Marta, nicknamed “Pele in skirts” by the Brazilian master, can do it all. The world has lost track of how many times she has turned a defender around and left her in the dust. That includes dribbling confounding
foes with her superb skill, creating goals thanks to her vision, and scoring them thanks
to a tenacious desire to succeed.
Her personal accolades are remarkable, earning the Fifa female world player of the year
five consecutive times (2006 to 2010). Marta also won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at
the 2007 Women’s World Cup and is the competition’s all-time scoring leader with 15
Hamm, who finished with a world-record 158 international goals when she retired in
2004, was a double threat. Pacey and skillful, she was nominally a forward but often
played like a midfielder. Hamm, who made her international debut at 15 in 1987, earned
275 caps while starring for the USA.
She won the Fifa women’s world player of the year the first two years of the award in
2001 and 2002. She was also part of two Olympic gold-medal winning
sides (1996, 2004) and earned a silver medal in 2000. Hamm is part of the ownership
group of the Los Angeles Football Club, which is scheduled to start playing in Major
League Soccer in 2017.
3) Michelle Akers (Forward/defensive midfielder, USA)
She helped the red, white and blue to the 1996 Olympic gold medal and to the 1999
World Cup crown as well. Little surprise that Akers was named Fifa’s female player of
the 20th century along with China’s Sun Wen. In the USA’s second international match
ever in 1987, Akers scored the team’s first goal and went on from there. She retired just
before the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
4) Birgit Prinz (Forward/attacking midfielder, Germany)
She demonstrated that in her international debutdebut at 16, striking the game-winner in the 89th minute, 17 minutes after coming on as a substitute. It should come as no surprise that Germany won the 2003 and 2007
Women’s World Cup, with Prinz earning the Golden Ball in the former and the Silver
Ball in the latter. In 214 international appearances, she found the net 128 times.
At club level, Prinz scored 282 goals in as many matches for FSV Frankfurt, FFC Frankfurt
and the Carolina Courage. Her trophy case is ridiculously overloaded with three Fifa
world player of the year honors (2002, 2003 and 2004). She was also named German
player of the year eight years running. Prinz retired in 2011 at the age of 34.
5) Sun Wen (forward, China)
Sun’s goals were not only came in quantity, but quality too. After the striker scored a
spectacular, 32-yard free kick in China’s 1-1 draw with the USA at the Sydney Olympics,
April Heinrichs, then the American head coach, gave Sun high praise. “I’d pay for her to
come to play in the United States in the WUSA [Women’s United Soccer Association],”
she said. “She’s so well-rounded. She’s composed and a great leader who leads by
example for 90 minutes.
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