The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 will kick-off on Sunday as the 16 best teams in the world will contest for glory. But who are the stars of the finals in Germany? Let’s have a look at the heroes of the women’s game…
Genoveva Añonma Nze (Equatorial Guinea)
Date of Birth: April 19, 1989
Club: 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, Germany
Position: Offensive Midfielder, Forward
Genoveva Añonma started her football career at Águilas Verdes in 2002. Young Genoveva impressed the football fraternity in Equatorial Guinea and she was immediately called-up to the senior national team in 2002. She debuted for the national team at the age of 13! The offensive talent went on to don the jersey of South African outfit Mamelodi Sundowns in 2006, before she joined Germany’s FF USV Jena in 2009.
Maribel Guadalupe Domínguez Castelán (Mexico)
Date of Birth: November 18, 1978
Club: UE L’Estartit, Spain
Maribel Domínguez is the considered the most successful female footballer from Mexico. Domínguez grew in the slums of Mexico City and had her first football lessons with boys from her neighbourhood. The forward nicknamed “Miragol” signed a contract with the Atlanta Beat in the professional women’s league WUSA, before leaving the US to join FC Barcelona in Spain. Domínguez made the headlines in December 2004, when became the first women to sign a deal with a men’s team. But “Miragol” was denied to join Mexican 2nd Division club Atlético Celaya due to a veto by FIFA.
Jo Yun-Mi (Korea DPR)
Date of Birth: January 5, 1987
Club: April 25, Korea DPR
Jo Yun-Mi is the superstar of the North Korean team. The 23-year old midfielder plays her club football for April 25 and she is currently considered the best female Asian player. Jo was named the “Player of Tournament” at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2008 and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2010.
Marta Vieira da Silva (Brazil)
Date of Birth: February 19, 1986
Club: Western New York Flash, USA
Marta is arguably one of the best female players of football history, if not the best. The five-time winner of the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award left her hometown Dois Riachos at the age of 14 to play professional football. She started off her career at famous Brazilian team Vasco da Gama and went on to play for several clubs in Brazil, Europe and North America. Marta, famously called “Pelé with skirts”, made her senior international debut in 2002. She scored 56 goals in 55 appearances for the Seleção.
Birgit Prinz (Germany)
Date of Birth: October 25, 1977
Club: 1. FFC Frankfurt, Germany
Birgit Prinz is one of the flagships of women’s football. The experienced Germany skipper will be playing her last FIFA Women’s World Cup. Prinz made her first appearance for Germany’s national team on July 27, 1994 at the age of 16 against Canada. Prinz played most of her club football in Germany for FSV Frankfurt and 1. FFC Frankfurt. The tall German had a short spell with in the US, when she joined WUSA outfit Carolina Courage in 2002 for one season. The prolific striker is the all-time leading scorer at FIFA World Cups with 14 goals as well as all-time leading scorer at Olympic Games with 10 goals. With 205 international games Prinz has played the most internationals of any European footballer and is amongst the top ten worldwide.
Homare Sawa (Japan)
Date of Birth: September 6, 1978
Club: Washington Freedom, USA
Homare Sawa made her debut in Japan’s highest domestic league at the age of 12 and scored 5 goals in her first season for her club Yomiuri Beleza. Homare made her Japanese international debut aged 15 and scored four goals in her first ever match, a win against the Philippines. The Japanese midfielder took her career to a new level in 2000, when she joined the Atlanta Beat in the US. Homare Sawa holds the Japanese record of 166 caps for the national team, and a Japanese female-best 75 international goals.
Lotta Schelin (Sweden)
Date of Birth: February 27, 1984
Club: Olympique Lyonnais, France
Lotta Schelin is one of the top-exports from Sweden to the world of women’s football. Schelin grew up in Kållered outside Gothenburg and began to play football for Kållered SK. The Swedish forward had spine problems during her childhood and was advised to stop playing football. But Schelin took the challenge and went through intensive training sessions to get her fit for a football career. She played seven years for Göteborg FC, before she decided to try her luck with French powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais in 2008. Schelin’s stint with Lyonnais was crowned with the UEFA Women’s Champions League 2010/11 title earlier this year.
Christine Sinclair (Canada)
Date of Birth: June 12, 1983
Club: Western New York Flash, USA
Christine Sinclair is a six-time winner of the “Canadian Player of the Year” award and she is one of the stars of US professional outfit Western New York Flash. Sinclair showed her full potential, when she was selected to British Columbia’s under-14 girls’ all-star team at the age of 11. The 28-year old forward played for Canada’s U18 national team before making her debut at senior level in the 2000 Algarve Cup.
Kelly Smith (England)
Date of Birth: October 29, 1978
Club: Western Boston Breakers, USA
England skipper Kelly Smith started her career at Wembley LFC, but went on to the US due to her studies in 1997. The Watford-born forward debuted for the English national team November 1, 1995 – three days after turning 17. Smith joined the New Jersey Lady Stallions in 1999 and continued to play football in the States with several professional WUSA clubs. But she returned to England in 2004 due to several personal problems and joined Arsenal LFC one year later. Her time with the Arsenal ladies made her a living legend of the London club, as she scored 102 goals in 112 matches, while winning 14 titles! She returned to the US in 2009 to join the Boston Breakers.
Sandrine Soubeyrand (France)
Date of Birth: August 16, 1973
Club: FCF Juvisy, France
Sandrine Soubeyrand made her international debut on April 12, 1997 in a 3-0 victory over Belgium. The seasoned midfielder earned her record 143rd career international cap in a match against Estonia. The achievement surpassed French men’s international defender Lilian Thuram as the nation’s most capped football player. Interestingly Soubeyrand serves as the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports for the city of Juvisy!
Abby Wambach (USA)
Date of Birth: June 2, 1980
Club: Washington Freedom, USA
Abby Wambach is a three-time winner of the “US Soccer Athlete of the Year” award. She has been a regular on the US women’s national team since 2003 and is the third highest scorer for the Americans with over 100 goals in international matches. Wambach was born in Pittsford, New York and graduated of Our Lady of Mercy High School in 1998, where she lettered in soccer and basketball. Wambach joined the Washington Freedom in 2002 and gained a lot in that time as she accompanied legendary US women’s player Mia Hamm on the field.
Please check this website for more coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2011 in the coming days…
(References: Wikipedia, kicker)