For those who have fallen in love with the sport, here are the Herald’s picks of the best teams and leagues to watch to continue seeing the best of the women’s game.
Women’s Super League
The 2023/24 Women’s Super League in England (the equivalent of the men’s Premier League) kicks off on the first weekend of October. This competition is home to clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. Chelsea were last season’s champions for the sixth time.
Mary Fowler - Australia - Manchester City: just 20, and Australia’s breakout star. She was key for the side when they were without Sam Kerr.
Alessia Russo - England - Arsenal: Russo moved from Manchester United to Arsenal on a free transfer, but had multiple offers earlier for over $1 million.
Sam Kerr - Australia - Chelsea FC: she’s Sam Kerr and probably heading into the final few prime seasons of her life.
Mary Earps - England - Manchester United: Earps was key for England in their World Cup run and was also named the 2023 Fifa Goalkeeper of the year.
Katie McCabe - Ireland - Arsenal: McCabe is such a battler and a fun, feisty player to watch. Had Ireland been in an easy group, they likely would have gone quite deep into the tournament.
Guro Reiten - Norway - Chelsea: Reiten plays alongside Sam Kerr and assists many of her goals. She’s an exciting, technical talent.
Amanda Ilestedt - Sweden - Arsenal: a central defender who scored four goals and almost won the tournament’s Golden Boot.
Khadija “Bunny” Shaw - Jamaica - Manchester City: Jamaica were one of the tournament’s breakout teams led by Bunny. She can score goals and is not afraid to put her body on the line.
National Women’s Soccer League
The NWSL is a powerhouse league that attracts top talent around the globe. It’s a competitive league with a solid fanbase that really celebrates women players. For years it’s boasted most of the US Women’s National team, who are No 1 in the world. The Portland Thorns are the current title holders, winning in 2022 for a third time.
Sophia Smith - United States - Portland Thorns: at 23 years old, Smith scored a brace in the United States’ opening match. Had her team not flopped in the Round of 16, Smith would have likely carried her team to the final.
Thembi Kgatlana - South Africa - Racing Louisville: Kgatlana lost three family members at home in South Africa while at the World Cup and still managed to score a couple of goals and take her team to the knockout stage.
Marta - Brazil - Orlando Pride: she’s Marta. Arguably the Goat of the women’s game and she doesn’t have long left.
Rose Lavelle - United States - OL Reign: Lavelle returned from a two-month injury for this World Cup, however her tournament was cut short after she was given a second yellow card and a one-match ban. She’s one of America’s best players right now and her team were lost without her in their Round of 16 defeat.
Trinity Rodman - United States - Washington Spirit: Rodman is a young bright star who is the most expensive player in the NWSL right now.
The best thing about having the Fifa Women’s World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand is the legacy it will leave for the A-League. Already a highly-competitive competition, it’s often a building block and a pathway for young Oceania talent to eventually go further abroad. The competition is made up of 11 Australian clubs and one New Zealand - the Wellington Phoenix. Sydney FC won the 2022/23 season.
Courtnee Vine - Australia - Sydney FC: remember that winning penalty Australia scored to advance to the semifinals... yeah that was Vine. She once said her aim is to be the fastest footballer in the world.
Claudia Bunge - New Zealand - Melbourne Victory: though not a starter for the Football Ferns at this tournament, Bunge will be an important leader at the back in the coming years.
Indiah-Paige Riley - New Zealand - Brisbane Roar: Riley was so clinical and hungry for New Zealand in the World Cup and fans should be excited to see more of her.
Malia Steinmetz - New Zealand - Western Sydney Wanderers: Steinmetz was a rock in New Zealand’s midfield during the World Cup and at only 24 years old, she will be key for the Ferns in the years to come.
Grace Jale - New Zealand - Perth Glory: though Kiwi fans didn’t see much of Jale, she has had some incredible stats in the last few seasons playing in the A-league. She’s a young, versatile talent who New Zealand can expect to see more of in the near future.
The leagues in France (Division 1 Feminine), Germany (Frauen-Bundesliga) and Spain (Liga F) are growing rapidly and proving they can produce some of the best talent in the world. Though not as competitive across the entire league, the top teams like Olympique Lyonnais, Wolfsburg, and FC Barcelona are full of stars who are often taking out the Uefa Champions League.
Jacqui Hand - New Zealand - Aland (Finland): Hand was arguably New Zealand’s best player in their 2023 Word Cup campaign, and she’s only 24. Expect Hand to be playing in the big leagues in the near future.
Linda Caicedo - Colombia - Real Madrid (Spain): Caicedo beat cancer and has been playing pro football since she was 14. Now 18, Caicedo has played at her first World Cup and found the net twice.
Esmee Brugts - Netherlands - PSV (Netherlands): Brugts scored some banging goals for the Dutch at the World Cup and is another youngster with a very bright future.
Lindsey Horan - United States - Lyon (France): Horan captained the States through their worst World Cup campaign in history, however, she was their best player. Her touch, her awareness, and her goalscoring ability are all world-class.
Aitana Bonmati - Spain - FC Barcelona (Spain): Bonmati blew many minds with her technical ability and football smarts, leaving people thinking she might be the next Ballon d’Or winner.
Salma Paralluelo - Spain - FC Barcelona (Spain): Paralleulo won the Under-17 World Cup, U20 World Cup and was a Women’s World Cup finalist. Paralleulo is only 19 and has an extremely bright future.