Since the 1970s, women’s soccer has become a worldwide phenomenon. Millions of tickets have been sold to fans who hope to catch some of the best players competing for the trophy. There are so many talented athletes to choose from, but a select few elevate their talents — and the game itself — to new heights. We’re taking a look at 10 of the best female soccer stars in history.
Marta Vieira da Silva
Brazil is known for delivering astonishing soccer players. Marta Vieira da Silva (known to many as just Marta) is no exception. She’s won five straight FIFA World Player of the Year awards from 2006 through 2010.
In under two decades, Kelly Smith made a record 46 goals with England’s national team. In 2008, she even became a member of the Order of the British Empire. Smith is definitely football royalty.
Homare Sawa brought a ton of positive attention to China’s soccer team in the 1990s. Before retiring in 2015, she captured her first and only Olympic medal at the London Games.
Hope Solo led the U.S. women’s team to back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012. The Washington native holds numerous goalkeeper records, including most career wins and longest undefeated streak.
Between pregnancies, Joy Fawcett made three Olympic appearances. In 2000, she became one of the 20 founding members of the Women’s United Soccer Association.
Whenever legendary goalkeepers are brought up, Nadine Angerer’s name is usually in there somewhere. She led the German team to three straight appearances at the Olympics. After retiring in 2015, she became goalkeeper coach for the Portland Thorns.
Briana Scurry became the first black woman to ever enter into the Soccer Hall of Fame in 2017. In her 14-year career, Scurry made 173 appearances overseas, which is the second highest overall for female goalkeepers. The number of international appearances made by the next American soccer star on this list is staggering, too.
Kristine Lilly broke the record for the most international appearances in a career at 354 in 2010. In 2014, she was inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame along with Brian McBride and Bob Bradley.
For 12 years, Abby Wambach was one of the most dominant athletes on the U.S. women’s soccer team. Her accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed. In 2015, Time Magazine listed her as one of the most influential people in the world.