The striker role is one of the most difficult in football, where the pressure to score goals for your team is incredibly high. Over the years it has developed into a position where you are not only expected to throw the ball into the back of the net, but also connect the game and help create for others around you.
It’s no different in the women’s game, where the very best strikers are those who have the all-round game to press from the front, set goals and score themselves. Here are our top ten best female strikers in the world.
10.Alex Morgan (San Diego Golf)
Before Alex Morgan joined San Diego Wave, it was unclear what the future held for the 33-year-old American forward. Morgan has long been recognized as one of the best strikers in the world, having won two World Cups and an Olympic gold medal with the USA, but took time out in 2019 to have her first child.
After returning to soccer with the Orlando Pride, she became the star signing of Casey Stoney’s Wave. In the Wave’s inaugural season, Alex Morgan scored 15 goals, more than ever in a single NWSL season, and won the Golden Boot. Morgan helped the Wave become the first ever expansion team to reach the NWSL playoffs in their inaugural season, though they ultimately lost to the Portland Thorns.
9. Alexandra Popp (Wolfsburg)
There is no position on the football field that Alex Popp cannot excel in, but it was this summer as a striker that she fulfilled one of her long-held dreams. Due to an injury, Popp had never appeared at a European Championship, but she made up for lost time in 2022. She scored in every game she played in during the tournament, including both of Germany’s goals against France in the semi-final. Unfortunately, prior to the final, she suffered an injury and missed the match against England.
Popp has dominated women’s football for years, with her physicality and ability in the air being particularly difficult for defenders to deal with. Yet she also makes intelligent runs, finding herself in the right place at the right time, reading the game exceptionally.
8. Lea Schuller (Bayern Munich)
It was Lea Schüller who effectively replaced Alexandra Popp in Germany’s lineup this summer after Schüller contracted COVID-19 early in the tournament. Schüller has long been seen as the future of German percussion as he has been scoring goals in the Frauen-Bundesliga since he was 16.
She won the Golden Boot in Germany last season and scored 16 goals during Bayern Munich’s season. In fact, she has scored 16 goals in each of the past three seasons, highlighting what a remarkably consistent player she is. Schüller excels in and around the box, often taking advantage of the mazy runs her teammates make to pick up rebounds, and is especially good in the air.
7. Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns)
If the England crowd didn’t know about Sophia Smith before the US Women’s National Team visited Wembley, they certainly did by the end of the game. Smith took advantage of a high turnover and before England could even blink he had fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
The Portland Thorns striker was first draft in 2020 and had an exceptional season this year as he was named NWSL MVP. She scored the opener in the NWSL Championship final and was also named MVP for that match. USA women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski will have to make an interesting decision heading into next year’s World Cup as to whether Smith or Alex Morgan will start at the top.
6.Alessia Russo (Manchester United)
One of the heroes of England’s successful Euro 2022 campaign, Alessia Russo became their main super-sub, scoring four goals throughout the tournament. Her deficit against Sweden in the semi-final was one of the goals of the tournament and showed a player who is confident despite being only 23 years old.
Russo is just as comfortable dropping deep into the box and has been leading the way at Manchester United since she finished college, where she played for the North Carolina Tar Heels. She has already scored four goals in the WSL this season, with her stoppage-time winner against Arsenal sparking pandemonium among United fans at the Emirates as she keeps them in the title race.
5. Ewa Pajor (Wolfsburg)
26-year-old Ewa Pajor has struggled in recent years to establish herself as one of the very best strikers in the world due to a number of injuries, but now that she is fit again, she is one of the most impressive players of the moment. season. Since the age of 21, she has averaged more than one goal every 90 minutes each season and currently scores at a rate of 1.4 goals per game.
Pajor is currently the top scorer in the Champions League with six goals already, while Wolfsburg qualified for the knockout rounds with two games in hand. Those Wolfesses have not managed to make it to a UWCL final since 2019/20, but if Pajor can keep fit all season they will be a real threat this year.
4. Marie Antoinette Katoto (Paris St Germain)
Marie-Antoinette Katoto was just 23 years old when she became PSG’s all-time top goalscorer. Katoto has scored more than 20 goals in all competitions in every full season she has played since the age of 18. She is one of the best finishers in the world, able to use her body to shield the ball as well as turn defenders. Katoto gave Wendie Renard a gasp during the Champions League semi-final against Lyon when she turned and hit the ball past Christiane Endler.
Katoto sadly only did her ACL for two games in Euro 2022, and considering she’d already scored a goal and an assist in France’s first 5-1 demolition of Italy, who knows how far France could have gone in the tournament.
3. Bunny Shaw (Manchester City)
When Bunny Shaw arrived at Manchester City, there was a lot of hype surrounding her. In her final season with Bordeaux, she had scored 22 league goals, surpassing even Marie-Antoinette Katoto, and there was much anticipation of what she could achieve in the WSL. However, injuries and rotation with Ellen White limited the number of minutes she got. This year, however, was different. Shaw currently tops the WSL scoring charts, with eight goals in nine appearances, and is the undisputed first-choice striker at Manchester City.
Bunny Shaw is known for her ability to score in many different ways – she can shoot with her left foot just as well as her right foot, while her physical dominance makes her a real threat in the air. Shaw is also very good at dropping deep to hold onto the ball before flipping players over with a quick dash.
2. Ada Hegerberg (Lyons)
The inaugural winner of the Women’s Ballon D’Or, Ada Hegerberg, made her triumphant return to football last season after more than a year’s absence. If there had been any doubt as to whether women’s football would have continued without her, Hegerberg answered emphatically in the Champions League. With a goal and an assist in the semi-final against PSG and the same in the final against Barcelona, Hegerberg reminded everyone that neither she nor Lyon were worth sleeping on.
However, her return to the Norwegian national team was not as successful. Hegerberg had missed the 2019 World Cup due to a disagreement with the Norwegian federation, but returned for Euro 2022. However, Norway exited the group stage after being humiliated 8-0 by England.
Hegerberg has suffered another injury and has yet to play this season.
1. Sam Kerr (Chelsea)
Few players can be claimed to be as successful globally as Sam Kerr. As the only woman to win a Golden Boot on three different continents, she was vital to Chelsea’s complete domination of English women’s football over the past three seasons.
Kerr was the first player to score more than 20 goals in two consecutive football seasons and delighted Chelsea fans with some spectacular goals. There were two volleys on the last day against Manchester United to ensure Chelsea kept the WSL, the second winning WSL goal of the season, as well as an excessive chip over Manuela Zinsberger at Wembley to win the 2020-21 FA Cup . She also scored the winning goal in the 2021/22 FA Cup Final against Manchester City.
Sam Kerr has shown that she can play in so many different ways that it becomes very difficult for opponents to get a grip on her. She is just as comfortable running off the shoulder of the last defender as she is playing wide or dropping in deep, she can score headers or long shots. Maybe her only weakness is being one on one, but hey, nobody’s perfect. Sam Kerr comes pretty close though.
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