Five Young Soccer Women NWSL Stars

On March 16th, the 2024 season of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) kicked off, featuring some of the world's top female footballers. The NWSL has always been one of the premier leagues globally, boasting the biggest stars of American football, the team with the most Women's World Cup titles.

Many great players have either played in this league or aspire to join it. Currently, some of the world's best players call this league home. In this article, we'll delve into the top 5 young players in the NWSL.

Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC)

Sophia Smith

The rising star of American football, 23-year-old Sophia Smith is the brightest hope for the United States national team in the coming years. Hailing from Colorado, she clinched a championship with Stanford University. Her stellar performances at the university level led to her selection in the first round of the 2020 draft by Portland Thorns, where she's been instrumental since.

In 2022, Portland clinched the league title with Sophia being named the MVP of the season. She's now one of the most pivotal players in both the league and the United States national team. Expectations are high for this young talent to lead the American team to another World Cup victory.

Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC)

Olivia Moultrie

At just 18, Olivia broke the record as the youngest professional player in 2019, signing at 13, though she didn't debut until two years later. She signed a professional contract with Nike at 13, forgoing a college scholarship offer. However, upon training with Portland, she faced league restrictions due to her age. Olivia sued the league, resulting in the age rule being overturned, and she made her debut in 2021.

Olivia has already won a league championship alongside teammate Sophia Smith and has also debuted for the full United States national team at a young age. This season, they'll aim to reclaim the title they secured in 2022.

Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC)

Jaedyn Shaw

At just 19, Jaedyn Shaw has become a regular in the starting lineup for the United States national team. Early in her football career, she stood out among her peers, even training with Paris Saint-Germain's senior team at 15. She continued to shine in high school, eventually signing her first professional contract with San Diego in 2022.

Shaw is one of the standout forwards in the NWSL, with even Alex Morgan praising her as one of the best players in the box. With Shaw and other young talents, the United States aims to reclaim the pinnacle of women's football.

Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC)

Alyssa Thompson

Thompson showed promise from a young age, playing with girls four years her senior at 13. In high school, she scored 48 goals in 18 games in one season and committed to Stanford University at 15. At 17, she participated in the MLS Next, a youth league organized by MLS, becoming the only woman to play in the league.

In 2023, she was drafted by Angel City FC, becoming the only high schooler selected. In her debut, she scored a goal, igniting excitement among the club's fans. Alyssa is one of the most promising players, and she's expected to continue growing in the current season, aiming for success.

Melanie Barcenas (San Diego Wave FC)

Melanie Barcenas

The newest young talent in the NWSL, 16-year-old Melanie has already broken several records. At just 15, she became the youngest player to sign a professional contract in the NWSL and the league's youngest debutant. Despite her limited experience, Melanie has already captured the hearts of San Diego fans. With a young team, San Diego hopes to surprise and compete for the league title this season.

With dual American-Mexican nationality, Melanie has many career decisions ahead. Like her role model Alex Morgan, she's determined to become one of the greatest footballers in history, even if it means sacrificing her adolescence. Melanie has her sights set on her goal.

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