The Top 5 Women to Watch Out for in Football Right Now
The women’s game is growing at an incredible rate. Less than 10 years ago, it would have been unthinkable that the women’s version of the game could compete with the men in terms of numbers. Then, at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, 21,000 supporters turned out at every game on average. There were close to 50,000 fans at some games.
The in-person attendance figures couldn’t rival the TV audience, with an estimated 1.12 billion viewers tuning in to watch. As the expansion of the game has continued, more and more people are interested in who to watch out for and why. Although the likes of Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan have built fantastic bases, it’s down to the current crop of players to sustain the engagement of the general public.
These five female players are doing exactly that, yet for different reasons.
Miedema is a Dutch striker who plies her trade in London with Arsenal. At 24, she’s an incredibly clinical striker who continues to break goal-scoring records despite her age. Starting at SC Heerenveen, for example, Miedema managed better than a goal per game throughout her stint in the Netherlands, bagging a total of 78 goals in 69 appearances.
She moved onto Germany and Bayern Munich in 2014, notching 35 in 61 competitive fixtures, before landing at Arsenal. In North London, the Dutch forward took the Women’s Super League (WSL) by storm, leading Arsenal to the title in 2019 thanks to her 31 goals in 28 fixtures that year. Where scoring is concerned, there’s no one better to watch than Vivianne Miedema.
Of course, the beautiful game is about more than scoring, and Pernille Harder epitomises this perfectly. Although she is a box-to-box midfielder who can arrive late and get on the score sheet, Harder is best known for her build-up play that meant she was the leading chance creator in Europe last season, barring goals.
The Dane, who plays for Chelsea, might not have won much silverware last term, yet her powerful performances propelled her sides forward, leading to individual awards such as Germany’s and UEFA’s player of the year. With an all-rounder like Pernille Harder in the side, Chelsea fans have every right to feel confident about challenging for trophies in 2021.
Ngangom Bala Devi
Indian female football players are hard to find. However, Ngangom Bala Devi bucks the trend by being one of the first-ever women professional footballers from the country. As well as beating Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min to the AFC International Player of the Week in December 2020, Bala Devi earned herself a well-deserved move to the Scottish Women’s Premier League with Rangers. But, it’s her impact on the game in her home country where Bala Devi has shone the most.
Indian women’s footballer @BalaDevi_10 named as AFC International player of the week after getting 50% of the votes. She beat the likes of Son Heung-Min and Sam Kerr.😎👏 #bluerisingpic.twitter.com/tz04T4rxf0
— Indian Sports Honours (@sportshonours) December 17, 2020
Not only do other female footballers throughout India look up to the example she has set, but the nation is also investing more in the women’s side of the game. As a result of the improved participation levels, football betting in India has increased in popularity as more fans tune in. This had led to the emergence of expert guides to help them find value in their bets. Women’s football doesn’t get as much exposure in the betting markets as the men’s game, but it’s gaining ground. We’re sure there’s a chunk of the hundreds of millions of football supporters cheering on Bala Devi from afar.
The Aussie was an ever-present in the National Women’s Soccer League in the US and dominated the landscape for many years. Recently, she has started a new challenge in England with Chelsea, one that has yet to take off due to a combination of injuries, teething problems and unfortunate circumstances.
However, to write Kerr off is a huge mistake as she’s a woman who regularly topped the scoring charts with 60+ goals in 83 games. Considering Kerr isn’t at her best, the forward has still bagged 10 goals in 14 appearances for Chelsea, which is scary for the rest of the league. If she isn’t at her best, what will happen when she inevitably returns to her old self?
Caroline Graham Hansen
Caroline Graham Hansen is the quintessential type of midfielder that you would expect to play for Barcelona. At 5’10, she’s a silky player who oozes class every time she receives the ball, much like Xavi and Andres Iniesta in their heydays. This is epitomised by the fact that only Pernille Harder created more chances than her in 2020.
Like any quality Barca player, it’s her ability to glide past opponents with the drop of her shoulder that is amazing to watch. Of course, she has the killer pass cocked and loaded, and this uncanny ability has put Hansen on the radars of Lyon and several other European giants.
Who are your favourite female players to watch right now? Do you agree with this list? Please let us know in the comments section!
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.