Home » Women's Soccer » FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year: Winners Since 2016
FIFA Women's World Player Of The Year

FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year: Winners Since 2016

Since 2016, FIFA has held the Best FIFA Football Awards at the end of each year. In addition, the best female player in the world receives the FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year Award.

Voting commences in November, and the award ceremony is held in December or January. The Committee for Women’s Football will select a shortlist of ten female players for The Best FIFA Women’s Player.

Coaches and captains of professional teams worldwide choose their three personal favorites. From mid-November to mid-November of the following year, sports performance and general conduct on and off the soccer field are considered for the FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year Award.

The general public and media representatives will also participate in the vote, with their votes counting for one-third of the final result. The voices of national team coaches and captains will also count for one-third each and a third from club coaches and captains.

Here are the results:

Melanie Behringer Wih Carli Lloyd

2016 FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year

Carli Lloyd from the USA won the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year in 2016. Close behind in the votes was Marta from Brazil, followed by Melanie Behringer of Germany.

Facts About Melanie Behringer

Current team: Retired

Country: Germany

Position: Midfielder

Current age: 36 years

Melanie Behringer was born on November 18th, 1985, in Lorrach, Germany. She began playing soccer in the SpVgg Utzenfeld youth league and later played for FC Hauson.

In 2003 she joined FC Freiburg and played with that team for five seasons. From 2008 to 2010 and then again from 2014-2019, she played for Byren Munich. In the interim years from 2010 to 2014, she played for FFC Frankfurt.

Melanie Behringer’s international career started in 2004 when she played for the German U19 team, and this year they won the FIFA U19 Women’s World Championship. She scored in all three knockout games of the tournament, including the final, helping to lead her team to victory.

Against China, she made her senior national team debut in 2005. In the 2007 FIFA World Cup, Behringer started in all six games, and Germany won the tournament.

One year later, in 2008, she won an Olympic bronze medal; a year after that, Germany won the European championship. In the final of this tournament, Behringer scored a goal, and it won Germany’s Goal of the Month award.

As a result, Behringer was called up again for the 2011 World Cup. In the 2016 Summer Olympics, she was a part of the gold medal roster. After a great career, Behringer retired from playing internationally after the 2016 World Cup, and she stopped playing club soccer in 2019.

Lieke Martens With Lionel Messi

2017 FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year

Lieke Martens of the Netherlands was the runaway winner in 2017. At the time, she was the pivotal player at FC Barcelona. Carli Lloyd had another great season and was the runners up. Little unknown girl from Venezuela, Deyna Castellanos, was third.

Deyna Castellanos, a little known striker, was among FIFA’s final three nominees for Best FIFA Women’s Player of 2017. At the time, Castellanos played soccer as an amateur at Florida State. She made the FIFA list after starring at the Under-17 Women’s World Cup but yet to play in a senior international tournament.

Since graduating, Castellanos has gone on to have a successful career and is currently playing at Manchester City.

The Journey Of 2017 Winner Lieke Martens

Current team: Paris-Saint Germain

Country: Netherlands

Position: midfielder, winger

Current age: 29

Lieke Martens was born on December 16th, 1992, in the Dutch province of Limburg. She has been playing soccer her whole life. Currently, she plays for the Dutch National Team and her club team Paris Saint Germain.

She played for many club teams growing up, including SC Heerenveen, Duisburg, Rosengard, and one of the most successful teams, FC Barcelona.

The Dutch international signed a three-year contract, playing with them from 2017 to 2021. FC Barcelona came in second place in their league in her first season. Martens scored 11 times and had eight assists, making her the second-highest goalscorer for Barcelona.

Martens won her first major title with the club in the 2018 Copa De La Reina after scoring a goal and playing in all 120 minutes of the final game. After her performance in the 2017-18 Champions League tournament, Lieke was put on that season’s UWCL Team of the season. In the next two seasons, her performance continued to stand out.

Lieke Martens both assisted and scored many goals, and being on this team led her to the Senior Netherlands National Team, where she plays now. Her international debut match was in 2011, and she continues to play with them today.

She has won many awards and played a massive role in the national team’s success. Since being named player of the tournament in the 2017 Women’s Euro and winning the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award, she has proven that she deserves a place on the team.

Deyna Castellanos

Facts About The Young Deyna Castellanos

Current team: Manchester City

Country: Venezuela

Position: forward

Current age: 23

Denya Castellanos was born on April 18th in Venezuela. She currently plays for the Manchester City and Venezuela Women’s National Team.

As Denya Castellanos was growing up, she played for the U17 and the U20 Venezuela youth teams. She also made a significant impact while playing on these teams, with a total of 39 goals. In April 2018, Denya Castellanos was put on the senior national team roster for the Copa América Femenina tournament.

After a lot of hard work, in 2021, she was named the Venezuela National Women’s Team captain. So far, she has scored 15 goals for the senior team, but she continues to show that she deserves a spot on the field, so there is no doubt that her number of goals will increase.

In 2020, after three years of playing at Florida State in college, she signed a two-year contract with Atlético Madrid. She was widely successful while playing for Madrid, and she scored 59 goals. On June 3rd, 2022, after two years with Atlético Madrid, she signed a three-year contract with Manchester City.

2018 FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year

After finishing second in 2016, Brazil’s Marta won the 2018 FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year. The forward had just signed for Orlando Pride. Both her teammates and opponents voted her League MVP in her first season at Orlando.

Dzsenifer Marozsán of Germany was second, and young striker Ada Hegerberg from Norway was third.

Ada Hegerberg

Facts About Ada Hegerberg

Current team: Norwegian national team and Lyon

Country: Norway

Position: Striker

Current age: 27

Ada Hegerberg was born in Molde, Norway, on July 5th, 1995. She plays for the club Lyon and the Norwegian Women’s National Team. As for her club career, she was wildly successful from the start. She joined her first club, Kolbotn, in 2011 at 16.

In her debut match, she scored three goals in seven minutes, and after many successes, she was named the club’s top scorer for the season.

The next club Hegerberg joined was Stabæk. During one match in the 2012 season, Hegerberg scored five goals in the first half of the game. As a result, she won the “Talent of the Month” award for the second time that year. For the 2013-2014 season, Ada joined FFC Turbine Potsdam, and she scored 11 times in those years.

In 2014 Ada Hegerberg joined the soccer club Lyon. Her first season with the team was marked by 26 goals in 22 league games. At the end of the season, after scoring in the final, Lyon walked away with the title of the Coupe de France Féminine champions for the 9th year in a row.

After her first season, she stuck with the team and still plays with them. With a total of 154 goals for Lyon since 2014, she has proven time and time again that she plays a big part in the success of the team.

Additionally, Ada Hegerberg has contributed a lot to the Norwegian Women’s National Team. She was on the U15, U16, U17, U19, and U20 youth teams, and she finally made her debut for the senior team on November 19th, 2011.

For six years, she was very successful, but in 2017 she decided to remove herself from the national team due to a form of protest about the league’s attitude towards women’s soccer.

Despite that challenging separation, and after a long five years of not playing for the team, she came back in March of 2022. Her team won and qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia after she scored a hat trick in her first game back.

megan rapinoe celebrating a goal

2019 FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year

In 2019, American Megan Anna Rapinoe was the winner, with USA teammate Alex Morgan finishing a close second. Rapinoe won the 2019 FIFA World Cup and was the Golden Boot winner. To top it off, she scored the opening goal and was the player of the match in the final against the Netherlands.

Lucy Bronze from England was third. This was the first time a defender was in the top three positions of the FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year award.

Lucy Bronze playing for England Women's Soccer Team


Now that defenders were recognized as potential match winners, it was no surprise that Lucy Bronze won World Player of the Year in 2020. Widely considered one of the all-time best female defenders in football, Lucy also won BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year the same year.

The defender Bronze was the recipient of The Best FIFA Women’s Player Award after rounding off an impeccable spell with Olympique Lyonnais in style before returning to England to play for Manchester City WFC.

Bronze was selected in the FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star squad in 2015 and 2019 and won three UEFA Women’s Champions Leagues.

The runner-up was Pernille Harder from Denmark. She was playing for VfL Wolfsburg for most of this period. On September 1st, 2020, Harder signed for Chelsea on a three-year contract for a world-record fee for a female footballer, reportedly over £250,000.

In third place was French center-back Wendie Renard.

Wendie Renard

The Story Of Wendie Renard

Current team: Lyon

Country: France

Position: Center-Back

Current age: 32

Wendie Renard was born on July 20th, 1990, in France. She plays center back for the club Lyon and the French Women’s National Team. As she was growing up, Renard did not have everything accessible. She was the youngest of four daughters, and when she was eight years old, her father passed away from lung cancer.

When she was fifteen years old, she flew to the mainland to try out at Clairefontaine but was unsuccessful in making the team. In search of a new team, she went to Lyon, and after making the Olympique Lyonnais team at the age of sixteen, she moved to Lyon permanently.

Since her first season from 2007-2008, Renard has been one of the starting 11 for many games. From 2006-2020, Lyon won fourteen consecutive league titles and many tournament trophies.

In 2020, she scored the winning goal in the 2019-2020 Champions League semi-finals, helping lead the team to victory and eventually winning her 7th cap for this tournament. So far, she has scored 85 goals with the team, which will continue to increase if she keeps playing the way she has been.

Renard played for both the U19 and U20 French youth national teams, and she was called up to the senior team in 2011. After being on the team for two years, she was named captain. Unfortunately, she lost the title in 2017 but was renamed in 2021.

She remains captain today, and with a total of 33 goals for the team so far, she continues to show her worth on the field.

Alexia Putellas winning the 2021 ballon d'or trophy for best women's soccer player

2021 FIFA Women’s World Player Of The Year

We had three new names on the winner’s list, starting a new decade. The winner was Alexia Putellas. The FC Barcelona star became the first Spanish woman to win any World Player of the Year/Ballon d’Or award.

Putellas later won the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award, the Ballon d’Or Féminin, and The Best FIFA Women’s Player in 2021, becoming the first player to win all three in the same year.

The speedy Australian Sam Kerr was runner-up. Only she has won the Golden Boot in three different leagues and continents – the W-League (Australia/New Zealand), the NWSL (North America), and the FAWSL (Europe).

Sam is one of four players nominated in all editions of the Ballon d’Or Féminin award since its inception in 2018. She has also been shortlisted consistently for The Best FIFA Women’s Player since 2017, ranking 10th, 9th, 11th, 7th, and now second. In third place was another Spanish superstar Jennifer Hermoso.

Marta and Ronaldo at Fifa world player awards ceremony

Awards Prior To 2016

Since 2016, the awards have been replaced by The Best FIFA Women’s Player awards covered above. FIFA held this award ceremony for women in 2001. This was ten years after they started the same award for men.

Among the eight winners are three Germans, three Americans, one Brazilian, and one Japanese. At age 20, Marta was the youngest recipient of the award, having won it five times in succession. There were three consecutive wins for Birgit Prinz and two consecutive wins for Mia Hamm. In 2013, Nadine Angerer, at the age of 35, became the oldest winner; she is also the only goalkeeper of either gender to win.

Here is a list of the winners from 2001 – 2015, which were voted for with a slightly different selection and voting process.

YearWinnerRunner-UpThird Place

Mia HammSun WenTiffeny Milbrett
2002Mia HammBirgit PrinzSun Wen
2003Birgit PrinzMia HammHanna Ljungberg
2004Birgit PrinzMia HammMarta
2005Birgit PrinzMartaShannon Boxx
2006MartaKristine LillyRenate Lingor
2007MartaBirgit PrinzCristiane
2008MartaBirgit PrinzCristiane
2009MartaBirgit PrinzKelly Smith
2010MartaBirgit PrinzFatmire Bajramaj
2011Homare SawaMartaAbby Wambach
2012Abby WambachMartaAlex Morgan
2013Nadine AngererAbby WambachMarta
2014Nadine KeßlerMartaAbby Wambach
2015Carli LloydCélia ŠašićAya Miyama

About The Author