The Best Female Soccer Midfielders in History
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Since the inception of female soccer, different footballers have made a name for themselves. Whether as goalkeepers, defenders, or attackers; their impressive performances have been remarkable. The likes of Wambach, Marta, Prinz, Sun Wen, Sinclair, and Angerer.
The midfield players are not left behind too. In fact, some of the best players in the history of female soccer are midfielders. Some of the best soccer female midfielders are highlighted below
Sissi played as an attacking midfielder during her 13-year professional career. She is renowned for being deadly at the set-piece. At 5 ft 5, Sissi gained prominence with her playmaking abilities while representing the Brazilian Women Soccer team.
She represented her country at the 1988 FIFA Women’s Invitational tournament where they came third. After missing the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991, Sissi eventually announced herself on the world stage in 1999.
Alongside China’s Sun Wen, Sissi won the Golden Boot award after scoring seven goals at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It was an impressive feat considering that she is not a striker like Sun Wen.
Kristine Lilly (USA)
Kristine Lilly enjoyed a successful career as a footballer where she alternated between the midfielder and the forward positions. She had a 23-year stint with the US women’s national soccer team where she won numerous trophies. Amongst them are two Gold Medals at the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games respectively.
She is remembered fondly for stopping a goal-bound effort from a Chinese player during the 1999 FIFA World Cup final. That block gave the US the chance to go on to win the match on a penalty shoot-out.
She holds the record as the player with the most appearance in football (male or female) with 352. Also, she scored 130 goals with the US women’s soccer team. Importantly, she is inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame. In 2006, she was voted as the second-best player in the world behind Marta for the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year. Indeed, she is one of the best soccer female midfielders.
Miraildes Formiga (Brazil)
If longevity is a person, it will be Formiga. The Brazilian midfielder made her debut in 1995 at 17 years and remained a professional to date (2021). No other player in the history of male and female football has appeared in more FIFA World Cups than Formiga (7). Also, she is the only player to have played in every Olympic Games tournament between 1996 and 2021 (7 Olympic Games).
In 2015, at 37 years old, she became the oldest goalscorer in the history of the tournament when she scored against South Korea. Four years later, she became the oldest player to feature at a FIFA World Cup at the age of 41.
At 43, she participated in the 2021 Olympic Games. Her longevity for one of the best female national teams in the world is a testament to how valuable she is to sports. Unfortunately, the Gold medal has eluded her at both the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Games.
Notwithstanding, she has six Gold medals at the South American Women’s Football Championship to hold on to as consolation for her immense service.
Hege Riise (Norway)
Before she took up coaching roles, Riise played as a midfielder. For many, she is the greatest ever Norwegian Best Female Soccer Midfielders.
In 1993, Riise played an important role in helping her national team claim the UEFA Women’s Championship title. She rewarded for her exceptional performance in that tournament with the Best Player award.
Two years later, she displayed an even better performance and at the biggest stage too. She led the Norwegian national team to the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy. They defeated the German female soccer team in the final. Again, she awarded the Golden Ball award for being the best player in the tournament.
Perhaps the icing on the cake was winning the Gold medal at the Sydney Olympics 2000. Thus, she joined a selected few who won the European Championship, FIFA World Cup, and the Olympic Gold medal during their careers.
Michelle Akers (USA)
Going by official records, Akers is the joint greatest female footballer of the century! She won this award after being jointly voted for the top position in the FIFA Women’s Player of the Century award. Also, she is the recipient of FIFA’s highest award; The Order of Merit.
Akers dominated female football for most of the ’90s. She began her professional career as a forward but later switched to the midfield. Notwithstanding, her influence on the game never diminished. She used her height and speed to devastating effect.
In the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she scored 10 goals which earned her the Golden boot award and led the USA to victory. Four years later, she helped the USA claim the Bronze medal at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
In 1996, she played an important role in leading the USA to their first-ever Gold medal in Olympic Women’s Soccer. She starred in the holding midfield position where she provided cover to the defence and helped create attacking opportunities too.
In her last major tournament in 1999, she again won the FIFA Women’s World Cup with the USA.
Other players who could have made this list are Brigit Prinz and Carin Jennings-Gabarra. The former would have raised eyebrows because many see her as an attacker and not a midfielder. The same can also argued for Caring Jennings.
The players on this list will easily make it to the list of the best players ever. These are midfielders who remained valuable to their teams after decades, displayed rare tactical and technical abilities, and had great attacking instincts too.
In modern football, Midfielders indeed Underappreciated while most of the praises go to goal scorers. However this piece begs to differ.
Not only is the importance of Midfielders highlight in the article, due appreciation accrued to women pulling the strings from the middle of the football pitch.