Five of the most exciting female footballers in the world

Women’s football has continued to grow and reach new audiences over the last few seasons.

For the entire 2021/22 campaign, the Women’s Super League will screen live on Sky Sports. The TV deal for the league, which Sky and BBC signed, is worth £24 million. That is the highest such agreement in the league’s history.

According to a report by Nielsen Sports, the WSL could reach a total audience of 14.5 million this season. That would place it within the top four most-watched leagues in world football.

As women’s football develops at a rapid pace, the quality of players coming through is also able to increase. We’ve picked out five of the most exciting female footballers that could make a significant impact in the years to come:

Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)

Lauren Hemp has already broken several records at the age of just 21. The tricky forward won the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2018 and 2020. Out of all female footballers, she is only the player to win the award twice.

The Manchester City star has superb close ball control and is predatory in front of goal. In her 12th England national team appearance last month, she struck four goals in a 20-0 win over Latvia.

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City boss Gareth Taylor said in November that being able to coach Hemp was a “dream” – and she will no doubt continue to get even better.

Lauren James (Chelsea)

The younger sister of Chelsea wing-back Reece, Lauren James has made similarly considerable strides in her short career to date. Football certainly runs through the family.

One of the best young footballers globally, James made the big move to Stamford Bridge from WSL rivals Manchester United in the summer. Injuries have restricted her to just two appearances in all competitions so far, but fans already know how talented she is.

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Her main attribute is the ability to drive forward whilst keeping tight control of the ball. James also has a penchant for incredible goals as well.

She is one of the prominent female footballers to watch over the coming seasons.

Jordyn Huitema (Paris Saint-Germain)

Jordyn Huitema female footballers
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Canada international forward Jordyn Huitema has already made a name for herself as one of the most exciting female footballers on the planet.

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The 20-year-old, who plays for French giants Paris Saint-Germain, has been particularly impressive in this season’s Champions League. She has scored six goals and provided two assists in just six appearances.

Huitema has already forced her way into the senior international setup. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she smashed in an incredible seven goals from just three games as Canada won the gold medal.

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She uses her tall stature to good effect in the air and is equally capable of running at defenders both through the middle and out wide, as well as an innate quality to finish chances.

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Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns)

Sophia Smith female footballers
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Already seen as a potential heir to Alex Morgan’s striking throne in the United States women’s national team, Sophia Smith has been earmarked as a top forward prospect.

She was called up to the senior squad for the first time at the age of 16 in 2017, although she didn’t make her debut for another three years. Smith has been a prolific scorer at youth level and became the first-ever teenager to be drafted by an NWSL side last year.

The 21-year-old has seven goals in 22 appearances for Portland Thorns this season. Back in September, she scored her first goal and provided an assist as USA beat Paraguay 8-0.

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Leah Williamson (Arsenal)

Leah Williamson
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Leah Williamson has long been seen as a future England star, and it is in 2021 that she has really been able to live up to that prediction.

She has started each of England’s last seven internationals, keeping five clean sheets.

The key attribute that makes Williamson stand out from most other central defenders is her versatility. The 24-year-old is exceptionally comfortable on the ball and can perform defence-splitting passes almost on cue. That has led to her being played in defensive midfield on several occasions – the position she started her career.

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Williamson is also proving to be an increasingly valuable asset in terms of her scoring prowess. She has four goals in all competitions this season for club and country.

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