clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Black History Month: It’s Mia’s time

Mia Fishel has become the most prolific goalscorer in the women’s game in just a year in Liga MX.

Monterrey v Tigres UANL - Playoffs Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

The most ferocious scorer in women’s soccer doesn’t play in Europe, nor does she play in the NWSL. Every shot she takes or header she strikes, it feels like it’s going in...because routinely, it does. She’s arguably the hottest striker on the planet in soccer, and that includes the men’s game. And she’s doing it in Liga MX.

The most ferocious scorer on the planet is Mia Fishel.

Born and raised in San Diego, Mia Fishel was a natural athlete growing up. She played basketball and soccer growing up, including for her school. She also played club soccer for San Diego Surf, where she was named to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s Best XI in the west in 2019.

She quickly hit the youth international level because she had a knack for scoring goals. She played on the USWNT U-15s at the 2016 Concacaf Girls’ U-15 Championship, where she scored 7 goals and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. She moved up to the U-17s, where she helped the U.S. win the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship in 2018. She scored in a group stage victory over Bermuda, where she lined up opposite her cousin (two of her uncles also played for the Bermuda national team), and then in the semifinal against Haiti. The team then went to the U-17 World Cup, where she scored a goal in their first match against Cameroon.

Mia Fishel went to college to play for the UCLA Bruins, where she balled out over the course of her 3 seasons there. She scored 32 goals in 59 goals, a tremendous clip. Her 14 goals as a freshman helped lead the Bruins to the national semifinals. UCLA won 2 Pac 12 regular season titles in Mia’s 3 seasons. She also continued to thrive at the youth international level. She helped the USWNT U-20s win the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship just before the Covid pandemic shut everything down, and she did it in absolute record fashion. She scored 13 goals, the most by an USWNT youth international in one tournament. She was voted the player of the tournament and was a finalist for U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Player of the Year.

In 2020, Mia also got her first look at the senior international level. With FIFA and Concacaf shutting down youth international tournaments during the pandemic, the USWNT called a training camp in October 2020, and Mia Fishel was one of the 27 players named to the roster. Though they didn’t play any matches, Fishel was one of 4 college players that made the roster and was the youngest in the camp.

In 2021, Mia Fishel announced that she would declare for the 2022 NWSL Draft after her junior season at UCLA. There, she scored 12 goals as the Bruins went undefeated in the regular season and captured yet another Pac 12 title. She was named an All-American for the 2nd time.

After the season, she was selected 5th overall by the Orlando Pride in the 2022 NWSL Draft, where her former UCLA coach had just taken over as head coach. However, Mia wasn’t looking to be drafted. She wanted to take charge of her career on her terms. “I wasn’t expecting to be here a couple of months ago,” Mia said after the draft. “[But] with the whole NWSL draft, I felt like I wanted to take control of my own destiny and where I want to play, and with the draft, you just can’t do that.”

Despite her desire to play in the NWSL when she was a kid, she opted to follow a new path and show that she could succeed on a path many called untraditional. “Growing up, I had role models, but the role models were just soccer players and I wanted to embody the person and player,” Fishel said. “Strength, confidence, empowerment, anything you can do in life and to follow your dreams. I strive to be a person that anyone could look at and say, ‘Hey, she knows what she wants to do.’”

So, on January 14, 2022, she decided to sign with Tigres UANL in Liga MX Femenil. It wasn’t a league where you saw many American players moving to start their careers with the NWSL. Liga MX had started to grow its women’s league, drawing enormous crowds in the process. And the rate at which the league has been growing was also very appealing. They’ve only been here for five years or so and the global media recognition, the passionate fans, playing in [large] stadiums, you just don’t get that in the U.S.,” Mia said to Goal Magazine. “I think that I deserve to be in a place where I would be appreciated and seen.”

And seen she was. She immediately came in and started doing what she does best: score goals. In just her second appearance, and first start, Fishel scored twice to help Tigres win on the road to Mazatlán. In 14 appearances in the 2022 Clausura, Fishel scored 8 times to be one of the goalscoring leaders for Tigres. It set her up for an amazing fall where she took the world by storm. In the 2022 Apertura season, Fishel scored 17 goals in 17 matches. It felt like a Fishel moment was expected in every match, and she delivered every time. She beat fellow American Christina Burkenroad by 1 goal to become the first foreign player to win the Liga MX Femenil Golden Boot.

On January 2nd, Mia Fishel learned that she had an even bigger award. No one in the world had scored more goals than Mia Fishel for their club. Her 33 total goals for Tigres topped the IFFHS list of most club goals scored in the calendar year of 2022.

Mia Fishel has continued to thrive for Tigres in 2023, scoring 5 goals already in the 2023 Clausura. She was recently named to the USWNT U-23s for friendlies in France this month. However, Mia Fishel is aiming for that senior USWNT call-up. And if she doesn’t get it, she’s going to continue to thrive in her role as the hottest striker on the planet. It’s her time to shine. She carved her own path in an effort to be the best she can be, to show that there’s more than one successful track to greatness, and she can be seen.

We see you Mia. We see you.


For more Black History Month stories, check out our Black History Month hub. We will be bringing stories throughout the month to highlight some of the biggest moments in Black American and world soccer history.