Top 15 Female Soccer Players in 2021

By Ben Morris in Soccer
| May 12, 2021 10:50 am PDT

It feels as though the global excitement around women’s soccer is at an all-time high right now.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is in full swing in America, England’s Super League (WSL) is home to countless stars, and the UEFA Champions League has already dished up endless excitement this season.

With the Tokyo Olympics also on the horizon, the top female soccer players on the planet have plenty of opportunities to showcase their talents this year.

So, who are the best female soccer players in 2021?

Of course, I could not possibly reel off every star in the women’s game; there are simply far too many. Instead, I have decided to pick my top 15 female soccer players in the world right now.

Let’s get right into it!

Sam Kerr

Sam Kerr
  • Club: Chelsea
  • Country: Australia
  • Age: 27
  • Position: Forward

After breaking goalscoring records in both the W-League and the NWSL, Sam Kerr joined Chelsea in 2019 and has not looked back since.

The Australia captain used the second half of the 2019/20 FA WSL to adapt to the English game. But throughout the 2020/21 season, she was arguably the Blues’ standout player.

Kerr netted 21 goals in 22 games as Chelsea clinched back-to-back titles in 2021. As a result, she became the first woman to win the Golden Boot in three different leagues.

You can’t talk about the best female soccer players in 2021 without mentioning Kerr.

2020/21 FA WSL TOP GOALSCORERS
Player Club Goals
Sam Kerr Chelsea 21
Vivianne Miedema Arsenal 18
Fran Kirby Chelsea 16
Caitlin Foord Arsenal 10
Chloe Kelly Manchester City 10
Ellen White Manchester City 10

Vivianne Miedema

  • Club: Arsenal
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Age: 24
  • Position: Forward

It is easy to forget that Vivianne Miedema is still just 24. After all, the prolific Dutch striker has already broken multiple records.

With 71 goals in 95 international appearances, she is her country’s top scorer by a considerable margin. On top of that, her record-breaking 60 goals in 67 games for Arsenal make her the WSL’s all-time leading scorer and it only took her three seasons to reach that milestone!

Not only did Miedema clinched the 2019/20 WSL Golden Boot (16 goals), but she also finished the season as the league’s top assist getter.

Without doubt one the best finishers in the game, Miedema has to be viewed as one of the top female soccer players in 2021.

Vivianne Miedema

Crystal Dunn

  • Club: Portland Thorns
  • Country: United States
  • Age: 28
  • Position: Full-Back/Winger

Crystal Dunn’s versatility has seen her operate in almost every position on the pitch. But wherever she plays, she invariably dominates.

Starting out as a defender for the USWMNT, the New York native gradually moved into an advance role. By 2015, Dunn was named the NWSL MVP, having netted 15 goals for the Washington Spirit.

Following spells as at Chelsea and the North Carolina Courage, Dunn is now registered as an attacking midfielder for the Portland Thorns.

Funnily enough, Dunn is arguably the best left-back in the women’s game, too. She has excelled in that position for her country over the years, making over a century of appearances for the U.S.

Sam Mewis

Sam Mewis
  • Club: Manchester City
  • Country: United States
  • Age: 28
  • Position: Midfielder

It could be said that Sam Mewis is something of a late bloomer.

Granted, the midfielder’s talent has always been clear for all to see. But after missing out on the 2015 USWNT World Cup squad and the 2016 Olympics roster, there was a sense that Mewis may never fulfill her true potential.

Since swapping North Carolina for Manchester, the 28-year-old has proved her doubters wrong.

City may have missed out on the WSL title this year, but Mewis can’t be blamed for that. The box-to-box midfielder works her socks off for the team and chips in with plenty of important goals.

MANCHESTER CITY TOP SCORERS – 2020/21 SEASON (ALL COMPETITIONS)
Player Appearances Starts Minutes Goals
Ellen White 28 24 1,935 13
Sam Mewis 23 18 1,543 12
Chloe Kelly 27 24 2,110 10

Dzsenifer Marozsan

  • Club: Lyon
  • Country: Germany
  • Age: 29
  • Position: Midfielder

You will struggle to find a more complete player in the women’s game than Dzsenifer Marozsan.

The gifted Hungarian – who has over 100 caps for Germany under her belt – has it all. She is skillful, creative, and calm on the ball, while her eye for a pass sees her contribute a heap of assists every season.

After starring for Saabrucken and Frankfurt in Germany, Marozsan joined French side Lyon in 2016. She has since clinched four straight Division 1 Feminine titles, four consecutive UEFA Women’s Champions League triumphs, and three Coupe de France feminine crows.

Need I say more?

Dzsenifer Marozsan

Pernille Harder

  • Club: Chelsea
  • Country: Denmark
  • Age: 28
  • Position: Forward

When you consider what Pernille Harder achieved at Wolfsburg, it is easy to understand why Chelsea paid a world-record fee – reportedly in excess of £250,000 to sign her in 2020.

The Denmark captain won the German domestic double in all four seasons she was with the Wolves before capping of a stellar debut season in England by sealing the WSL title with the Blues.

Best known for her intelligent movement and lethal finishing, Harder is undoubtedly one of the best female soccer players in 2021.

Lucy Bronze

Lucy Bronze
  • Club: Manchester City
  • Country: England
  • Age: 29
  • Position: Right-Back

Let’s safe it – attacking players generally grab all the headlines when it comes to soccer. But it’s safe to say that Lucy Bronze bucks that trend.

The 2020 FIFA Best Women’s Player of the Year is the only English player – male or female – to have scooped one of FIFA’s “The Best” awards, and there is absolutely no denying that she deserves that accolade.

Following a trophy-laden three-year stint at Lyon, Bronze is now back at Man City and hoping to add more silverware to her lengthy list.

Just look at what she’s won already!

  • FA Women’s Super League: 2013, 2014, 2016
  • Women’s FA Cup: 2016/17, 2019/20
  • FA WSL Cup: 2016
  • Division 1 Feminine: 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20
  • UEFA Women’s Champions League: 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20
  • Coup de France feminine: 2019, 2020
  • Trophee des Championees: 2019

Caroline Graham Hansen

  • Club: Barcelona
  • Country: Norway
  • Age: 26
  • Position: Right Winger

Although Barcelona’s star-studded team is stacked with world-class players, Caroline Graham Hansen is still able to stand out from the crowd.

Having made a name for herself at Wolfsburg, the Norwegian moved to Spain in 2019 and has since clinched back-to-back Primera Division titles.

She pretty much owns the right side of the Barca midfield, gliding past her opponents with ease. With Ada Hegerberg out of the picture, Hansen is also widely regarded as Norway’s leading light.

Caroline Graham Hansen

Julie Ertz

  • Club: Chicago Red Stars
  • Country: United States
  • Age: 29
  • Position: Midfielder

Julie Ertz is the undisputed set-piece queen of women’s soccer; there is no doubt about that.

In fact, the USWNT star has scored 20 international goals in 110 appearances for her country – and 16 of those have come from dead-ball situations!

The versatile midfielder has spent the entirety of her professional career at the Chicago Red Stars and has operated in a variety of positions for her beloved club.

You do not win two U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year awards (2017, 2019) without being one of the top female soccer players in the world, right?

Saki Kumagai

Saki Kumagai
  • Club: Lyon
  • Country: Japan
  • Age: 30
  • Position: Defensive Midfielder

Saki Kumagai has been the heartbeat at the center of a Lyon midfield that has dominated women’s soccer for the best part of a decade.

Famed for her relentless work-rate, the Japanese midfielder always seems to beat her opponents to the ball. But she is just as good with the ball at her feet – and that is what makes her one of the greatest female soccer players on the planet.

Having won just shy of 20 trophies in France, Kumagai will leave Lyon at the end of the season. The 30-year-old looks set to play a pivotal role for Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.

Wendie Renard

  • Club: Lyon
  • Country: France
  • Age: 30
  • Position: Center-Back

Not only is Wendie Renard one of the best female soccer players in 2021, but she is also one of the most iconic figures in the history of the women’s game.

Between 2010/11 and 2019/20, the giant 6ft+ center-back led Lyon to seven Champions League triumphs in ten seasons. Oh, and let’s not forget about the 14 consecutive French top-flight titles!

A serious threat in both boxes, Renard has prevented countless goals for her side over the years, as well as finding the back of the net on a consistent basis at the other end of the pitch.

Renard’s bustling trophy cabinet is a testament to her undeniable talent.

Wendie Renard

Debinha

  • Club: North Carolina Courage
  • Country: Brazil
  • Age: 29
  • Position: Forward

Widely viewed as the heir to Marta’s throne, Debinha has become Brazil’s leading creative influence in recent times.

Having spent much of her career in her homeland, the forward went under the radar for quite some time. But following her transfer to the North Carolina Courage in 2017, Debinha has been able to showcase here skills to a wider audience.

The 29-year-old has lit up the U.S. game over the past few years, guiding her team to multiple NWSL titles. She was also named the 2019 NWSL Championship Game MVP for her troubles.

Amandine Henry

Amandine Henry
  • Club: Lyon
  • Country: France
  • Age: 31
  • Position: Defensive Midfielder

Alongside Renard, Amandine Henry had won it all at Lyon.

After dominating the French game between 2007 and 2016, the classy midfielder spent a couple of years with the Portland Thorns. But since returning to her homeland in 2018, she has seemingly taken her game to another level.

Henry effortlessly shines at the heart of Lyon’s midfield, letting her unrivalled vision and awareness do the talking. She plays the game at her own pace and can dictate the tempo of her team.

The France captain has yet to taste World Cup glory. However, you would be foolish to bet against her leading her country to the title in 2023.

AMANDINE HENRY’S LEAGUE CAREER BY THE NUMBERS
Club Games Goals
Olympique Lyon 162 39
Portland Thorns 33 4
CNFE Clairefontaine 32 22
Henin-Beaumonth 20 11
Paris Saint-Germain 4 1

Ji So-yun

  • Club: Chelsea
  • Country: South Korea
  • Age: 30
  • Position: Midfielder

It feels as though Chelsea has made numerous big-name signings over the past few years. But despite all the high-profile incomings, Ji So-yun has remained an ever-present in the team.

The South Korean joined the Blues back in 2014 and has played a key role in transforming the club into one of the top sides in Europe.

Put simply, Ji is the complete midfielder. Her work-rate is second to none, her passing is immaculate, and above all else, she has a knack for chipping in with goals and assists on a frequent basis.

With four WSL titles (2015, 2018, 2020, 2021) and two FA Cup triumphs (2015, 2018) in the bank, Ji must be viewed as one of the best female soccer players in the world.

Ji So-yun

Fran Kirby

  • Club: Chelsea
  • Country: England
  • Age: 27
  • Position: Forward

Completing my list of the top female soccer players in 2021 is Fran Kirby.

The England international was forced to miss nine months of action when she was diagnosed with pericarditis in 2020. Remarkably, she overcame the heart condition and has since gone from strength to strength.

Kirby racked up a whopping 27 goal involvements in just 18 WSL appearances during the 2020/21 season, netting 16 goals and registering 11 assists. Only Kerr and Miedema scored more goals, while no player notched more assists.

At 27, there is a sense that Kirby can get even better.

Final Word on the Best Female Soccer Players in 2021

That concludes my look at the greatest female soccer players in the world today.

Interestingly, my top 15 comprises four Chelsea players and four Lyon stars – underlining the dominance of those two clubs in the women’s game.

With three Americans making the cut, the U.S. is the best represented country on the list. England and Germany have two representatives each.

If you can think of any other top female soccer players who deserve a mention, feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below.

For more content like this, check out our soccer blog.

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