Cleats is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
The beauty of soccer is that it's an open ended sport with a wide variety of angles and attitudes to experience. The female iteration of MSL has, in all accord, taken the US by storm in a newfound entry of sports and televised entertainment. From the likes of the radical and indifferent Hope Solo, an American goalkeeper and World Cup champion, to that of the less known identity behind Alyssa Naeher, yet another goalkeeper from the Chicago Red Stars, only proves of the audacity, wit and cunning so enlivened by this newfound female taste in American soccer. How and where this sport will go is beyond me, but the modern referral of newer additions to the various US teams can be a good starting point.
Many are beginning to see the troubles of being a female athlete, thanks largely to these new aspects in American soccer; one valuable insight is in why making a living as a women's pro soccer player is no easy task. If you want a more comprehensive list as to who made it to January Training Camp, which takes place at the US Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California, read up on the newest Women's National Team (WNT) additions at US Soccer. For now, though, let's take a look at the more readily defined identities behind the best new women's soccer players of 2018.
A Seattle Reign star player and among the best new women's soccer players of 2018, Megan Rapinoe makes her identity an asset on and off the pitch. She's an icon for females everywhere, and an amazing soccer player to say the least, judged by her swift and strong return from an ACL injury in 2017.
Against Japan, Rapinoe scored an unlikely goal last year that defined the nature of her calling. Unlike most female athletes, Rapinoe holds herself more firmly and elects to see herself as the better, rather than the best, which is a great quality to have given she's nearly 35 and is injury prone beyond belief. That's not to say she's less likely to be an all-around player, in all likelihood Megan's role on the team will probably outshine all of the rest, by a long shot.
She's a little less popular than the likes of the other names on this list, which makes her a dark horse in all effects, yet still renders her the top must-see for on-field play. Rather than go through all of her historical saves and victories, let's look at why she's so relatively unknown to the public.
First off, Alyssa is by far among the best new women's soccer players of 2018, and is probably the greatest goalkeeper in national women's soccer. How could that be, if you've never heard of her? Well, Naeher is also been prone to the likes of bigger, better names; Hope Solo, perhaps? Now, with Solo gone, Alyssa can chase after her dream in creating a name not only among female players, but in the sport itself as among the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
Beautiful as she is intelligent on the pitch, Abby Dahlkemper is among the best female defenders and is one of the best new women's soccer players of 2018. Playing for the North Carolina Courage, Abby has high hopes for 2018 NWSL, and is one of the few soccer players who is idolized for her risk taking.
In addition to leading her team to back-to-back final appearances, Abby continuously shows her superiority in ball handling and passing more so than many of her rivals. She's also a player's player, in that she's perfect for the Women's National Team, because she plays to other's traits and makes for an organic pick for field operation and defiance. Abby makes for an unlikely addition to render the on-field and off-field chemistry an all-connective unit.
Despite being among the best female defenders in the entire world, Becky Sauerbrunn seemingly carries with her a long line of sour and distasteful objections. On top of many a variety in bias and unfavorable replays, she's become an underrated persona with extreme potential.
Sauerbrunn may play centerback, but she actually decides her own fate on the pitch and is a grueling subject to defend against. If you want to truly unlock the potential and admiration behind this extraordinary player, look at how she defends the ball in the opportunities these defensive plays have diminished. Or, in other words, simply look at this data metric: keep track of the penalty area in accordance with Sauerbrunn's plays (and missed plays), then define this number under the potentialities in the expected scores of those positions if Sauerbrunn had not intervened. That's a lot to take in, but you get the point.
Lindsey Horan was only 18 years of age when she made herself known among the ranks of the Women's National Team. In 2016, she only missed one game out of the scheduled 25 matches, and was especially iconic in the Rio Olympics, but her abilities as a striker are unparalleled.
In 2017, Lindsey would out-define herself by winning MVP in the NWSL Championship, a remarkable feat to say the least. For this upcoming year, Lindsey is a midfielder's dream come true and a truly special player that tends to get ignored. On the field, she's not only tactical, but highly adverse and motivated, showcasing a wide berth of American ideals with aggressiveness, strength, and control bundled up into one talented female athlete.
One of the most successful on this list and quite possibly of the few names who will bring the American team to the Cup once more, Alex Morgan is an icon for female athletes and, with all due respect, is one of the most gorgeous on the pitch. She's asserted herself as one of the best female soccer players of all time.
She's a 28-year-old forward playing for the Orlando Pride, yet her focus is, as most may deem, an all-American victory, whether it be in soccer or the Olympics. Her attitude is plainly tough and rambunctious, as she's a got a fierce playability that screams "the best ever." Morgan's not afraid to prove her worth, either, as she's highly motivated and truly an all-around mentality that's not just confident, but expressly motivated at tackling the impossible. I won't doubt she'll be among the names in 2019's World Cup.
Playing alongside Abby Dahlkemper, Samantha Mewis is hard to miss. She's an extremely well-versed soccer player and is considered among the best new women's soccer players of 2018. She's also a regular starter for the US national team, a position she garnered through years and years of intensive play.
With new team favorites, like Julie Ertz, added to the squad, she's bound to bring a fierce repertoire to the pitch. Throughout 2017, Mewis was spent training and collaborating with that of well-known female player McCall Zerboni, and for 2018 she's ready to enlist what she's learned in a more defined attitude. She can alter the direction of a ball with a single touch, showcasing the plausibility in her changing the very game as we know it.
Kelly O'Hara, playing for Sky Blue FC, has utterly implanted herself into the league as an extraordinary fullback, despite having a multitude of positions, one of which was set early into the 2017 season. For the first few games O'Hara played as out wide, proving to stop a myriad of attacks and provide coverage on a number of fronts.
Though she may have been moved to fullback, O'Hara still has shown a wide variety of talents, whether it be passing, reading situations, or simply defending the ball, her prowess is remarkably unchallenged. It's clear that this season, O'Hara will prove to be among the best new women's soccer players of 2018 and will further this goal into the future of the NWSL.
Another Chicago Red Stars player, Christen Press has proven her abilities are in the multitude by providing efficient coverage for plays, adhering to a wide verse in defensive procedures, and attacking like a beast of a soccer player. She's highly motivated and works to better herself within any position she plays, which is probably the most questionable thing about her: What position to place her?
Press is an adversed forward with a lot of talent, but her abilities on the pitch have only proven that she's capable in practically any area you put her in. Her goal sheet in 2017 wasn't as noticeable as others, but that's not to say she isn't a valued player; her upper-90 strike against Brazil in the Tournament of Nations, for one, launched the US back into victory, which can only be expounded by the game winning assist to Alex Morgan in their win against Canada during the final match of 2017, it's clear she's among the best new women's soccer players of 2018.
For Tobin Heath, 2017 was not as good as her 2016 year of absolute dominance, but that's not to say she's a bad player. In fact, she's among the best new women's soccer players of 2018 for a variety of reasons, but it's clear many may dispute these claims for that 2017 rendition.
Thanks to an egregious back injury, Heath lost her chance to make herself an icon during 2017 being out for almost the entire season for both the US team and the Portland Thorns. Still, 2018 proves to be a new year and we'll be able to judge not only her playability, but overall talents so readily defined by 2016's promise. She's still a once-in-a-generation player, and an American powerhouse that will, no matter the case, become an instant P.O.I. as the season progresses.
She's fierce, adaptable, and extremely popular among fans. If you haven't heard of her already, you sure better look her up, because she's among the best new women's soccer players of 2018. Ranked in accordance of goals, she came in second to Alex Morgan as of 2017 and still proves to be a dangerous midfielder and top performer for the Chicago NWSL team.
Last year was more of a time for reinvention and looking toward the far future. She may have considered a multitude of forms when it comes to the coalescence of Chicago and the US, but her role on the pitch serves her well, despite being readily open for anything. For 2018, though, Ertz's biggest concern should be deciding which team is more important to her and her career; Chicago or the US.