Top 100 Female Footballers of 2022: 10-1
Results: 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1
The voting period for the Top 100 Female Footballers of 2022 was 1st November 2021 – 31st October 2022
Bronze ranks in the top 10 for a sixth year out of seven, moving back up after coming 34th in 2021. A culmination of finding something close to her best form, her role in England’s Euro 2022-winning side and a move to Barcelona are all factors that have moved Bronze closer to the top again, and her ability to perform when the pressure is on remains a key part of her success. She helped Manchester City to a domestic trophy – the Continental Cup – and was once again vital for England, with her dogged performance in the final against Germany particularly impressive. Her talent is still regarded highly enough that Barça took up the option to sign her in the summer, where she is already making a big impact at both ends of the field.
After dropping out of the list in 2021, having been 62nd in 2020, Keira Walsh has bounced back in quite some style, flying high into the top 10 for the first time. Six of our judges picked Walsh as their No 1, just one fewer than Kerr in third. It had always felt like Walsh had gone underappreciated outside of England, but a combination of a sensational Euros and a huge move to Barcelona in the summer has changed all of that. There are few in the game able to dictate matches like Walsh, and she showed her skill and vision on the biggest stage throughout the summer’s Euros, culminating in her brilliant assist for Ella Toone’s opener in the final at Wembley. That magnificent pass was exactly the kind of fare those who watch Walsh every week have become accustomed to and, as she settles into Barça life, it will be intriguing to see how she develops her game further in Spain.
Graham Hansen drops four places in 2022 but that is no slight on another fabulous year for one of the most technically gifted players in Europe. The Norwegian continues to be a threat when it comes to both scoring goals and creating them and the ease with which she is able to gracefully skip past players sets her apart from most wingers in the game. She had a tough European Championship as Norway struggled in their group, not making it as far as the knockouts. But at club level she played a pivotal role in another trophy-filled year for Barcelona. Her 13 assists in last season’s league campaign helped her finish second in the Ballon d’Or to winner Putellas.
A player who has achieved so much, Popp had always missed previous European Championships through injury, and she clearly wasn’t going to let this opportunity go without giving it her all. Her six goals equalled the tally of Beth Mead, and her double to drag Germany through the semi-final against France will live long in the memory. Missing the final through injury was absolutely heartbreaking for the Wolfsburg forward but by then she had reminded everyone of just how good she is, having been 19th on our list two years ago. She has taken that form into the new season with both club and country. Hence a jump up into the top 10 for the first time for a player who at 31 may yet still have one more Euros in her when 2025 comes around.
After two consecutive second-place finishes, Miedema drops out of the top five and you can almost split the Dutch forward’s year into three. Before the Euros, she was in fine form for her club and ended last season’s WSL campaign with 14 goals and eight assists, second only to Sam Kerr. Sadly for Miedema, she was one of many players hit by Covid-19 during the tournament and unable to recover enough to stop the Dutch going out against France in the quarter-finals. Miedema then took a much-needed break and returned looking better for it, showing glimpses of the top-10 player she is … but then she ruptured her ACL, which she says will rule her out of next year’s World Cup. So cruel as, when fit, Miedema remains one of the most technically gifted around, with a rare ability to score and create in equal measure.
A progressive mover up the rankings over the last four years, Oberdorf’s performances on the main stage in 2022 shoot her straight into the top five. The all-action defensive midfielder was named best young player at Euro 2022 and only turned 21 earlier this week. It was almost frightening to watch how Oberdorf dealt with the biggest and toughest tests during the summer and how much better she can go on to become, given she has already established herself as one of the very best around. Not afraid to make a tackle, Oberdorf’s ability to both read and influence games is well beyond her years. She has been one of the youngest players to make the top 100 list over the past few years and is the youngest face in the top 10. It will be no surprise to see her place highly for the next decade given how high her talent ceiling is.
Sneaking into the top 10 for the first time last year, this time her presence in the higher echelons of the list is much more emphatic for Bonmatí, who is now approaching her peak years, with 16 judges making the midfielder their No 1 pick. It would be unfair to say Bonmatí has only stepped up in the absence of Putellas for both club and country as there is every argument to suggest she was reaching that level anyway. The Spaniard helped drag her national side through the Euros and to almost topple eventual champions England in the quarter-finals. Those performances was so much down to her ability and tenacity, with her game against the Lionesses a particular standout. A constant creator capable of controlling even the biggest of games, aged 24 it feels as if Bonmatí is going to hold down a spot as one of the very best in the world for years to come.
The forward retains third place and another top three finish is unsurprising when you consider she was the top goalscorer in the WSL and helped Chelsea to another league title, scored twice in the two FA Cup finals in the past 12 months, of which the Blues won both, and was the Golden Boot winner for Australia at the Asia Cup earlier in the year. She has shown a penchant for finding the net in the biggest games, but in different ways. If it wasn’t her calm chip against Arsenal in last December’s Cup final, it was her spectacular volley on the final day of the season against Manchester United when the title looked like it was slipping out of their grasp. Kerr received more votes than any other player, with 114 of our 119 judges picking her in their top 40, but only seven made the Australian their No 1.
One of the certainties of this year’s 100 was Mead being one of the highest risers and she has moved up 73 places from 2021, with 25 judges making her their No 1. She has had a tremendous year, clicking into top gear just after the hurt of missing out on the squad for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and both her scoring and assists record for Arsenal set up what was an incredible summer for the now fearless winger. Mead took centre stage at the European Championship where she again topped the scoring and assists charts, including the crucial opener in the semi-final against Sweden. Her contributions went a long way to helping the Lionesses’ long wait for a trophy and she started the new season in good goalscoring form, but an ACL injury last month will sideline her for a chunk of 2023.
The Barcelona superstar becomes the first player to win the top 100 for two consecutive years, and it’s all the more impressive when you take into account she has not played since the summer. Not quite as emphatic, understandably, as her 2021 victory, but the gap to her peers shows just highly rated Putellas’s performances were on the pitch until her cruel injury on the eve of Euro 2022 not only robbed the Ballon d’Or winner of the biggest stage while in her prime, but ended her year prematurely. Putellas ended the 2021-22 domestic season with 18 goals and 15 assists, and was the top scorer as her side reached the Champions League final. Forty-six of our judges made Putellas their No 1, the exact same number as last year, as she once again won by a similar margin of just under 300 points.