How the Guardian ranked the 100 best female footballers in the world 2019

By on December 2, 2019

For our second list of the best 100 female footballers in the world we have assembled a voting panel of 93 judges from 44 countries, led by the new US women’s national head coach Vlatko Andonovski and legends such as Sun Wen, Lotta Schelin, Aya Miyama and Anja Mittag.

They are backed up by a selection of coaches, journalists and broadcasters, as well as the current Reign FC and Wales midfielder Jess Fishlock and Arsenal’s FA WSL-winning manager Joe Montemurro.

The former internationals have thousands of international caps between them while the managers have won titles in England, USA and even a World Cup.

Our 93 judges are drawn from around the world as follows: Africa 8, Asia 14, Europe 44, North and Central America 14, South America 12.

The countdown begins on Tuesday 3 December with Nos 100-71. On Wednesday we will reveal Nos 70-41, on Thursday Nos 40-11 before the top 10 on Friday completes this year’s list.

The Top 100 rules are explained beneath the list of judges. The judges are listed in alphabetical order by category.


Jordan Angeli Former Boston Breakers, Washington Spirit and Western New York Flash player; current commentator and analyst for the NWSL

Dyanne Bito Former Netherlands international with 146 caps; won two Eredivisie titles

Lauren Duncan Former SASOL League player who is now South Africa team manager and project manager for the Janine Van Wyk Girls School league

Gemma Fay Former Scotland international with 203 caps for her country

Jess Fishlock Current Reign FC and Wales international with 101 caps for her country. Currently out with an ACL injury

Thora Helgadottir Former Iceland international with 108 caps for her country; part of the Iceland squad for Euro 2009 and Euro 2013

Shamila Kohestani Former Afghanistan international and captain

Annike Krahn Former Germany international with 137 caps; won two European Championships and the 2007 World Cup

Katri Mattsson Former Finland international with 100 caps for her country; part of the Finland squad for Euro 2009 and Euro 2013

Anja Mittag Former Germany international who won a World Cup and three European Championships; joint top goal scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League

Germany’s Anja Mittag tries an overhead kick as Norway’s Marita Skammelsrud Lund defends during the first half of their FIFA Women’s World Cup match in 2015. Photograph: Sean Kilpatrick/AP

Aya Miyama Former Japan international with 162 caps; scored in the 2011 World Cup final when Japan beat USA

Lydia Monyepao Former South Africa international footballer

Natalia Pablos Former Spain international with 13 goals in 22 caps; won three Spanish league titles and the FA Cup with Arsenal

Blanka Penickova Former Slavia Prague captain and current assistant manager

Diana Redman Former Israel international with 24 caps for her country

Iona Rothfeld Former Chile international

Jenny Ruiz Former Mexico international who represented her country at the 2015 World Cup

Lotta Schelin Former Sweden international with 185 caps; won an Olympic silver medal, three league titles with Lyon and three Champions League titles

(left) Lotta Schelin of Sweden during the women’s semi-final at the 2016 Olympic Games.

(left) Lotta Schelin of Sweden during the women’s semi-final at the 2016 Olympic Games. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Hania Urbaniak Former Poland youth team international and currently a sports journalist covering women’s football

Tashana Vincent Former Jamaica international footballer

Sun Wen Former China international with 163 caps and 106 goals; won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the 1999 World Cup

Rhian Wilkinson Former Canada international with 180 caps; won bronze at the 2016 Olympics

Kirsty Yallop Former New Zealand international with 90 caps for her country

Mami Yamaguchi Former Japan international with 18 caps for her country; started the 2008 Champions League final for Umea IK


Vlatko Andonovski USA national team head coach

Melissa Andreatta Brisbane Roar manager

Vanessa Arauz Former Ecuador national team head coach

Jene Baclawski St Kitts & Nevis national team head coach

Betty Bavagnoli AS Roma manager

Jose Catoya Venezuela national team head coach

Lisa Cole Former NWSL coach and current Antigua & Barbuda national team head coach

Lluis Cortes FC Barcelona manager

Lluis Cortes, manager of FC Barcelona.

Lluis Cortes, manager of FC Barcelona. Photograph: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Thomas Dennerby Former Nigeria and Sweden national team head coach

Olivier Echouafni PSG manager; former France national head coach

Jonas Eidevall FC Rosengard manager

Desiree Ellis South Africa national team head coach

Peter Gerhardsson Sweden national team head coach; won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Cup

Antonia Is Spain Under-17 national team head coach; won the 2018 Under-17 World Cup

Katayoun Khosrowyar Head coach of the Reign FC Academy; former head coach of Iran’s Under-19 national team

Monica Knudsen Valerenga manager

Carrie Kveton Fortuna Hjorring manager

Stephan Lerch VfL Wolfsburg manager; won the Bundesliga in 2019

Jose Letelier Chile national team head coach

Pedro Losa Bordeaux manager; former Arsenal manager

Stefania Maggiolini Uruguay Under-17 national team head coach; former international footballer

Jarmo Matikainen Estonia national team head coach

Hue Menzies Jamaica national team head coach

Ante Milicic Australia national team head coach

Joe Montemurro Arsenal manager; won the FA WSL in 2019

Carolina Morace Milan manager; 105 goals in 150 caps for her country as a player

AC Milan head coach Carolina Morace.

AC Milan head coach Carolina Morace. Photograph: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Mark Parsons Portland Thorns manager; won the NWSL Shield and Coach of the Year in 2016

Even Pellerud Former Norway and Canada national team head coach; won the 1995 World Cup with Norway

Hege Riise LSK manager; former Norway international with 188 caps and one of only three women to win the World Cup, European Championships and Olympic go

Paul Riley North Carolina Courage manager; won the NWSL Championship in 2016 and 2018

Jens Scheuer FC Bayern Munich manager

Grant Scott Hibernian FC manager

Tom Sermanni New Zealand national team head coach; former USA and Orlando Pride manager

Anna Signeul Finland national team head coach; former head coach of Scotland

Martin Sjogren Norway national team head coach

Lars Sondegaard Denmark national team head coach

Stephanie Spielmann Tahiti national team head coach

Arjan Veurink Netherlands national team assistant manager


Samuel Ahmadu Goal women’s football writer in Nigeria

Juliana Arreguy Women’s football writer in Brazil

Firew Asrat Women’s football writer in Ethiopia

Olga Bagatini Women’s football writer in Brazil

Romain Balland Women’s football writer and broadcaster for Eurosport

Bruno Bezerra Women’s football writer in Brazil

Arka Bhattacharya Women’s football writer in India

Mariana Cabral Expresso women’s football writer in Portugal

Javiera Court Arrau Women’s football writer in Chile

Syanie Dalmat L’Equipe women’s football writer in France

Seraina Degen SRF Sport women’s football writer in Switzerland

Frida Fagerlund Sportbladet women’s football writer in Sweden

Sarah Groube Women’s football writer in Australia

Harjeet Johal Women’s football writer in Canada

Ewurama Kakraba-Ampeh Women’s football writer in Africa; based in England

Rich Laverty Women’s football writer in the UK; creator of the Top 100

Sophie Lawson Women’s football writer in the UK

Leticia Lazaro Women’s football writer in Brazil

Gianluca Lia Women’s football writer in Malta

Antonio Loma-Osorio Women’s football writer in Chile

David Menayo Marca women’s football writer in Spain

Caitlin Murray Women’s football writer and author in the USA

Pamela Del Olmo Women’s football writer in Mexico

Annemarie Postma Women’s football writer and author in the Netherlands

Chen Qingyang Women’s football writer in China

Bea Redondo Women’s football writer in Spain

Romina Sacher Women’s football writer in Argentina

Jasmina Schweimler Women’s football writer in Germany

Adriana Terrazas ESPN women’s football writer in Mexico

Julia Wanjeri Women’s football writer; creator of JWSports in Africa

Suzanne Wrack Guardian women’s football writer

How they made their choices

Our judges were sent a longlist of 450 footballers drawn from leagues on every continent and asked one simple question: who have been the best female players in the world in 2019?

We asked our judges to choose 40 names each, and rank their selection in order from 1-40, No 1 being their choice of the best female player in the world this year.

How the voting works

The No 1 choice of each judge was awarded 40pts, No 2 given 39pts, down to 1pt for their No 40 choice. All the votes were added together to give a raw score.

To minimise the influence of outliers in the list, the highest score awarded to a player was then deducted to give a final score.

A player needed to receive votes from at least three judges to qualify for the list.

If players are level on points in the scoring, the number of individual votes cast is used as a tie-breaker.

Voting disclosure

We are very grateful to our judges for taking part, and none have been paid for participating in this project.

To allow our judges the freedom to express their opinions without fear or favour, individual voting records are anonymised.

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