympic gold medals to her name too(1996 and 2004).
At some point, she held the record as the player (male or female) who scored and assisted the most international goals.
Although Wambach and Sinclair have surpassed her international goal record, Hamm retains the assists record (144).
In addition, Hamm was named in the top 3 of Fifa Female Footballer of the Century in the year 2000.
Also, Hamm is the first female soccer player to be inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame.
Furthermore, Hamm won the first 2 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year awards in 2001 and 2002.
You should enjoy watching Hamm’s Biography.
4. Sam Kerr (Australia)
Samantha May Kerr, or as we fans know her as Sam Kerr, is an Australian professional football player who plays as a forward for Chelsea and Australian football team.
She is all time scorer of Australian football team in both men and women recently when she surpassed Tim Cahill’s previous record of 50 goals.
Kerr is known for her speed, skill, tenacity and backflip goal celebrations, and is widely considered one of the best female footballers of all time.
To be fair, Kerr is also one of the most famous female soccer players.
5. Lieke Martens (Netherlands)
Lieke Martens is a Dutch footballer who plays as a midfielder for Barcelona and the Netherlands women’s national team.
She is a midfielder and a winger who scores very often and creates many chances.
Martens and the Dutch team were runner-up in the 2019 World Cup. She is regarded as one of the important players in the success of both the Dutch and the Barcelona team.
Given her consistent performance over the years, Martens stock has risen and she is now one of the famous female soccer players today.
6. Jennifer hermoso (Spain)
Jennifer Hermoso Fuentes, commonly known as Jenni, is a Spanish footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and for the Spain women’s national football team.
Hermoso is the all-time top scorer for both Barcelona and Spain.
At the end of 2021, she finished second in Ballon d’Or voting and was the world’s highest female goalscorer of the calendar year with 51 goals.
Hermoso is widely regarded as one of the best female players of all time.
7. Christen Press (USA)
Christen Annemarie Press is an American football player for Angel City FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and the United States national team.
Press has made 155 appearances for her country and is currently ninth all-time highest goal scorer for USA with 64 goals scored.
In the US, Press is indeed one of the famous female soccer players.
8. Francesca Kirby (England)
Francesca is an English professional footballer who plays as a forward for Chelsea and the England national team.
In August 2014, Kirby won her first senior cap for England.
Kirby represented her country at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, and at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 in the Netherlands.
9. Dzsenifer Marozsán (Germany)
Dzsenifer Marozsan is a female soccer player who plays as a Midfielder for the French club Lyon as well as the German national team.
At 2016 Olympics in Rio, Marozsan led Germany to its first ever gold medal in football 4 decades after the men’s team won in 1976.
Marozsan has also won the Euro title of 2013 with the German national team.
10. Lucia Roberta Tough Bronze (England)
Bronze is an English footballer who plays as a right-back. In England, she is one of the most famous female soccer players.
The English Defender has won 3 UEFA Women’s Champions League titles with Olympique Lyonnais as well as 3 FA Women’s Super League titles with Liverpool and Man City.
11. Wendi Renard (France)
Wendie Renard is a French professional footballer who plays as a centre-back.
In addition, she captains both the Division 1 Féminine club Lyon and the France national team.
A goal-scoring defender, Renard is one of the most famous female soccer players in modern time.
Renard has won 14 French League titles and 7 European Cups in her illustrious career.
12. Alexia Putellas (Spain)
As of 2022, Putellas has the second-most all-time appearances for FC Barcelona Femeni behind Melanie Serrano.
As of the time of writing, Putellas is Barca’s second-highest all-time scorer with 93 caps, surpassing Marta Torrejon’s previous record of 90 caps in 2021.
It is also important to mention that Spanish midfielder Putellas won the Ballon d’or in 2022.
13. Alex Morgan (USA)
Alexandra Morgan Carrasco is one of the best American professional soccer players ever.
Morgan has won 2 World Cups and one Olympic goal medal to her name and we regard her as one of the best and most decorated player in women’s history.
14. Miraildes Formiga (Brazil)
The longevity of Brazilian female footballers is enough to earn a place in our best female football players of all time.
She made her World Cup debut in 1995 as a 17-year-old when Brazil beat Norway in the third-place play-off to earn bronze.
In sports, where most people look to retirement as they approach their mid and late 30’s, Formiga kept going.
She is the only female footballer who took part in 6 consecutive Olympic games (1996 to 2016). Tokyo 2021 will be her 7th: the same number of World Cups She participated in.
Miraildes is the oldest female footballer to have scored a goal in the FIFA World Cup (37) and the oldest to have participated in one (41). Her 7 FIFA World Cup tournament appearances are unmatched by any in either the male or female sports.
Below here is a brief video profile of Formiga.
Consider Reading: The Best Female Soccer Commentators
15. Nadine Angerer (Germany)
Angerer is the first and only goalkeeper (male or female) that won the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
The only other goalkeeper with similar recognition is Lev Yashin, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1963.
(Read more on the Yashin Trophy named after Lev Yashin.)
At the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Angerer made a record never seen in football. Throughout the entire tournament, she did not concede a single goal.
At the final match against Brazil, she saved a penalty from Mata: arguably the best female soccer players of all time.
Nadine Angerer’s FIFA award in 2014 came after the goalkeeper’s stellar performances at the 2013 FIFA World cup and UEFA Women’s Championship.
In the latter, she saved two penalty kicks in the final against Norway.
She won several other awards before her retirement, including the UEFA Women’s best player ( 2013) and the FIFA Women’s World Cup best goalkeeper (2007).
Angerer was appointed as the goalkeeping coach at Portland Thorns.
Angerer’s heroics on the pitch have made her one of the most famous female soccer players.
Consider Reading: The Best Football Pairings in History
16. Sun Wen (China)
Sun is not just China’s greatest ever female soccer player; she is one of the greatest female soccer players in history.
Wen represented her country in 4 Women’s World Cup and 2 Olympic tournaments. She was part of the Chinese female national team that hosted the first official Fifa Women’s World Cup in 1991.
Wen emerged as the best player and the joint top scorer of the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
Although her team lost in the final, her performances and goals (7) were enough to earn her the aforementioned awards.
In 2002, Sun Wen was crowned the FIFA Women’s Player of the century via votes cast on their website. She scored 106 goals in 163 appearances before her retirement in 2006.
Read Also: The Best Female Soccer Referees
17. Michelle Akers (U.S.A)
Michelle Akers was part of the U.S.A female football team that dominated the 90’s.
Specifically, Akers scored 10 goals in the 1991 Fifa Women’s World Cup, 2 of which were in the final against Norway.
Akers’s goals in the final helped the U.S.A become the first recipient of the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy. Her 10 goals in the tournament also earned her the top scorer award.
In the years following her heroics at the 1991 World Cup, she took up a new role in the team.
As a midfielder, she helped the U.S.A to a bronze medal in the 1995 World Cup and the first-ever female Olympic Gold in 1996.
In her last major tournament as a professional footballer, she won the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
Michelle Akers won some outstanding awards and gained recognition for her performances. She was jointly voted as FIFA Women’s Player of the century alongside Sun Wen.
Also, FIFA awarded Ankers the Order of Merit: FIFA’s highest award.
Akers’s place as one of the best female soccer players of all time was affirmed by Pele. She is one of just two female footballers who made Pele’s list of 125 greatest footballers (male or female).
You should enjoy watching Akers’ World Cup goals.
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18. Birgit Prinz (Germany)
Birgit Prinz’s place as one of the best female soccer players of all time is not disputable. She accrued both individual and collective trophies/awards throughout her professional career.
Prinz won 3 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year awards ( 2003, 2004, and 2005) and was runners-up 5 times ( 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010).
She also won the German female footballer of the year on 8 different occasions. Prinz is also the second all-time leading goalscorer in FIFA Women’s World Cup history with 14 World Cup goals.
Furthermore, Printz won 19 domestic trophies (9 German league titles and 10 German Cups). She won 5 consecutive UEFA European Championship between 1995 to 2009.
In 2003, she won her first FIFA World Cup and the second in 2007.
In the former, she won the best player and golden boot awards.
Following her retirement in 2011, Prinz took up the role of a sports psychologist for Hoffenheim’s men and women teams.
Nonetheless, we still remember Prinz today as one of the famous female soccer players even though she has long retired.
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19. Christine Sinclair (Canada)
Canada boasts of one of the best female soccer players of all time.
The country may not dominate Fifa World Cup tournaments like the U.S.A or Germany, but they have the greatest goal-scorer.
Christine Sinclair made history in 2020 when she scored her 185th career goal.
That goal helped her to the top spot on the list of players with the most international goals (male or female).
She is Canada’s shining light in football and represents the country proudly.
In 2017, she was given the second-highest award any civilian could get (Officer of the order of Canada).
She said of the award:
“I can dream of winning a World Cup or an Olympic gold medal, and that’s my job, but to have your country recognize you – I don’t even know what to say.”
Sinclair is the second player to score in 5 FIFA World Cups.
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20. Abby Wambach (U.S.A)
Wambach used to be the player with the most international goals (184) until Sinclair took the top spot in 2020.
She is known to be a great header of the ball—her famous header in the 122nd minute of her team’s quarter-final match against Brazil.
The goal, which Rapinoe assisted, was awarded ESPN’s 2011 ESPY Award for Best Play of the Year.
She is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist (2004, 2012) and FIFA Women’s World Cup winner (2015).
In 2011, she won the bronze ball and was adjudged as the second-best player of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.
Following her performance in that tournament, she was named Athlete of the year by Associated Press and had the entrance of Sahlen’s stadium named “Wambach Way.”
Wambach was named as the best female football player of the year at the FIFA gallery in 2012. Her fame goes beyond football; she is recognized off the pitch too.
In 2015, Wambach made it to the Time list of 100 most influential people in the world. Definitely, she deserves her place as one of the best female soccer players of all time.
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Best Female Soccer Players FAQ Answered
Given the amount of trophies won and personal accolades, it is safe to say that Marta is the best female soccer player.
Again, Marta Vieira Da Silva is the most decorated female soccer player. She won 6 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year awards among other team accolades won.
At the moment, Alexia Putellas of Barcelona is the best female soccer player. However, it may be tough for her to surpass Marta’s achievements.
The Queen of football or soccer is Marta Vieira Da Silva.
Yes, women have been winning the Ballon d’Or Féminin since 2018.
The first winner of the Ballon d’Or Féminin award is Ada Hegerberg. However, the award is different from the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Award now renamed The Best FIFA Women’s Player.
Simply put, no one. All Ballon d’Or Féminin winners since 2018 have won it just once. However, the Marta has won the most (6) FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Award, now renamed The Best FIFA Women’s Player.
According to Google trend since 2004, Megan Rapinoe is the most famous female soccer player.
From our research on the internet, Megan Rapinoe is the most famous US women’s soccer player. Apart from her performance on the pitch, her outspokenness, especially against president Trump, is partly responsible for her fame.
Players from the US dominate our list of the 20 best female soccer players in history. In fact, these are the most famous female soccer players. They make up 40% (4/10) of the list.
This is largely due to the country’s performances at various Women’s World Cups.
However, we must note that the American female soccer league is not the benchmark for women’s football. The Brazilian female league is not either.
The women’s league in France is far better in infrastructure and player’s welfare (wages and salaries).
Unfortunately, this has not been reflected in the performances of the French national team.
Nonetheless, in due course, it will not come as a surprise if the French players, especially those plying their trade at home, usurp their American counterparts.
All in all, it is important to remember that, based on personal and team achievements, Marta is the best female soccer player.
However, in terms of fame, Megan Rapinoe is the most famous female soccer player.