The 2023 Women’s World Cup kicks off on July 20 in New Zealand and Australia, and we get to see the United States once again take on the world. The USWNT are one of the favorites to once again lift the trophy, but there are several teams that are ready to challenge the No. 1 team for the No. 1 spot.
The Women’s World Cup is also a great chance for fans to introduce themselves to some of the best players in the game. Of course, the USWNT are full of stars that have become household names, but there are stars all over the world that hope to take over the tournament and leave their legacy.
For fans looking to watch other games during the month-long tournament (and you should!), we have 10 players outside of the USWNT that you should make a point to watch when they take the field.
Ada Hegerberg - Forward, Norway
Ada Hegerberg is back in the World Cup after sitting out in 2019 to protest the disparity in pay and conditions between the men’s and women’s games. Ada is simply one of the best players in the world, winning the Ballon d’Or in 2018 and also winning BBC’s Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2017 and 2019. She’s won 22 trophies for Olympique Lyonnais, including 6 Women’s Champions Leagues, and she’s going to put Norway on her back in this tournament. With 43 goals in 76 caps, she’s still one of the most feared strikers in the game today.
Sam Kerr - Forward, Australia
The co-hosts are looking like World Cup contenders, and Sam Kerr is a big reason why. She’s roasted goalkeepers from the NWSL to the W-League to the WSL. And with 63 goals for the Matildas, the world will always have to watch wherever Sam Kerr is on the field. She’s fierce and clinical, and it feels like she finds a way to score every match. Fans of the game will love her knack for taking control of a game in the blink of an eye.
Ashley Lawrence - Defender, Canada
Defenders gotta have love on this list, and there are few better than Ashley Lawrence. She’s won with PSG and she helped Canada to a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics. She’s calm under pressure, and she’s able to press forward in attack as well. She has 8 goals for Canada, but her defensive prowess will frustrate strikers throughout the duration of the tournament.
Alexia Putellas - Midfielder, Spain
Alexia Putellas is the reigning best player in the world. She’s won the Ballon d’Or and The Best FIFA Women’s Player award two years in a row, and she has dominated on the club level with FC Barcelona. She’s back from a torn ACL and ready to take on the world as Spain tries to elevate from contender to one of the favorites to win it all. She has 27 goals in 100 caps for La Roja, and she hopes to score plenty more to lead her country.
Barbra Banda - Forward, Zambia
The world was introduced to Barbra Banda in the 2020 Olympics, when she scored a hat trick against the Netherlands in a 10-3 loss. She then scored another hat trick in the next match to help Zambia draw China, becoming the first female player to log back-to-back hat tricks at the Olympics. She already has 36 goals for Zambia, who hope to be recognized as one of the great African powers of women’s soccer. Banda is electric, and every time the ball is at her feet, you know the spectacular is about to happen.
Lauren James - Forward, England
England is one of the favorites to win the Women’s World Cup, and if they do win it all, it’s because Lauren James was able to finally break out as the star she is. She’s emerged as a dominant player for Chelsea FC, and now she hopes to be more involved in the attack for The Lionesses.
Bunny Shaw - Forward, Jamaica
The best striker on the planet might be Khadija “Bunny” Shaw. She’s taken the WSL by storm, scoring 50 goals for Manchester City in the past two seasons. However, she’s even better for Jamaica, with 55 goals in just 38 caps. Yep, whenever she takes the field, you can almost expect her to score multiple goals. Bunny Shaw is without a doubt must-see TV.
Kerolin - Midfielder, Brazil
Fans of the NWSL probably already understand that Kerolin might be the next great in a long line of terrific Brazil players. And if Brazil is to contend for the title, it will be because Kerolin breaks out and unlocks her greatness. She’s dynamic on and off the ball, and she will be the key if Brazil is to send Marta off as a World Cup winner.
Stina Blackstenius - Forward, Sweden
In addition to having one of the coolest names in soccer, Sweden has one of the great forwards in Stina Blackstenius. She had a breakthrough season for Arsenal FC and for Sweden, she’s become a dependable scorer. Blackstenius has 28 goals in 90 caps for Sweden, and if Sweden wants to be standing tall at the end, Stina’s gonna be one of the main reasons why.
Alexandra Popp - Forward, Germany
Alexandra Popp is back in the World Cup, and she’s playing on a mission. She doesn’t care how she scores as long as the ball goes in the net. With 61 goals for Germany and leading the team as their captain, Popp is definitely a name you’re going to hear many times during the broadcast as she hopes to lead Germany deep into the tournament.
These 10 players are going to be ones that you won’t want to miss during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which runs from July 20th through the final on August 20th. Get your sleep schedule in check, because the nonstop action takes place mostly in the overnight hours, but it’s worth it to see some of the best soccer on the planet.