Players to watch at the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup 2018.
The FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup always provides us with a great opportunity to see the fantastic young football talent from around the world.
It’s a chance to see the stars of the future, and there are already some key names standing out in this large pool of talented players. Is the next Marta among the players competing in France 2018? Marta competed at the 2002 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (also then known as the FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship) at just 16 years old, assisting Brazil to a fourth place finish. Other high profile names who shone at the Under-20 World Cups are Christine Sinclair, Sydney Leroux, Mana Iwabuchi and Alex Morgan.
Here is a list of players (in no particular order) who stands out for me as we head into this tournament and I am looking forward to seeing them compete on the World Stage.
Who are your players to watch at this year’s U20WWC, please share with us in the comment wall below or on social media.
If you haven’t read it already, check out this article by George Nitro Duah, six players that have to hold it together for Africa at the U20WWC.
1. Riko Ueki (Japan) – 30 July 1999 – Forward – NTV Beleza
— RICO UEKI (@9osaru) July 31, 2018
Riko Ueki, who just turned 19 years old, was Japan’s top goalscorer at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016. In the five matches that she played, the forward scored four times and was awarded Player of the Match three times. Ueki played a key role in Japan’s AFC U-19 Championship win.
2. Noelia Ramos (Spain) – 10 February 1999 – Goalkeeper – Sevilla FC Femenino
Noelia Ramos won the Golden Glove at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup 2016 in which Spain won Bronze. Ramos possesses high quality goalkeeping skills, showcasing a strong performance on the World stage at U-17 level. Ramos is comfortable and confident with the ball at her feet and makes outstanding saves helping her team’s progression.
3. Rasheedat Ajibade (Nigeria) – 8 December 1999 – Midfielder/Forward – FC Robo
Rasheedat Ajibade is the captain of Nigeria WU20 team, at only 18 years old, France 2018 will be her fourth FIFA competition appearance.
Ajibade has already earned great accolades such as being named Nigeria’s young female player of the year.
The young captain played a key role in Nigeria’s African qualifiers, finishing as top goalscorer and scoring in all six games!
4. Georgia Stanway (England) – 3 January 1999 – Midfielder – Man City
Georgia Stanway is quickly becoming a star of English football, nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year 2018.
Stanway has enjoyed great success with her club Manchester City and is no stranger to scoring spectacular goals!
Stanway earned her first senior England squad call-up by Phil Neville for the SheBelieves Cup.
5. Geyse (Brazil) – 27 March 1998 – Forward – Madrid CFF
Geyse Ferreira is a standout player for Brazil, she has fast pace and precision finishing.
She first really caught my eye during the U-20 Sudamericano where she netted 12 goals in 7 games.
6. Fenna Kalma (Netherlands) – 21 November 1999 – Forward – SC Heerenveen
Talented striker Fenna Kalma has been described as the next Vivianne Miedema for the Netherlands.
7. Sophia Smith (USA) – 10 August 2000 – Forward – Real Colorado
Sophia Smith appeared at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016, she was named US Soccer’s Young Female Player of the Year in 2017 and earned a call up to the USWNT! In 2017, Smith managed to score for three different youth national teams (U18, U20 and U23).
8. Patri Guijarro (Spain) – 17 May 1998 – Midfielder – FC Barclona
At such a young age Patri Guijarro is making a big impact for club and country. For the last couple of seasons, the creative midfielder has been the youngest player on FC Barcelona’s books. Guijarro has won the UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship in 2015 and the European Women’s Under-19 Championship in 2017, in which Patri scored the 89th minute winning goal to earn Spain their second WU19 title. At senior level she was the winner of the 2016 Algarve Cup and the 2017 Cyprus Cup.
9. Emily Alvarado (Mexico) – 9 June 1998 – Texas Rush – Goalkeeper
Emily Alvarado was a standout player at the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship and was awarded the Golden Glove.
10. Nerilia Mondesir (Haiti) – 17 January 1999 – Forward – Montpellier
Nerilia Mondesir became the first female from Haiti to sign a professional contract when she joined French club Montpellier at just 19. Mondesir is the captain of the Haiti’s U-20 women’s team and is highly rated by her coach as a leader of the pack who is enormously talented and pulls the team along.
11. Jessica Martinez (Paraguay) – 14 June 1999 – Forward – Santos FC
The 2018 U-20 Women’s World Cup will be the fourth FIFA tournament that Martinez will appear at. She was only 14 when she made her first appearance which was at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014. Jessica Martinez has an impressive record of being Paraguay’s leading goalscorer in all the world finals qualifying competitions she has competed in.
12. Selma Bacha (France) – 9 November 2000 – Defender – Lyon
Selma Bacha is a gifted footballer, joining Olympique Lyonnais at the age of nine and climbing the ladder to reach the senior squad, making her debut in the 2017/18 season. She has won the UEFA Women’s Champions League, and the D1F league title.
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Former Brighton and Hove Albion and Sussex footballer. Working with Women’s Soccer United to increase awareness and promote the female game to a global audience.