20. Eugénie Le Sommer – Olympique Lyonnais/France
A player who’s frequently taken the backseat to the likes of Ada Hegerberg, Lotta Schelin, Louisa Nécib [Cadamuro] et all, Eugénie Le Sommer has been an integral part of Lyon’s success since she joined in 2010. At her best when riffing with Hegerberg, the diminutive attacker is a master of slipping into pockets and punishing the smallest of mistakes from the opposing defences she comes up against in Division 1 Féminine.
A lone game wearing the armband for Corinne Diacre’s new-look France, saw another side of Le Sommer, the 28-year-old stepping into the role of captain with aplomb. Leading by example, there was not a single blade of grass not covered by the striker during that game, her passion and drive to pull the team forward apparent from the get-go, the Grasse native showing another dimension to her footballing mentality.
Unless you’re on personal terms with Kristine Minde, if someone asked you to list off Norwegian internationals the 25-year-old would not be likely to be the first to spring to mind. Whilst Ada Hegerberg, Caroline Graham Hansen, Isabell Herlovsen, Maren Mjelde et all are the more prominent players, Minde rather fades into the background although based on her prowess on the pitch she should not.
A midfielder by trade there are few places the Bergen native hasn’t played, a foot solider who’ll willingly be deployed anywhere across the pitch at her coach’s behest, Minde looks equally at home as a winger as she does a central midfielder full or centre-back. Not just an adaptable and tireless worker, Minde has a keen eye for an important goal and has a canny knack of finding the winner when her team needs one.
A complete footballer, it’s of little surprise that this winter has seen Minde sign for German giants VfL Wolfsburg, the Norwegian set to slot right in at the European powerhouse in Lower Saxony.
At 15-years-old, Charlyn Corral was selected for Mexico’s U20 team, playing in that age group for four years before being selected for the senior team in 2011. In 2015, Charlyn was notably dropped from El Tri for speaking out against coach Leonardo Cuellar, but was reinstated not long after Cuellar’s departure in 2016.
After playing for the Louisville Cardinals during college, and a season at Merilappi United in Finland, Charlyn signed for Levante in 2015. It wasn’t long before the Mexican striker showed her capability as a prolific goalscorer, netting 22 goals in her first season as well as 20 last season. She currently leads the Liga Iberdrola goalscoring table with 14 goals in 13 games.
Equally comfortable shooting with either foot makes her a threat from anywhere on the pitch, and the accuracy of her long range shots has beaten many good goalkeepers.
Regarded as one of the best players to ever play in the women's game, Marta continued to show that her age has not completely slowed her down yet as she put in another great overall 2017 for herself. Marta began her 2017 still in Sweden, playing for Rosengård but could not help her team to a league or Champions league title in the previous season. She then ended her three year stint with the Swedish club in April and joined the Orlando Pride.
Marta had shown during her time in Sweden that she was still a formidable opponent, no matter who she matched up with and she showed that with her performances in the NWSL. Her 13 goals and six assists in 23 appearances, along with a fantastic understanding with Alex Morgan, helped the Pride reach their first ever playoff but unfortunately, Marta and company were shut down in the semi-final and ended their playoff journey early. Nevertheless, Marta was included in the shortlist for the 2017 NWSL MVP award and was placed in the NWSL Best XI after captivating both fans and neutrals alike with her club form. Her national team performances may have not been as explosive as her club form but she still managed to score seven goals in 2017
16. Julie Ertz – Chicago Red Stars/USA
It was during 2017 that Julie Ertz consolidated her versatility as she moved into a former defensive midfield role for Chicago Red Stars and the USWNT. While being a part of one of the most regimented defences in the NWSL, Ertz led the scoring for part of the season, the experienced defender making herself useful in both boxes.
Ertz’s tireless work ethic and her imposing aerial threat saw her get on the score sheet four times. The 25-year old has replicated her goal scoring form when playing for country. From her total 14 career goals, six came in 2017 - the hallmark of a significant year for the US international.
15. Tabea Kemme – Turbine Potsdam/Germany
Given a new lease of life as an attacker under new Turbine boss, Matthias Rudolph, Tabea Kemme enjoyed the best attacking season of her career over 2016-17. Part of the most prolific forward line last season, Kemme combined well with Svenja Huth and Felicitas Rauch to hammer the goals in for Potsdam in the run up to Christmas. A meniscus injury before the new-year derailing her somewhat, her form not as good after she’d made a quick return, the reward for her diligent work a spot as a midfielder in Steffi Jones’ Euro roster. Though she enjoyed little time on the pitch in the Netherlands as Germany wheezed to an early exit.
Always a threat down the wing, Kemme has excelled when given more room to roam in attack, the variety of goals in her locker speaking for themselves.
14. Hayley Raso – Canberra United/Portland Thorns/Brisbane Roar/Australia
In 2017, Australian International In 2017, Australian International Hayley Raso proved herself to be a starter for Portland Thorns - but also proved to be, arguably, the Thorns’ most dangerous player going forward. Her fearless approach to 1v1 situations and rapid pace down the wing yielded her six goals and three assists in total. The 23-year-old has consistently created chances through the 2017 season, even against the run of play. Raso’s growth and maturity was rewarded by the fans this year as the forward was awarded ‘Riveter’s Player of the Year’. proved herself to be a starter for Portland Thorns - but also proved to be, arguably, the Thorns’ most dangerous player going forward. Her fearless approach to 1v1 situations and rapid pace down the wing yielded her six goals and three assists in total. The 23-year-old has consistently created chances through the 2017 season, even against the run of play. Raso’s growth and maturity was rewarded by the fans this year as the forward was awarded ‘Riveter’s Player of the Year’.
13. Emily Menges – Portland Thorns
Being on the NWSL Championship winning side is no small feat but when it comes Emily Menges, she was a huge reason why Portland Thorns not only made it to the playoffs but also managed to shut down a North Carolina Courage attack that had been firing on all cylinders all season long. Menges was part of a defence that kept eight clean sheets in 25 regular season appearances, and shut down both the Orlando Pride and the Courage in the NWSL playoffs. Her partnership with Emily Sonnett proved to be the backbone that the Thorns worked off on as they proceeded to win the second NWSL Championship title in their history. Her overall play also earned her NWSL Second XI honours last season.
12. Dzsenifer Marozsán – Olympique Lyonnais/Germany
A skilled midfielder and vital component to a successful FFC Frankfurt side, Dzsenifer Marozsán has seen her career been given a shot in the arm after her 2016 move to Lyon. In a vastly talented team, Marozsán has stood out for OL since her move, her magic in midfield enough to open spaces and pick out teammates with pinpoint passes, the German international racking up assists faster than most can count.
Having been nominated as the new captain, Marozsán has been used more in a deep-lying role for Germany this year, the midfielder still struggling to adapt to the new role, her involvement in the attacking build-up limited. Though it’s for Lyon where the 25-year-old has shown her true worth and footballing know-how.
11. Cláudia Neto – Linköping/Portugal
Having become one of the best midfielders in women’s football over the last few years, 2017 saw another strong year for 29-year-old Portugal captain Claudia Neto. With an incredible first touch, exceptional ability to read the superb knack for winning back possession if her team has lost it, Neto has remained a key-part of the Linköping team that went on to win a second successive Damallsvenskan title, her overall technique earning her a winter move to German giants, VfL Wolfsburg. Her importance to Linköping especially highlighted when she got injured towards the end of the year and LFC’s play suffered as a result.