Soccer is the world's most popular sport, and now it seems to be making waves in North America, it is still ever growing. However, despite its enormous global appeal, it seems that only the men's game tends to get much attention which is, quite frankly, outrageous!
Few nations have a professional women's league but that doesn't stop true superstars coming to the fore, and so here we detail just a few of some of the greatest female soccer players ever to grace the beautiful game!
Marta Vieira Da Silva is a Brazilian-born soccer player who is widely considered the best female player ever, having won FIFA World Player of the year five consecutive times between 2006 and 2010. She holds the record for most goals scored at FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments with 15 to her name and has won the Pan American Games and Sudamericano Femenino with Brazil.
Also an Olympic and World Cup runner-up with her national team she has won club leagues all across the globe as well as the UEFA Women's Cup.
2. Mia Hamm
Mariel Margaret Hamm-Garciaparra was a soccer superstar and helped the USA women's team to gold in 1996 and 2004 as well as the FIFA women's world cup title in 1999. She was also a founding member of the Washington Freedom in the first professional women's soccer league in the United States This is all the more impressive given that she was born with a club foot and had to wear corrective shoes when she was young.
Retiring at 32, she started a family and is now a global ambassador for FC Barcelona and wrote two books Go For the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life, as well as the fiction book, WinnersNever Quit.
3. Abby Wambach
A two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion, six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award, Wambach had an incredible career that saw her become a regular on the U.S. women's national soccer team from 2003 to 2015 after earning her first cap in 2001.
Currently, she stands as the highest all-time goal scorer for the USA national team and holds the world record for international goals for both female and male soccer players with 184 goals. Such is her success and popularity that, in 2016, a Barbie doll was made in her likeness.
4. Alex Scott
An English soccer player who has won over 100 caps playing for her nation in the sport, she also plays for Arsenal Ladies Football Club, the most successful club in English women's football with her being a key part of their historic "Quadruple" season in which they won all of their trophy competitions, including the 2006–07 UEFA Women's Cup, making them the first English team to win the competition when she scored the only goal in the two-legged final.
Having also played for the Birmingham City Ladies Football Club, Scott also had a stint in America playing for the Boston Breakers in the NWSL but outside of the sport she heads the 'The Alex Scott Academy' in partnership with Kingston College and Puma, for female footballers aged 16–19 years and was the first of such academies in England.
She also writes a weekly women's soccer column for the Morning Star and is currently studying and doing media training to further a career in sports broadcasting as she already presents Premier League highlights for the Premier League Fanzone.
5. Homare Sawa
Captain of the Japan women's national football team that won gold at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup and silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Homare Sawa is one of only two players of either sex to appear in six World Cup final tournaments and led to a surge in popularity of the women's sport in her home nation.
Long considered Japan's finest female footballer, Sawa made her debut in L. League, Japan's highest domestic league, at the young age of 12 going on to make her International debut at just 15 and continuing to be dominant in the sport until her retirement in 2015, being named the 2011 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year in the process.
6. Hope Solo
Goalkeeper for the two-time Olympic and World Cup winning USA women's soccer team and currently, holds the U.S. record for most career clean sheets after appearing for the national team between 2000 and 2016.
Receiving the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper at the 2011 FIFA Women's world cup, Solo also holds several U.S. goalkeeper records including appearances, starts, wins, clean sheets, wins in a season, consecutive minutes played, and longest undefeated streak.
7. Lotta Schelin
One of the most successful club players of all-time, Lotta Schelin is a Swedish player who is her nation's highest scorer as well as being the record goal scorer for French club Lyon with 225 goals in 224 appearances.
She has been awarded Diamantbollen (the Diamond Ball), given to the Swedish player of the year, a record five times, including four consecutive times from 2011 to 2014. Winning the Division 1 Feminine, with Lyon a breath-taking 8 times, she has also won the UEFA Women's Champions League and the International Women's Club Championship.
8. Sun Wen
A retired Chinese player, Sun Wen is held in such high regard that in 2000, she won the FIFA Female Player of the Century along with American Michelle Akers. Captaining China's national team for many years, in the 1999 FIFA world cup, she took them to the final, which they eventually lost to Aker's USA on penalties, where she won both the Golden Ball (top player) and Golden Boot (top scorer) for her performance.
Off the back of her world cup run, Sun became the first woman to be nominated for the Asian Football Confederation player of the year award and then went on to win the AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2006.
9. Kim Little
The leading scorer on the Scotland women's national football team, Little plays for Arsenal Ladies alongside Alex Scott and won four league titles, three WSL Continental Cups, three FA Cups and one Premier League Cup with them to go with her SWPL championship title, Scottish Cup, and the Premier League Cup that she won with Hibernian L.F.C.
Named as the FA Women's Player of The Year in 2010, Little has represented Scotland at the senior international level since age 16 and was one of only two Scots selected for the Great Britain squad that reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympics.
10. Nadine Angerer
Recognized as one of the best goalkeeper's to ever have played in the women's game, Angerer took over as first choice keeper for her nation, after Silke Rottenberg was injured, and kept a clean sheet in every round as Germany won the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Germany won the UEFA Women's Championship on each of the five occasions Angerer was involved and won the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2003 and 2007. Making a name for herself as a penalty stopping specialist, she stopped Marta's penalty in the 2007 final to help Germany to the win.