As we approach Thanksgiving, it is time to recognize everyone we are grateful for, our family, friends and the soccer players who have made a major impact on the women’s game. Without them, the women’s side of the game would not be where it is today.
This Brazilian superstar is a sight to watch on the field. Marta was named FIFA World Player of the Year for a record five consecutive times, and she has been a major impact player for both the Brazilian National Team and the Orlando Pride where she played this past NWSL season. She ranked second in the league for goals scored with 13 and sat in fourth place with six assists. Marta has scored more than 100 goals for her national team and averages a goal a game. Known for her superb foot-skills, passing ability and quickness up top, Marta is one of the most interesting and entertaining female soccer players in the game.
2. Christine Sinclair
One of the most underrated players in the women’s game, Sinclair is an absolute powerhouse. For most, the Canadian native made her mark in the 2012 Olympics when she scored a hat-trick in a 4-3 loss to the U.S. Just four years later, in 2016, she was named the Canadian Women’s Player of the Year. Sinclair has netted 167 international goals, a number that ranks second all-time in both men’s and women’s soccer, second only to Abby Wambach. Currently playing for the Portland Thorns, Sinclair started all 24 matches of the 2017 regular season and earned the team’s Golden Boot award.
3. Abby Wambach
The woman who wore #20 for the USWNT was a dominant force in the game. Winning two Olympics gold medals, being named FIFA Women’s Player of the Year and becoming the women’s all-time leading scorer were just a few of Wambach’s accomplishments. Known for her dangerous scoring ability, one of her most memorable moments was in a quarterfinal match against Brazil where she scored a thrilling equalizer in the 122nd minute, which advanced the U.S. to a shootout and kept the U.S. World Cup hopes alive. (They won in the shootout but eventually lost in the finals.) Wambach is not only a role model on the field, but off the field, she fights for equality for people of all genders, races, identities and sexual orientations.
Bonus: 1999 World Cup Team
There could not be a list of women's soccer players to be grateful for without mentioning the 1999 World Cup team. Although not one person, this was a team of "sheroes" worth admiring to this day.
Following a 1991 World Cup where few people knew who the U.S. Women's National Team was, the USWNT was doubted in their ability to draw crowds for the 1999 World Cup. However, Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Joy Fawcett, and Michelle Akers had a different idea. The ladies won not only the trophy, but the hearts and eyes of America in stunning fashion. The 1999 World Cup is unforgettable. Footage of Brandi Chastain’s celebration following her winning penalty kick will make chills run down the spines of generations to come. The entire nation was tuned in for the championship match against China. With more than 90,000 people packed in the Rose Bowl, the women were victorious and launched the beginning of a new era for success in women’s soccer.
These are just a few remarkable players who have helped make major strides in the game of soccer for women everywhere. Every year, the women’s game grows, and more outstanding players are discovered. It won’t be long before we have a brand new list of female soccer players we are thankful for.