After an incredible victory over Japan in the World Cup Final, the USA Women’s Soccer Team has enjoyed a jam-packed celebratory tour across the United States. The whirlwind of festivities included everything from dancing onstage alongside Taylor Swift, a congratulatory phone call from President Obama, and ending with a jaunt across Manhattan Streets in a confetti-filled parade. In honor of the USA’s amazing win, we’re listing the best female soccer stars in US history, past and present. Paragons of talent, strength and grit, these remarkable women are soccer legends. So without further ado…
We kick off this list with the sport’s newest superstar, and this year’s obvious MVP. With the first-ever hat trick in a Final, we watched Carli Lloyd make history. But it’s not merely fancy trick plays that make her a star, but her powerhouse offensive skills, perfectly on-point skill and inspiring determination.
Two-time Gold Medalist and rockstar goalkeeper Hope Solo was also a key player in the USA’s win over Japan. Although the US lost to Japan in an intensely close match in the 2011 World Cup, Solo was awarded the Bronze Ball and Golden Glove for her performance during the game. And this year, she avenged the previous defeat in spectacular fashion.
Her comrades called her The Attacker, and that’s exactly how Kristine Lilly approached the game, setting a US record for 352 caps. The three-time Olympian retired after five World Cup appearances, and now offers her skill and expertise as a coach.
The 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, Abby Wambach is the pinnacle of an athlete who thrives under pressure. She performs best when the limelight is the brightest, shining in both her World Cup and Olympic matches. She stills holds the record for all-time leading scorer.
Michelle Akers carved a permanent name for herself in female footballer stardom with her stellar performance in the 1991 and 1999 Women’s World Cup, leading her team to victory both years. The Hall of Famer was voted FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2002.
This one’s no surprise. Mia Hamm was soccer’s first female celebrity, and had a World Cup Win under her belt before she turned 20. Mia is not only celebrated for her rockstar talent on the field, but for being an inspiration for female athletes, and pioneering women’s role in sports. Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon dubbed Mia, “Perhaps the most influential athlete of the last 15 years.”