The end of the year is fast approaching and with all eyes turning to France in anticipation of the World Cup next summer, it’s time for us to cast an eagle eye back over 2018. The highs, the lows and those players who’ve excelled. As ever we have a small group of writers that come together to debate who the top 100 have been, begrudgingly leaving out those players who’ve missed by the narrowest of margins before getting into a fist-fight over the order. Just like previous years, we take the whole year into account, balancing out the bad performances with good, accounting for injuries to create a list of those who’ve – over 12 months – consistently performed at a high level.
100. Ann-Katrin Berger – Birmingham City
Having made the headlines last year when she announced she would be undergoing treatment for cancer, Berger delighted the football world when she not just made a full recovery but came back firing on all cylinders. As Birmingham found their footing under Marc Skinner, the German shot-stopper found herself tested more than often but well able to rise to the test, making a name for herself as one of the best in the league.
99. Sif Atladóttir – Kristianstads DFF/Iceland
At Kristianstad since 2011, Atladóttir is more a part of the furniture than a player at the club, the diminutive defender one of the most consistent in the league. A player who always has a strong showing when wearing her national colours, the diminutive defender remained ever the reliable leader on the pitch in Sweden as Kristianstad claimed their best ever finish (fourth) in Damallsvenskan.
98. Sonia “Soni” Bermudez – Atlético Madrid/Levante
There is little that can be said about Soni that hasn’t already about the 34-year-old, a talented attacker who is never far from goal, Bermudez played a vital role as Atleti bagged their second Liga Iberdrola title. Moving to Levante over the summer, the experienced striker hasn’t been quite as deadly in the final third but still possesses a great attacking threat.
97. Vilde Bøe Risa – Arna-Bjørnar/Norway
A core component of AB’s strong showing this year, Bøe Risa is another player who’s returned after a spell out with renewed vigour. A clear loss for both club and country in 2017, the young midfielder has regained her touch on the pitch, her strong partnership with Maria Dybwad Brochmann helping to fire AB to a third place finish in Toppserien this year.
A natural goalscorer in Serie A, Giacinti has rarely failed to score whether at Napoli, Atalanta, Brescia or the newly founded Milan. Leading the way last season with Brescia, the striker’s move to AC has seen a slow down a touch as the Milanese team has found their feet in the league. With 24 domestic goals this year alone, 2018 also marked the year Giacinti scored her first international senior goal when she wrapped up proceedings against Moldova.
95. Natasha Dowie – Melbourne Victory/Linköpings FC
A striker with a nose for goal, Dowie showed her versatility this year when she moved to Damallsvenskan after the 2017-18 W-League season wrapped up. One of the more consistent performers for Linköping, her ten goals in 11 apps over the first half of the Swedish season helped the champions find firm footing. On a short-term contract, the English striker was left without a club until the Australian season started back up, the 30-year-old showing no signs of rust with six goals in six apps (so far).
94. Linda Sällström – Vittsjö GIK/Paris FC/Finland
Another 30-year-old attacker who spent half a season in Sweden before leaving for slightly warmer pastures, Linda Sällström has had another fine season. Having had a few seasons derailed by injury, 2017 saw the Finn fire the goals in for Vittsjö, playing a huge part in keeping the team safe. Picking up right when she left of from this year, Sällström pocketed seven in 11 before moving to Paris FC where she has taken some time to settle, but with nine goals in 14 apps, she’s far from being off the pace.
93. Thembi Kgatlana – Houston Dash/South Africa
In what will go down as a breakthrough year for the South African attacker, 2018 was the year Thembi Kgatlana announced herself to the west. Although not as potent in front of goal as Dash teammate, Rachel Daly, the diminutive attacker settled well before shining for Bayana Bayana at the AWCON, finishing top goalscorer at the tournament.
92. Hannah Blundell – Chelsea
A no-frills full-back, Blundell has continued to raise her game each season with Chelsea, the defender a consistent performer for the Blues as they marched to the WSL title last season. Although the champions have looked considerably off of the pace this term, Blundell has remained reliable as ever.
Much like Atladóttir at Kristianstad, Ikidi has moved beyond player into fabric of the team after eight years with Piteå. The experienced defender a subtle but key part of the squad that claimed a historic Damallsvenskan title this year, the 31-year-old proving she also features in Thomas Dennerby’s plans for Nigeria.
90. Lydia Williams – Melbourne City/Seattle Reign/Australia
One of the most recognisable goalkeepers in the game, Williams showed her calibre as she kept the starting spot at the Reign this year despite the presence of the capable Michelle Betos on the bench. Reliable between the sticks in Seattle, Williams continues to keep other Australian goalkeepers at arm’s length for the national team, her consistent performances earning her the number one spot.
89. Hanna Glas – Eskilstuna United/Paris Saint-Germain/Sweden
As Eskilstuna laboured through the first half of the season, Glas remained one of the few performers in the team, her work on the pitch earning her a move to PSG over the summer. Despite an injury or two, the defender has continued to shine this year, for both club and country.
Enjoying an Indian summer in her career, 34-year-old Williams has found her groove at Reading and has been firing the Royals to the top. Happier in an advanced role in midfield, the experienced international has been excelling at her new club, helping harmonise the midfield and attack for the likes of Remi Allen, Rachel Furness and Brooke Chaplen to shine along with her.
87. Kosovare Asllani – Linköpings FC/Sweden
In what will go down as a season to forget for Linköping, Asllani stood head and shoulders above her teammates. Whilst there were plenty of things happening off the pitch that helped contribute to the less than perfect season, Asllani shone, continuing her upward rise since returning to Sweden. Showing her maturity on the pitch, the midfielder showed her leadership qualities as she excelled in her new role.
86. Jill Roord – Bayern München/Netherlands
Still only 21, Roord has had to put in the extra hours since moving to the Frauen-Bundesliga from the Eredivisie, adapting to the pace of the league well, the midfielder has routinely been a source of inspiration for the team when she’s played. Although not a guaranteed starter, Roord continues to impress for the Bavarians, either firing goals in herself or teeing up her teammates, she has routinely been the impact sub’ in the league.
85. Alyssa Mautz – Adelaide United/Chicago Red Stars/Perth Glory
Likely to be one of the first names on the teamsheet for the Red Stars, Mautz closed out the 2018 NWSL season with a flourish. Busy at both ends of the pitch, the experienced midfielder has transferred her form over to Perth where she’s been racking up the goals and assists, gunning for some long-overdue silverware.
Maybe not a name that instantly springs to mind when compiling a list of the best footballers of the year, Čanković had a stellar 2018, building a dynamite partnership with Anna Anvegård. Happy to twist defenders inside out and split the backline with pin-point passes for her teammates, the Serb closed the books of the year as one of the best midfielders in Damallsvenskan.
83. Rachel Corsie – Utah Royals/Scotland
Settling into an uncomplicated defensive partnership with Becky Sauerbrunn, Corsie became a lynchpin at the heart of the Utah defence as the fledgling team looked to find its footing in the NWSL. A calm presence at the back for both club and country, Corsie has taken to the Scottish captaincy like a duck to water, leading from the back as the growing team negotiated World Cup qualification.
82. Charlyn Corral – Levante/Mexico
A dynamo in front of goal, Corral has been firing them in for Levante all year long, the Mexican attacker taking a little time to resettle this season with a new manager in Valencia. Although with ten goals in 13 league appearances, it’s clear the experienced striker is still in fine form. However, that’s something few saw as Mexico fell apart as they attempted to qualify for the World Cup, the 27-year-old failing to transfer over her fine league form to the national side.
81. Alanna Kennedy – Melbourne City/Orlando Pride/Sydney FC/Australia
23-year-old Alanna Kennedy has continued her development this year, adding extra strings to her bow at every opportunity. Switching up each game for the Pride from a central defender to a defensive midfielder and a central midfielder. The rangy defender has adapted well, using her natural reading of the game to help settle her in unfamiliar parts of the pitch, chipping in a with a goal or two along the way.