The 2023 Women’s World Cup is just around the corner, and with 32 nations participating, there is a wealth of talent on display. While established stars like Alexia Putellas and Alex Morgan will undoubtedly shine, this tournament also provides the perfect platform for up-and-coming youngsters to make their mark on the world stage. Here, we take a look at ten of the most exciting young players to watch out for this summer.
Jule Brand (Germany) – At just 20 years old, Jule Brand has already made a name for herself as Europe’s first-ever ‘Golden Girl’. Known for her pace and power as a winger, Brand has the ability to impact games from the start or off the bench. Her performance in VfL Wolfsburg’s UCL semi-final against Arsenal showcased her talent and ability to make a difference when it matters most. Germany can rely on Brand to make an impact in the World Cup.
Melchie Dumornay (Haiti) – Aged just 19, Melchie Dumornay is destined for greatness. She has already secured a move to French giants Lyon, but first, she must help Haiti in their maiden World Cup appearance. Dumornay’s technical ability is second to none, and she excels in tight areas and attacking the space behind defenders. Her 98th-minute goal in the qualifiers secured Haiti’s place in the tournament, and she is sure to shine on the world stage.
Alyssa Thompson (USA) – The United States women’s national soccer team has entered a new era under head coach Vlatko Andonovski, and 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson is one of the talented youngsters making their mark. Playing for Angel City FC, Thompson has already shown her fearlessness and ability to take on defenders. Her ability to pick up the ball and drive towards the byline makes her a nightmare for opposition defenders. Thompson has the potential to set the world stage alight.
Kyra Cooney-Cross (Australia) – At just 21 years old, Kyra Cooney-Cross is set to experience the biggest tournament of her career on home soil. Playing for Hammarby in Sweden, Cooney-Cross has developed composure beyond her years. Her performance against England, where she nullified the threat of Lionesses duo Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway, showed her readiness for the World Cup stage.
Linda Caicedo (Colombia) – Colombia’s return to the Women’s World Cup brings with it a new crop of talent, including 18-year-old Linda Caicedo. Making her professional debut at just 14, Caicedo’s career has been on an upward trajectory. After helping Deportivo Cali win the league, she secured a move to Liga F club Real Madrid. Caicedo’s talent was evident when she was named the best player at the 2022 Copa America Femenina, regardless of her age. She will be a real difference-maker for Colombia this summer.
Salma Paralluelo (Spain) – Salma Paralluelo had a choice between pursuing athletics or football, and thankfully, she chose the latter. The 19-year-old is now reaping the rewards of her decision, playing for FC Barcelona. Paralluelo’s versatility is one of her key strengths, as she can play anywhere across the front three. With her electric pace and intelligent reading of the game, Paralluelo is ready to make her mark on the world stage.
Lena Oberdorf (Germany) – Despite being just 21 years old, Lena Oberdorf has already had a breakout tournament at the European Championships. She helped Germany reach the final and was rightfully crowned Young Player of the Tournament. Oberdorf’s abilities were also showcased in VfL Wolfsburg’s Champions League run. There is still so much more to come from this talented German midfielder.
Kathrine Kühl (Denmark) – Kathrine Kühl is a rare talent who is comfortable with the ball at both feet. At just 20 years old, Kühl acts as a creative hub for her team and possesses the vision and execution to pick out perfect passes. Often compared to fellow Dane Pernille Harder, Kühl is ready to make a name for herself on the world stage.
Maika Hamano (Japan) – Maika Hamano’s talent was evident when she won the Golden Ball award at the FIFA Under-20s World Cup last year. The 19-year-old Japanese international signed a long-term contract with Chelsea and impressed while on loan at Hammarby IF in Sweden. Hamano’s vision and ability to pick out passes make her a valuable asset to the Japanese team. With Mana Iwabuchi excluded from the World Cup squad, Hamano is set to step up and fill that role.
Lauren James (England) – Lauren James is a player who is difficult to dispossess, thanks to her magnetic control of the ball and ability to navigate tight spaces. Despite being just 21, James has already made her mark domestically with Chelsea, helping them win the Women’s Super League title. This tournament could be the stage for James to break out on the international scene.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup promises to be an exciting showcase of talent, with these young starlets ready to shine. Keep an eye on these players as they make their mark on the world stage.