Who doesn’t love a good ranking?
Backline Soccer decided to rank the NWSL’s best all-time goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards. We tried as much as possible to stick to NWSL play and keep any national team performance out of our decision-making.
How did we get to our finalists? A brutal two-round process that left each of us at our collective wit’s end trying to separate the best from an already stellar pool of players.
In Round One, Backline Soccer crew members each chose 30 field players and 5 goalkeepers from a list of the nearly 300 players who have ever taken the pitch in the NWSL. And then, in Round Two, we separated the top seven players into each of their positions and ranked them from 1 to 5.
Like we said. Brutal.
But we did it anyway. And here are our choices:
#1 Forward: Christen Press – Chicago Red Stars
While much has been written about Christen Press and her national team performances in the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, there is little debate about her impact on the NWSL. Simply put, Press is a striker anyone would want on their club.
Press arrived in the NWSL back in 2014 through allocation and has been a goal scoring machine. She joined the Chicago Red Stars mid-season after finishing out her club season with Tyresö FF. Since her arrival to the NWSL, Press had made her minutes count, despite having to split her time with national team duties. In 2014, her first year in Chicago she had 6 goals in 12 games. 2015 saw 10 goals in 11 games during a World Cup year. This past season Press netted 8 goals in 14 games while completing a National Team cycle by competing in the 2016 Olympics.
Her ability to score goals is more than placing the ball in the back of the net. Her pace, touch, and ability to create her own shot make her a constant threat on the pitch for all teams.