Photo Credit Leeza Thomas
Are European Women’s football clubs catching up to the US clubs? Discussions about top female soccer players tend to be dominated by US players. US girls who dream of becoming professional soccer players seem to have better chances than girls abroad. Many people find it perplexing that the US does such a great job training their women, but not their men. This is changing fast and, led by Europe, the rest of the world is catching up quickly.
Professional women’s leagues are being set up across the continent. More top clubs are pouring money and resource into developing their women’s teams. Youth soccer academies in Europe are also focusing more on developing their girl’s sides.
In Europe, more top female players are committing to play professional soccer full time. They are devoting 100% of their time to the game. This is a change. The pay for women continues to be below that of the men at the same level of play, but this is also beginning to improve.
Recently, Norway decided to pay their national team players the same, regardless of gender. They are following the example set by the US.
European Women’s Football Clubs Top Talent
US may have to begin to work harder to continue their domination of the sport on the women’s side. There is a new generation of top women’s talent in the European women’s football leagues. Here are a few current examples.
Vivianne Miedema Arsenal and Netherlands
The Dutch striker has been compared to compatriot Dennis Bergkamp. She not only scores goals, but gets many assists as well. She recently notched up 100 goals for her club side Arsenal. This set a new Women’s Super League record. She is already the all-time leading goal scorer for her country, at only 24. She has won two league titles with Bayern Munich and one with Arsenal and the Players Union, FIFPro, selected her in the world’s best XI.
Arsenal is desperate to try and convince her to sign a new contract with the club. This is understandable.
Wendie Renard Lyon and France
Renard is one of the best defenders in World football. She has an imposing stature combined with composure on the ball. Renard also boasts an uncanny ability to read the game. She is never slow to pose an attacking threat either.
With Lyon she has an incredible record, winning 15 straight league titles. They have also lifted the Champions League trophy on seven occasions.
Renard is a former national team captain. She has played for France 126 times, scoring 29 goals.
Photo Credit – Christoffer Borg Mattison
Ada Hegerberg Lyon and Norway
For four successive years between 2016 and 2019 Renard;s Lyon team mate was named the best female player in the world. She was the first ever winner of the Ballon D Or Feminin. In 2019, she scored a 16 minute hat-trick when Lyon thrashed Barcelona in the Champions League final.
She is currently the highest goalscorer of all time in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. She has 53 strikes to her name.
Alexia Putellas Barcelona and Spain
In the past couple of years Barcelona have taken over the mantle of top team in Europe from Lyon. This is largely because of central midfielder Alexia Putellas. Putellas won the 2020/2021 UEFA Player of the Year award.
Putellas is a highly versatile player. She can function on the left, as a playmaker or as an auxiliary forward. Putellas has been at the club for a decade and is vice-captain of the team. She is the club’s second highest scorer ever, behind teammate Jennifer Hermoso. Earlier this year, she helped Spain qualify for the Women’s European Championship.
She has recently surpassed the record of Marta Torrejón to become the most capped Spanish play of all time.
Just as the US seems to have fallen in love with soccer, other countries as beginning to recognize their women’s teams are worth watching and developing. European women’s football is definitely something to watch.
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