Delve into the world of women's soccer as we rank the top 10 most famous and influential players to have graced the sport. From trailblazers to record-setters, these remarkable athletes have left an indelible mark on the game.

Who is the most famous female soccer player for the USA?

Trying to pick just one name from a list of the best US women’s soccer players is near impossible. Depending on which generation of soccer you grew up watching, you might lean towards different USWNT players.

Michelle Akers was one of the early stars of the USWNT roster, holding the then record for the most goals scored in a single Women’s World Cup with 10 back in 1991.

Since then, Abby Wambach has claimed the record for the most World Cup goals by any current or former US women’s soccer player, scoring 14 for her country. You could go with Mia Hamm, who was a very special talent in her own right. Then there’s both Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, who have been crucial to the 2015 and 2019 World Cup wins.

If you had to give it to one person, right now I would still say it's Mia Hamm, having been named the US Female Soccer Player of the Year five times in a row and winning three ESPY awards for her contribution to the USWNT.

Who is the most famous female soccer player in 2023?

That title should go to Spanish international Alexia Putellas, who is just working her way back from an ACL injury in the summer of 2022.

Putellas is the only woman so far to have won the Ball d’Or Feminin more than once, having claimed the award in both 2021 and 2022. In fact, her 2021 campaign might be the best season of any female player in the game.

Spain are hoping that Putellas will be back in time to make an impact on the Women’s World Cup in 2023, and her presence would certainly be great for fans of the game too. When healthy, she is arguably the very best women’s soccer player in the world right now.

Related: If you need some suggestions about players to keep an eye on in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, look no further. Here are the 10 best FIFA Women’s World Cup players to watch throughout the tournament.

Ranking the Top 10 Most Famous Women’s Soccer Players of all time

  1. Alexia Putellas - Midfielder

Born: February 4th, 1994
Years Active: 2010-Present
Teams: Espanyol, Levante, Barcelona
Trophies: Primera Division Femenina x4, Women’s Champions League x2
Awards: FIFA Women Player of the Year x1, Champions League Player of the Season x1, UEFA Player of the Year x2, Ballon d’Or Feminin x2
Twitter Followers: 425k
Instagram Followers: 2.9 Million

Alexia Putellas has without a doubt earned her way onto this list with the way she’s performed in the last couple of seasons. The soccer world was denied of her genius for the past year due to the ACL injury, but the 2021 and 2022 success she had while commanding the midfield for Barcelona is quite spectacular.

Putellas grew up going to soccer camps run by Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi, before signing with Sabadell at the age of seven in Spain. Her youth career took her to Levante and on to Barcelona, before she signed her first professional contract with Espanyol in 2010.

It wouldn’t take long for her to find her way back to Barcelona, where she is now one of the most influential players in world soccer. She’s helped Barcelona to four Champions League finals, two of which they’ve won.

  1. Sun Wen - Striker

Born: April 6th, 1973
Years Active: 1989-2006
Teams: Shanghai SVA, Atlanta Beat
Trophies: 4x Asian Cup
Awards: FIFA Female Player of the Decade
Twitter Followers: N/A
Instagram Followers: N/A

Sun Wen was the superstar of the Chinese national team during their best years, featuring in the team in four World Cups having made her debut for her country at the age of just 17.

In a combination of four World Cups and two Olympic tournaments, Sun Wen scored 16 goals for her country, helping them to runner up positions in both the World Cup and the Olympics.

The 1999 World Cup final was the closest China have come to claiming the prestigious trophy, losing in an agonizing penalty shootout against the USWNT. Sun Wen won the Golden Ball awarded to the player of the tournament and was the co-Golden Boot winner too with seven goals.

In 2002 she was named the FIFA Female Player of the Decade alongside Michelle Akers, both of whom are two of the most famous female soccer players to date.

  1. Michelle Akers - Striker

Born: February 1st, 1966
Years Active: 1985-2000
Teams: Tyreso FF, Orlando Lions Women
Trophies: 2x Women’s World Cup, 1x Olympic Gold,
Awards: FIFA Female Player of the Decade
Twitter Followers: 20k
Instagram Followers: 15.1k

Michelle Akers was one of the earliest women’s soccer players to become a star, scoring the very first goal for the USWNT in a 2-2 tie against Denmark.

Akers led the line at the 1991 World Cup, scoring 10 goals in the tournament. She was a key influence in the USA winning the very first World Cup, and came back eight years later to help them win another one in 1999.

The striker is one of the best U.S. women’s soccer players of all time, earning her a spot in the National Soccer Hall of Fame. She won the FIFA Female Player of the Century award along with China’s Sun Wen, and retired having scored 107 goals in 155 games for her country.

  1. Alex Morgan - Striker

Born: July 2nd, 1989
Years Active: 2008-Present
Teams: West Coast FC, California Storm, Pali Blues, Western New York Flash, Seattle Sounders Women, Portland Thorns FC, Orlando Pride, Lyon, Tottenham Hotspur, San Diego Wave
Trophies: 2x Women’s World Cup, 1x Olympic Gold, 1x Division 1 Feminin, 1x NWSL, 1x Women’s Champions League
Awards: 2x US Soccer Athlete of the Year, 4x Women's Player of the Year
Twitter Followers: 3.7 Million
Instagram Followers: 10.1 Million

Alex Morgan has been a pivotal feature for her country in recent years, and one of the most influential USWNT players in both the 2015 and 2019 World Cup victories.

Morgan has netted 121 times for her country in 207 appearances, as well as building a successful domestic career in the USA. Her international goal tally makes her one of the top five all time goalscorers for the USWNT, and she’s scored several crucial goals for her country, including a last gasp winner against Canada at the 2012 Olympics.

Never afraid to take a shot on goal, Alex Morgan has established herself as a household name in women’s soccer, as well as advocating for the future of the women’s game with a strong voice in the community. Morgan has won multiple ESPYs for her contribution to the women’s game, and is one of the most famous women’s soccer players in history.

Alex Morgan will feature in the USWNT lineup once again at the Women’s World Cup 2023, looking to help her country make history with a third straight World Cup win.

  1. Christine Sinclair - Striker

Born: June 12th, 1983
Years Active: 2000-Present
Teams: Vancouver Breakers, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, FC Gold Pride, Western New York Flash, Portland Thorns
Trophies: 4x NWSL, 1x Olympic Gold
Awards: 14x Canada Soccer Player of the Year, Canada Walk of Fame, Best FIFA Special Award
Twitter Followers: 115.5k
Instagram Followers: 89.7k

Christine Sinclair is one of the most iconic sports figures in Canadian history and was inducted into the Canada Walk of Fame in recognition of that back in 2013.

As of 2023, Christine Sinclair is the world's leading all-time international goalscorer, across mens and womens soccer. She has managed 190 goals for her country in 323 appearances, and is still active at the age of 40. She received the Best FIFA Special award in 2022 for her accomplishment, proving to be one of the most prolific female soccer players in history.

Canada won Gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, with Sinclair finally getting the accolade she had fallen just short of on two prior occasions in her career, winning bronze in both 2012 and 2016.

Sinclair is heavily celebrated amongst Canadian soccer fans, and it's easy to see why when she’s been such a pivotal feature of the national team for over two decades.

  1. Birgit Prinz - Striker

Born: October 25th, 1977
Years Active: 1993-2011
Teams: FSV Frankfurt, FFC Frankfurt, Carolina Courage
Trophies: 5x European Champions, 2x Women’s World Cup, 7x Bundesliga
Awards: 3x FIFA World Player of the Year, 8x German Soccer Player of the Year
Twitter Followers: N/A
Instagram Followers: N/A

Birgit Prinz was the goalscorer and clinical finisher that led the front line for the German women’s team in an era in which they dominated on both the European and world stage.

Prinz helped her country to win the European Championship five times, as well as claiming back-to-back World Cups in 2003 and 2007. Her goal scoring ability in the World Cup is second only to Brazil’s Marta, with the German netting 14 times at the international competition.

The German legend was named both the Player of the tournament and the Golden Boot winner at the 2003 World Cup, playing a lead role in Germany's run to their first ever women’s World Cup trophy.

Prinz’s goalscoring at the domestic level is astounding, scoring exactly 282 goals in 282 domestic games for the three clubs she featured for. She was named the FIFA World Player of the Year three times and won the German Player of the Year award for a record eight seasons in a row.

Clinical in front of goal and able to come up with a crucial finish when it mattered the most, Birgit Prinz is one of the greats.

  1. Megan Rapinoe - Winger

Born: July 5th, 1985
Years Active: 2006-Present
Teams: Chicago Red Stars, Philadelphia Independence, MagicJack, Sydney FC, Seattle Sounders Women, Lyon, OL Reign
Trophies: 2x Women’s World Cup, 1x Olympic Gold, 2x Division One Feminin
Awards: National Soccer Hall of Fame, 1x FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Ball & Golden Boot, 1x Ballon d’Or Feminin
Twitter Followers: 883k
Instagram Followers: 2.1 Million

Megan Rapinoe is one of the best U.S. women’s soccer players of all time, and the only one who has claimed the Ballon d’Or Feminin.

During the 2015 World Cup Rapinoe went on a rampage scoring five of the team's eight goals as they took on some of Europe’s finest women’s soccer teams on their way to another World Cup win. She played a crucial role in the gritty final against the Netherlands, breaking the deadlock and leading the USA to claim the World Cup trophy with a 2-0 win.

The USWNT winger claimed both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards from the competition, scoring six goals and adding three assists. It was largely because of her value and contribution in those critical knockout games that Rapinoe became the first American to win the Ballon d’Or, while also playing at an elite level for her long-term domestic club OL Reign, who she’s been with since 2013.

Megan Rapinoe has been a trailblazer for women’s soccer and her decorated career serves as an inspiration to young women who wish to follow in her footsteps. She has represented the U.S. women's soccer players in Europe with Lyon and built a legendary career at OL Reign.

  1. Abby Wambach - Striker

Born: June 2nd, 1980
Years Active: 2001-2015
Teams: Washington Freedom, Ajax America Women, MagicJack, Western New York Flash
Trophies: 1x Women’s World Cup, 2x Olympic Gold
Awards: 6x US Soccer Athlete of the Year, 1x FIFA World Player of the Year, National Soccer Hall of Fame
Twitter Followers: 736k
Instagram Followers: 1.1 Million

Abby Wambach is one of the most clutch goalscorers in the game, and one of the most celebrated retired US women’s soccer players.

She made 255 appearances for her country scoring 184 goals, and was always a physically imposing threat upfront. She caused relentless headaches for defenders with her impressive movement and poaching ability to always be in the right place at the right time in the penalty area.

In the 2011 World Cup it was Abby Wambach who rescued the USWNT from the clutches of elimination with a 122nd minute goal in extra time of their quarter final matchup against Brazil. Megan Rapinoe fired a beautiful cross from deep on the left and Wambach focused in on it as the goalkeeper came charging for it. The keeper missed it and Abby Wambach nodded it home to tie the game and force a penalty shootout, which the USWNT would win.

Wambach was named the US Soccer Athlete of the Year a record six times, and in 2011 she became the first soccer player either male or female to be named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year.

  1. Mia Hamm - Striker, Midfielder

Born: February 1st, 1966
Years Active: 1985-2000
Teams: Washington Freedom
Trophies: 2x Women’s World Cup, 2x Olympic Gold
Awards: 5x US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, National Soccer Hall of Fame, 2x FIFA World Player of the Year, 2x Sportswoman of the Year
Twitter Followers: 203.7k
Instagram Followers: 39.9k

Mia Hamm holds the esteemed title of the most influential player in the history of the United States women's national soccer team. With an impressive resume, multiple international titles, and numerous ESPY awards, her impact on the sport is unmatched.

Hamm was influential in both the 1991 and 1999 World Cup wins for the USA, scoring two goals in each tournament and converting her penalty in the shootout with China in the 1999 final. She won two Olympic Golds and made a total of 276 appearances for her country, scoring 158 goals.

As a player, she showcased exceptional speed, skill, and composure in front of the goal. Her talent and impact were recognized globally, earning her a spot on the prestigious FIFA 100 list alongside Michelle Akers, symbolizing the prowess of US female soccer players and inspiring women worldwide.

Domestic women’s soccer was not what it is today when Mia Hamm was at her best, and she only had the opportunity to play in a competitive league from 2001-2003. Since retirement she has become a major influence on the game, now a co-founder of Los Angeles FC, an ambassador at FC Barcelona and on the board at Roma.

Hamm played in four World Cups, claimed two Olympic Gold medals and was twice named the Sportswoman of the Year. She is now a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and continues to work hard for the women’s game of soccer.

  1. Marta - Forward

Born: February 19th, 1986
Years Active: 2000-Present
Teams: Vasco De Gama, Santa Cruz, Umea IK, Los Angeles Sol, Santos, Gold Pride, Western New York Flash, Tyreso, Rosengard, Orlando Pride
Trophies: 3x Damallsvenskan (Sweden), 4x Torneio Internacional de Futebol Feminino (Brazil)
Awards: 6x World Player of the Year
Twitter Followers: N/A
Instagram Followers: 2.6 Million

Marta is the most talented women’s soccer player in history, and a legend of the women’s game.

Now 37 years old in 2023, Marta will compete in her sixth World Cup competition, having made her debut at the age of 17 twenty years ago. She is the record holder for goals scored in World Cup competition, netting 17 times for Brazil, and helping them to the final in 2007.

That 2007 World Cup was the very best of Marta. She was in her prime and dominating on the pitch, falling one stop short of winning the competition with her country. She scored seven goals and added five assists at the tournament, winning both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot.

Marta produced a moment of magic in a statement 4-0 win over the USA in the quarter finals, flicking the ball around a defender in sweet Brazilian style before running onto it, wrong-footing another defender and firing past the US goalkeeper. The goal perfectly epitomized her amazing game with its flair, style, and composure. Throughout her career, she scored numerous iconic goals for her country, showcasing her exceptional talents.

In 2018 she became the first woman inducted into the Maracana Walk of Fame in Brazil at the Maracana Stadium. The stadium is considered to be the ‘Temple’ of Brazilian Soccer, and her footprints are now on display with many other great Brazilian icons.

Marta is the top international goalscorer for her country, male or female, and one of the most talented and celebrated Brazil Women’s National soccer team players in history.

Parameters for ranking

These famous female athletes have been ranked based on their individual and international success as some of the best soccer players in the women’s game. Accolades and awards have been taken into account, as well as World Cup wins and the level of impact they had on the women’s game.

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