In the modern world of will and determination to succeed at the highest level, gender plays no role whatsoever in bringing out one’s true potential in the things that they love. Men’s football may be much more far-reached than the female counterpart but the latter has significantly caught the eye of many as the beautiful and bold beasts take the centre-stage to write their names on the history books.
FIFA initiated the first female World Cup in 1991 and within a decade its popularity blossomed many folds as a reported 1,194,221 tickets were sold for the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Even UEFA started organising tournaments for women in the mid-1980s which has provided significantly to the shape of the game in its present professional form. Along the years, many talented and gifted players have graced the field but only the best among the rest have achieved at the highest level. Keeping everything in perspective, here’s a countdown to the top 10 female football athletes who have taken the world by storm:
10. Hedvig Lindahl:
Present Chelsea Ladies team and Swedish national goalkeeper Lindahl has been one of the most consistent shot-stoppers in the game and is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest. Starting her youth career at Gropptorps IF and after a brief stint at Baggetorps IF, she started her senior career for DFK Varmbol in 1996 at the age of 13. After stays at several clubs across the country from Tunafors SK, Malmo FF, Linkopings FC; she made her professional debut for Kopparbergs FC in 2009. She was signed by Chelsea in 2015 and since then has been a key figure in the Blues camp. She has over 130 caps for Sweden and is one of the longest serving female athletes in the country. On 17th of September 2015, Lindahl played her 113th match and broke Elisabeth Leidinge’s record to become the most capped Swedish female goalkeeper.
9. Deyna Castellanos:
Venezuelan footballer Deyna Castellanos started her youth playing career at Escuela de Futbol Juan Arango in 2013 at just 14 years of age. After having a splendid goal-scoring spell at her college level team FSU Seminoles, she was signed by the Santa Clarita Blue Heat and since then has been a regular face for both her club and national team alike. She had previously won the Golden Boot award at the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with six goals and was recently awarded the United Women’s Soccer Player of the Year in her first season of senior football. Castellanos is currently the all-time leading goal-scorer of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup tournaments with 11 goals.
8. Ada Hegerberg:
One of the most prolific strikers of her generation, Norwegian prodigy Hegerberg started off her youth career at Sunndal before joining Kolbotn in 2010 as a 16-year old. After a brilliant first senior season, she joined Stabaek before heading for Turbine Potsdam in 2013 where she finished second in both the 2012-13 Bundesliga and the 2012–13 DFB-Pokal. She transferred to Olympique Lyonnais the very next year and had a splendid season in France as she scored 26 goals in 22 league games to lead Lyon to their ninth consecutive Division 1 title. Recently named the BBC Women’s Footballer of 2017, she was previously awarded the 2016 UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe and the Norwegian Sportsperson of the Year 2016.
7. Alex Morgan:
Olympic Gold medallist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Alex Morgan started her footballing career at her home country Canada’s Southern province playing for the California Golden Bears in 2007 before making her senior team debut for West Coast FC in the year 2008. A central striker, Morgan had several short stints at various different clubs across the country playing for California Storm, Pali Blues, Western New York Flash, Seattle Sounders Women, Portland Thorns FC, Orlando Pride before joining Lyon on loan in 2017. She has over 135 caps for the USA national team and over 80 goals to her name. Apart from being a terrific footballer, she is also an author and has also starred in a few television series. In July 2015; Morgan and her then-Portland Thorns teammates Christine Sinclair and Steph Catley were selected to be the first female athletes to appear on the cover of the video game, FIFA 16.