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 Goalkeeper: Nicole Barnhart – FC Kansas City
Despite falling out of the squad for the USWNT, no other goalkeeper in the NWSL has had four years as consistent as FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. Barnie, as she is often referred to by fans, won the first Goalkeeper of the Year title in the NWSL for her play during the 2013 season. The FCKC backstop was ranked in the top 5 in goals against average, saves and clean sheets for all four seasons. Barnhart also played a key role in the Blues winning back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2014 and 2015. The 35-year-old goalkeeper has battled through numerous injuries over her career, but still remains one of the top goalkeepers in the NWSL.