Best female soccer players of 2019
Four years after the last Women's World Cup in Canada, the competition among female football players has gotten stronger and more global.
Several months have passed since the USA deservedly won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Thanks to the best female soccer players of 2019, the Women’s football is presently back in full swing all over the world in both leagues and global competitions.
The last couple of years have seen the popularity of women’s football build momentum, and the business side of the game has recently been accelerated, especially with USWNT forward Megan Rapinoe being named the Best FIFA women's football player of 2019.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup has already smashed attendance and viewership records and propelled women’s football into the limelight. With most women’s professional football leagues and clubs in their early stages of development, the profile from the 2019 World Cup gave a huge chance to the rights holders to shape the future of the sport.
Here is a list of the best female footballers of 2019 but it should be mentioned that it only considers the players’ recent performances, and therefore credits a consistent ability to continually dominate regardless of which league the player is in.
Megan Rapinoe (USA)
Megan Rapinoe the top women's soccer player of 2019 was awarded the Ballon d'Or after leading the U.S. Women's National Soccer team to back-to-back World Cup victories in July. She scored six goals in the championship, gaining her the Golden Boot as the top scorer and the Golden Ball as the top player of the year.
Rapinoe plays for and captains Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League as a midfielder and winger.
During 2019, Rapinoe has gotten a lot of attention both on and off the field for her high-tempo plays and outspoken nature.
The 33-year-old striker has become an inspiration with her conscious efforts to be a role model for women all over the world.
Rapinoe played for the US in their youth team and made her full senior international debut for the US women soccer team in 2006. She was part of the US team that won the gold at the London Olympics 2012 and FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.
Her cross to Abby Wambach in the 122nd minute of the 2011 quarterfinal game against Brazil, which resulted in an equalizer goal, was awarded ESPN's 2011 ESPY Award for Best Play of the Year. In the 2019 women's world cup, she scored the opening goal in the 2-0 match. Rapinoe was the superstar of this World Cup for the USWNT.
The American midfielder and the socially engaged Seattle Reign FC star has declined to sing the US national anthem in protest over inequality and injustice in the US and Trump administration policy.
Rapinoe said to the reporters: “There is no perfect way to protest. I feel in my heart it is right to continue to kneel during the national anthem, and I will do whatever I can to be part of the solution.”
Alex Morgan (USA)
The youngest member of the U.S. women's national soccer team in 2009, Alex Morgan was also among the best female soccer players of 2019.
Morgan earned her first Olympic gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games by helping the U.S. women win over Japan. She overcame an injury to help the Americans win the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, and four years later she tied for the tournament high with six goals to help the U.S. claim its second consecutive World Cup title.
The American striker played one season with Olympique Lyonnais, winning a French championship, French Cup, and Champions League treble with the club. As a symbolic face of the US team, the Orlando Pride striker became the first female player to appear on the cover of a FIFA video game (FIFA 16).
As co-captain of a team set on defending its crown, Morgan set the tone with a record-tying five goals as the FIFA Women's World Cup holders destroyed Thailand 13-0 in their 2019 opening match. Morgan scored a brilliant goal in the semifinals vs. England, a moment marked by her "tea-sipping" goal celebration, and helped keep the pressure on the Netherlands in the final as the U.S. squad prevailed and won their fourth World Cup championship.
Samantha Kerr (Australia)
Samantha Kerr may be one of the top star attractions of the 2019 tournament. Australia forward, who plays for the Chicago Red Stars, was ranked fifth for the first Women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018. As a goal-scoring machine, she is predicted to be a rising star in the women’s game and is attracting the attention of top clubs.
In 2019, Kerr became the first Australian player, male or female, to score a hat trick at a World Cup competition. She is mainly known for her backflip goal celebrations!
Matilda's star was also named captain of the national team by newly appointed head coach Ante Milicic in 2019. She was one of five nominees for the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year award. During the team's first group stage match at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, she opened up an early lead against Italy after scoring a goal off a penalty kick rebound, but Australia lost 1-2 in stoppage time. Kerr scored her first-ever goal at a World Cup tournament and celebrated that by punching the corner flag to honor Tim Cahill, the leading goalscorer for the men's national team.
During their second group stage match against Brazil, Kerr was in an offside position when Monica Hickmann Alves headed the ball into her own goal, VAR decided that Kerr wasn't interfering and the goal was counted for Australia. Australia won 3–2. Kerr scored four goals in the team's 4–1 victory over Jamaica and was named Player of the Match. Australia finished second in their group and advanced to the knockout stage where they were crushed by Norway in a penalty shoot-out. Kerr's five goals at the tournament ranked fourth-highest behind Ellen White of England and Americans Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe who all scored six.
Lucy Bronze (UK)
As the best right-back in women's football, Lucy Bronze has been one of the most consistent players since making her senior team debut in June 2013.
She can play in almost every position, but it is in the backline where she really outperforms. Initially Steph Houghton’s center back partner during her fledgling days with the Lionesses, Bronze eventually made the No2 jersey her own with a number of typically wonderful displays.
After winning every domestic title in England, Bronze joined Lyon in 2017 and helped the French giants win the Champions League in her debut season.
Bronze plays for the England national squad, and for Manchester City Women in the Football Association Women’s Super League, the highest league of women’s football in England. In 2014, she won the Professional Footballers’ Association Women’s Players’ Player of the Year Award. Primarily a right-back, she can play in a variety of defensive and midfield positions and has represented England at every level, from the Under-17s to international matches.
She played for England at Euro 2013 and was recognized as the star of the tournament in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, where the team, known as the Lionesses, achieved third place. Her performance in this match was considered to be the best by a senior England side since the men’s team won the World Cup in 1966.
Christine Sinclair (Canada)
Christine Sinclair is one of the world's best female players of 2019 and the most successful player ever in Canada. She made her debut with the senior national team as a 16-year-old at the 2000 Algarve Cup where she also scored her first international goal. As of June 20, 2019, she has scored 182 career international goals, ranking her second all-time but first among active players.
Sinclair has competed at three Olympic Games, winning back-to-back bronzes at London 2012 and Rio 2016. At London 2012, she was the tournament’s leading scorer with six of Canada’s 12 goals, including a hat trick in the controversial semifinal extra-time loss to the United States. She was named Canada’s Closing Ceremony flag bearer and became the first player to win the Lou Marsh Award as Canadian Athlete of the Year. Sinclair scored three goals at Rio 2016, including what turned out to be the game-winner in a 2-1 win over Brazil in the bronze medal match.
In 2011, Sinclair showed her dedication after breaking her nose in Canada’s opening match, forcing her to wear a face mask for the rest of the tournament. Later that year, she led Canada to gold at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, following up on her bronze medal from 2007. Sinclair was named Canada Soccer’s Women’s Player of the Year 11 straight times from 2004 to 2014 and again in 2016 and 2018. She is a multiple-time nominee for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
Julie Ertz (USA)
In a year in which Julie Ertz proved to be one of the most influential players in all of the women’s soccer, USWNT and Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz has been voted the 2019 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.
This is the second U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award for Ertz who also earned the honor in 2017. Ertz became the tenth WNT player to win the award multiple times, but the only one of those 10 who also won the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, which she earned in 2012 after leading the USA to the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup title.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a year and one that I’m extremely grateful for; my team lifted me up in so many ways and our experiences on and off the field in 2019 just encapsulate the love I have for the National Team and for wearing this crest and what it represents,” said Ertz.
The 27-year-old carried the dominant play she showed in 2017 and 2018 all the way through 2019 as she proved herself to be one of the world’s best. Her lively ball-winning in the air and on the ground, her ability to help set the USA’s tempo in the attack and the danger she consistently provides inside the penalty area on set pieces all combined to make her one of the USA’s most exciting players. In 2019, Ertz started 22 games for the USA, the most on the team and her 1,755 minutes played were third-most on the team.
The appreciation for Ertz’ all-around impact and the rigidity she provided to the USA’s defensive spine, is underscored by the fact that she tallied just one goal in 2019, coming on a spectacular header against Chile during group play at the 2019 Women’s World Cup where she helped the USA to its second consecutive title while playing 474 minutes over six games, all starts.
Ertz was widely hailed for her performance in France and was named to the FIFA FIFPRO World XI at the end of the year.
Ada Hegerberg (Norway)
As the first-ever winner of Ballon d'Or Feminin Ballon d'Or, Ada Hegerberg was tipped for success from making her top-flight Norwegian debut for Kolbotn aged 15 and since then she has already racked up more than 300 career goals, including a record 15 in the 2017/18 UEFA Women's Champions League, her and Lyon's third triumph in a row.
In 2015/16 she was voted UEFA Best Women's Player in Europe and with the inaugural 2018 women's Ballon d'Or also in her possession, we salute a player with a career goals tally that would be the envy of strikers a decade older than a player still barely into her mid-20s.
In January 2016, Hegerberg became only the second woman to win the Golden Ball as Norway's best footballer. The previous female recipient was Hege Riise after Norway won the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Ada Hegerberg and Luka Modric win awards. Ada Hegerberg is the first women's Ballon d'Or marred as a winner Luka Modric ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's dominance in the men's awards while Lyon's Ada Hegerberg took the first-ever women's award in Paris. Hegerberg, who helped Lyon to the French title and Champions League, scoring in the final, pipped Denmark's Pernille Harder to the prize but appeared embarrassed when asked by Solveig if she wanted to dance in celebration and "knew how to twerk".
Hegerberg said: "Being historical and the first woman to win the Ballon d'Or is a huge moment in my life. It felt right to have my teammates with me. "It is a fantastic team with great characters. I have been to Lyon for four and a half years and it is a special mentality. We live and breathe football and I cherish it "It is a fantastic day for women's football. It is historical and it is important to show young girls that they can believe in themselves and I hope they are inspired by this. They are the future. "I cherish all awards as they are the result of hard work and self-belief but the Ballon d'Or is historical. Standing here today is the biggest moment of my life.
It has been two years since striker Ada Hegerberg informed the Norwegian soccer federation that she would not play for her national team until she saw more tangible progress toward equal working conditions and overall support for the women's program. She has never wavered in that decision, despite some initiatives by Norwegian officials, and watched the 2019 Women's World Cup from home.
Amandine Henry (France)
Amandine Henry started playing football at the age of 5 and since there were no girl teams for such young players, so she played with boys until she was 13 years old.
Henry began her career in 2004, at the age of 15, at Hénin-Beaumont. After one season, she attended the women's section of the Clairefontaine academy for two seasons.
In 2007, at the age of 18, she joined Lyon, the most successful women's team in France. During her first season with Lyon, she injured the cartilage in her knee, which kept her out of competition for a year-and-a-half. It was a difficult time, and she considered giving up on football, but with the support of her family, she persevered and returned to Lyon.
After undergoing surgery following the NWSL season, she joined Paris Saint-Germain in January 2017, where she played in four Division 1 matches and one Coupe de France Féminine match before rejoining the Thorns in March.
Henry returned to the Thorns to score in consecutive matches. First, she scored against Kansas City on 16 August, converting her first penalty kick for the Thorns. Then, she played 30 minutes as a substitute in the game against the Houston Dash on 19 August, scoring her third goal of the season.
The Thorns finished the 2017 season in second place, advancing to the playoffs where Henry scored the first goal against the third-place team Orlando Pride. Portland defeated Orlando 4–1. Henry became an NWSL champion when the Thorns defeated the regular-season winning team North Carolina Courage 1–0 in the 2017 NWSL Championship on 14 October 2017.
Wendie Renard (France)
Wendie Renard is a French football player who plays for Division 1 Féminine club Olympique Lyonnais as the central defender and captain of France women's national team.
Renard joined Lyon in 2006 and, since the 2007–08 season, has been a regular within the starting lineup, winning five consecutive league titles from 2006–2011, as well as the Challenge de France in 2008. In 2010, Renard featured in the final match of the UEFA Women's Champions League and, in the 2010–11 edition, helped Lyon win the competition. She scored the opening goal in a 2–0 win over Turbine Potsdam in the final.
Renard is a former women's youth international having played at under-19 and under-20 level. She made her debut for the France women's national team at the 2011 Cyprus Cup in a match against Switzerland. Renard has since represented France in two FIFA Women's World Cups and two Olympics and was the team captain from September 2013.
In the 2019 World Cup, Renard scored three goals in the group stage, a brace against South Korea and a penalty against Nigeria. She also scored an own goal against Norway. Renard scored a consolation goal in France's 2-1 quarter-final defeat to the United States.
Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands)
Vivianne Miedema is a forward who plays for the FA WSL club Arsenal and the Netherlands women's national football team of England. In 2019, Miedema became the top scorer of all time for the Netherlands with only 22 years of age. In 2017, she was named Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Miedema signed for the SC Heerenveen club at age 14 and made her debut at age 15, thus becoming the youngest player in the Dutch league. In the 2013/2014 season, he scored 39 goals, crowning himself with the title of top scorer.
In the 2018/2019 season, she broke the goal record in a single season with 22 goals in 20 games. That same year she was named PFA Player of the Year. On October 21, 2019, she announced her nomination for the Golden Ball. On December 1, Miedema broke her own record by attending four goals and scoring six in one game.
Ellen White (UK)
White made her senior England debut in March 2010 at home to Austria, scoring in the final minute as England won 3–0. After being selected in England's 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup squad, she scored a brilliant goal in a 2–0 group stage win over Japan.
She was selected for England's UEFA Women's Euro 2013 Squad. But, after scoring England's only goal in the friendly defeat to Sweden leading into the tournament, White was left baffled by lack of service throughout the tournament as England crashed out at the group stage.
White scored in England's opening game against Scotland at the 2019 Women's World Cup before scoring twice in England's final group stage game against Japan. She scored her fourth of the tournament in the round of 16 matches against Cameroon and later scored her fifth in a 3–0 quarter-final win over Norway. In the semi-final match against the USA, White scored the equalizer before having a second goal rejected by VAR. She also won a penalty for England although, the penalty was not converted and England was beaten by the holders. Her performance during the tournament has been compared with that of Harry Kane's World Cup performance because of their similar goal-scoring record. England finished in fourth place, losing to Sweden 2–1 in the third-place play-off although, White had a goal ruled out for handball by VAR. White ended the tournament as joint top goalscorer with six goals, becoming England women's all-time top World Cup goalscorer and was awarded the Bronze Boot.
Rose Lavelle (US)
Rose Lavelle plays for the Washington Spirit of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), the highest division of women's professional soccer in the United States, and the United States women's national soccer team. She began six games for the United States at the 2019 France World Cup, scored three goals, and was awarded the Bronze Ball at the FIFA Women's World Cup awards.
In 2019, Lavelle was named the sixth-best player at The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 and was one of three midfielders named to the 2019 FIFA FIFPro World XI.
Lavelle represented the United States at multiple youth levels before making her senior international debut in 2017. Lavelle began her professional career with Boston Breakers before moving to Washington Spirit a year later and after finishing her collegiate career with the Wisconsin Badgers in 2016.
Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway)
Caroline Graham Hansen was the first signing for the 2019/20 Barça Women's team. The Norwegian winger came from Wolfsburg, signing a two-year contract that runs until June 30, 2021.
During the five years she spent in Germany, Caroline Graham Hansen stood out for her power, technique, game-changing ability, and field vision. She led the Bundesliga in assists in 2018/19. In spite of her youth, while at Wolfsburg, she gained a great deal of experience while winning three League titles, five Cups, and playing two Champions League finals (2016 and 2018). She formed along with the Danish player Pernille Harder and the Polish player Ewa Pajor one of the most feared attacking trios in Europe. In addition, she was also a runner-up in the 2013 European championships with Norway.
Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany)
The German soccer player born in Hungary plays as a midfielder for Olympique Lyon of Division 1 of France and as a gold medalist played for the German women's national team.
Marozsan is the key player of the German attack and a player who can create something out of nothing. Certainly, goals are her specialty but she also chips in with plenty of assists. Having become the youngest Bundesliga player of all time in 2007, Marozsan has gone on to have a storied career and win trophies galore.
Pernille Harder (Denmark)
Striker Pernille Harder signed a contract with Wolfsburg of the Bundesliga after spending four years in Sweden with Linköpings. She has also represented the Danish national team, earning her first senior international cap in 2009. Harder is one of the most successful Soccer Player born in Denmark.
In her relatively short career, she has won three Bundesliga titles and three German Cups with Wolfsburg, the Damallsvenskan, and Swedish Cup in with Linköpings in Sweden, reached the final of the Women’s Champions League and the European Championships and her personal haul includes three Danish Footballer of the Year awards and the UEFA Best Player in Europe award in August 2018.
Women’s professional football is in its early stages of development and through learning from the experiences of men’s football and other sports, stakeholders of women’s football (clubs, players, competition organizers, sponsors, and the media) have an opportunity to shape its future trajectory as the world’s leading professional women’s sport. It should be noticed that women’s football continues to receive more and more interest from fans, media, and sponsors, so stakeholders need to establish a clear vision to develop a strategy to accelerate the future growth of the women's professional game.