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Women's soccer has been around for decades and many countries formed teams after the second World War, but in the USA, it became popular in the 1990s via collegiate soccer, and the first women's league was created in 1995. Right now, the highest tier of women's soccer in the US is the National Women's Soccer League, which was started in 2012.
Women's soccer is still developing in the US and new teams were created even in 2020, like the Angel City FC and Kansas City (major super league). In this article, we will introduce you to the top US women's soccer players and tell you a bit more about them and their accomplishments.
Hamm was a forward for the US women's national soccer team from 1987 to 2004. She has been to four FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments and won two titles. Hamm is also a two-time gold Olympic medalist and leads the team to three Olympic Games.
Mia Hamm played as a forward for Notre Dame Knights and Lake Braddock Bruins in her youth career. When she moved on to college sports, she played for North Carolina Tar Heels and won them four consecutive Division 1 titles. Her senior career was spent playing for Washington Freedom where she made almost fifty appearances and scored twenty-five goals.
Among her honors is FIFA World Player of the Year for two consecutive years, U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year for five consecutive years, and the first woman to be inducted in the World Football Hall of Fame. She is also inducted in multiple other Halls of Fame and made the FIFA 100 list (list of the 125 greatest living soccer players), which was selected by Pele himself.
Right now, she is a co-owner of Los Angeles FC, on the board of directors of A.S. Roma, and a global ambassador for FC Barcelona.
Abby Wambach is the second-most popular soccer player among the top US women's soccer players on our list. Among her honors are two Olympic gold medals, FIFA Women's World Cup Champion, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, etc. She won the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award six times and was the first soccer player (from both men and women) to be named the Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.
Wambach played for the Florida Gators in her college days and when she started her senior career in 2002, she played in Washington Freedom. After that, she spent time in various other clubs, like Ajax America Women, Western New York Flash, and magicJack. In her career, she appeared in 19 matches and scored 75 goals.
Abby played for the US national soccer team from 2001 to 2015 and appeared in 255 matches. She scored 184 international goals during that time, which makes her the top all-time scorer of the national team and second-best when it comes to international goals from both men and women.
Kristine Lilly is another retired soccer player, who scored 130 goals for the US national team and is only behind Mia Humm and Abby Wambach, who we talked about already. She played for the North Carolina Tar Heels during her college days and transitioned into Tyresö FF in 1994 to start her senior career. After that, she spent time in multiple clubs, like Washington Warthogs, Delaware Genies, KIF Örebro DFF, and the Boston Breakers where she spent the longest time.
She holds the record for most international caps earned by both men and women – 354 caps. Lilly was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015 and receive multiple awards for her college and senior careers. She won the Olympic gold medal two times and a silver medal once, and also the FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball three times.
Michelle Akers is a former soccer player who spent almost all of her senior career playing for Tyresö FF. She also starred in the US national team and scored a total of 105 goals for them from 1985 to 2000.
We decided she deserved to be on the top US women's soccer players list because she is not only a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame since 2004, but she also starred and helped to win the three gold medals in the 1991, 1996, and 1999 Olympics. She has won a Golden Shoe for top scorer at the 1991 Olympic Games.
Besides her Olympic history, she was named as one of the only two women in the FIFA 100 list created by Pele himself alongside Mia Hamm. She also won the FIFA Female Player of the Century award in 2002.
Carli Lloyd is the first athlete from our top US women's soccer players list who still competes professionally. She has played for the women's national team since 2002 and is currently playing for NJ/NY Gotham FC. Over the years she has been a part of more than ten teams, including Chicago Red Stars, Atlanta Beat, Western New York Flash, Houston Dash, and was briefly loaned to Manchester City.
2015 was Lloyd's year because she won multiple awards, like the FIFA Women's World Cup Golden Ball, Silver Boot, made the All-Star and Dream Teams that year, and won the Goal of the Tournament that year. She was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2017 and was named the best women's player of the decade (2011-2020).
Lloyd was part of the teams that won the gold medal at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and named FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015 and 2019. She was also named the highest-paid women's soccer player in the world.
Other Players, We Considered
Our list of the top US women's soccer players could have been longer and we considered many names but decided to only give you additional info about the top five athletes. Here are some additional names we also considered and would put in the “top ten” chart (if we make a longer list) in the future.
- Hope Solo
- Julie Foudy
- Christie Pearce
- Alex Morgan
- Tiffeny Milbrett
- Brandi Chastain