Top 50 Goalkeepers in Women's Soccer (2018)

The Top 50 Women's Rankings return with just a little over a year until the next World Cup. Asia and South America have finalized their qualification process, which only leaves Africa, North America, and Europe to fill out the World Cup's final 16 spots this fall. We'll see a number of these goalkeepers in France next summer while the recently concluded UEFA Champions League had a handful as well.

The first set of rankings are based on current play, both club and country, while the U24 rankings are centered around projecting the top goalkeepers for the next World Cup cycle.

 

rank. player, nationality (club / league) - age

1. Erin McLeod, Canada (USV Jena / Germany) - 35
2. Almuth Schult, Germany (Wolfsburg / Germany) - 27
3. Karen Bardsley, England (Manchester City / England) - 33
4. Stephanie Labbé, Canada (Free Agent) - 31
5. Alyssa Naeher, USA (Chicago Red Stars / USA) - 30
6. Tinja-Riikka Korpela, Finland (Vålerenga / Norway) - 32
7. Lisa Schmitz, Germany (Turbine Potsdam / Germany) - 26
8. Lydia Williams, Australia (Seattle Reign / USA) - 30
9. Lisa Weiss, Germany (SGS Essen / Germany) - 30
10. Carly Telford, England (Chelsea / England) - 30

Both Stephanie Labbé and Erin McLeod experienced setbacks with their clubs, as the PDL ruled Labbé wasn't eligible for PDL play and Jena were relegated to the second division after a 4-0 loss last week. Almuth Schult and Wolfsburg repeat as champions in the Bundesliga but Mary Earps' signing may put Schult's future with the club in question. Alyssa Naeher looks to maintain her starting spot with the US when they kick up qualifying in October but will first face Lydia Williams and Australia in the 2018 Tournament of Nations in the run-up to qualifying.

 

11. Adrianna Franch, USA (Portland Thorns FC / USA) - 27
12. Aubrey Bledsoe, USA (Washington Spirit / USA) - 26
13. Gaëlle Thalmann, Switzerland (Mozzanica / Italy) - 31
14. Haley Kopmeyer, USA (Orlando Pride / USA) - 28
15. Sandra Paños, Spain (Barcelona / Spain) - 25
16. Stephanie Ohrstrom, Sweden (Fiorentina / Italy) - 31
17. Michelle Betos, USA (Seattle Reign / USA) - 30
18. Katie Fraine, USA (Växjö / Sweden) - 30
19. Ashlyn Harris, USA (Orlando Pride / USA) - 32
20. Meline Gerard, France (Montpellier / France) - 28

A number of Americans fill in the batch here. Adriana Franch should be nearing her return to the field after undergoing surgery on her meniscus back at the end of April. Haley Kopmeyer patiently awaits in the wing to take over for Ashlyn Harris in Orlando. Michelle Betos has had a major resurgence in her career while Aubrey Bledsoe has broken onto the scene after being mostly a backup for a number of years. Lastly, Spanish goaltender Sandra Paños had a strong Champions League run before ending with a hard-fought showing to eventual champions Lyon in a close 3-1 series.

 

21. Adelaide Gay, USA (Portland Thorns / USA) - 28
22. Didi Haracic, USA (Washington Spirit / USA) - 26
23. Mary Earps, England (Reading / England) - 25
24. Sarah Bouhaddi, France (Lyon / France) - 31
25. Laëtitia Philippe, France (Montpellier / France) - 27
26. Karima Benameur, France (Paris FC / France) - 29
27. Sabrina D'Angelo, Canada (North Carolina Courage / USA) - 25
28. Hedvig Lindahl, Sweden (Chelsea / England) - 35
29. Laura O'Sullivan, Wales (Cyncoed Ladies / Wales) - 26
30. Loes Geurts, Netherlands (Göteborg / Sweden) - 32

Sarah Bouhaddi recently captured her fifth Champions League title and her third in as many years. Wales have managed to score only three goals in their five World Cup qualifying games yet have 11 points largely because Laura O'Sullivan hasn't conceded a goal in qualifying, with her best performance coming against England in a 0-0 draw. Mary Earps earned her first cap for England last year after three positive seasons with Reading and just recently signed with Wolfsburg for her efforts there. Sabrina D'Angelo has been kept busy in North Carolina, notching three 1-0 wins for the first place Courage, before stepping out with an ankle sprain.

 

 31. Sari van Veenendaal, Netherlands (Arsenal / England) - 28
32. Katarzyna Kiedrzynek, Poland (PSG / France) - 27
33. Genevieve Richard, Canada (Marseille / France) - 25
34. Rachael Laws, England (Sunderland / Englan) - 27
35. Oksana Zheleznyak, Kazakhstan (BIIK-Karzygurt / Kazakhstan) - 31
36. Kateryna Samson, Ukraine (Ryazan / Russia) - 29
37. Megan Dorsey, USA (AC Sparta Praha / Czech Republic) - 26
38. Friederike Abt, Germany (Hoffenheim / Germany) - 23
39. Lee Alexander, Scotland (Glasgow City / Scotland) - 26
40. Kaycee Gunion, USA (Sky Blue FC / USA) - 28
 

Katarzyna Kiedrzynek and Poland have a tough task in front of them next week as they need a win at home against Scotland to realistically keep their World Cup hopes alive. Ukraine hopes to lean heavily on Kateryna Samson as well, as they take on Sweden and Denmark this month to try to keep their foot in the World Cup's door. Megan Dorsey helped Sparta Praha reach the round of 16 in Champions League play, marking one of the better finishes by a Czech club in Champions League history.  Friederike Abt is the youngest goalkeeper in the list but she's proven more than reliable for Hoffenheim, finding another mid-table finish this year with the club.

 

41. Barbara Lorsheijd, Netherlands (ADO Den Haag / Netherlands) - 27
42. Erin Nayler, New Zealand (Bordeaux / France) - 26
43. Nicole Barnhart, USA (FC Kansas City / USA) - 36
44. Erina Yamane, Japan (Real Betis / Spain) - 27
45. Britt Eckerstrom, USA (Portland Thorns FC / USA) - 25
46. Lindsey Harris, USA (Klepp / Norway) - 24
47. Nora Gjøen, Norway (Sandviken / Norway) - 26
48. Neide Simões, Portugal (Valadares Gaia FC / Portugal) - 29
49. Audrey Baldwin, USA (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera / Israel) - 26
50. Daniele, Brazil (Santos / Brazil) - 25

Britt Eckerstrom has been a little streaky since filling in for an injured Adrianna Franch but has still kept the Thorns in playoff contention, earning back-to-back shutout wins this month. Lindsey Harris and Klepp have conceded ten goals in nine games and sit in third place in the Toppserien but need to climb over Nora Gjøen's Sandviken to qualify for Champions League play. Audrey Baldwin gave some good insight while writing from Women's Soccer Zone about her time in Kosovo and how she ended up in Israel.

 

Top 20 Goalkeepers Under 24

1. Sophie Baggaley, England (Bristol City / England) - 21
2. Carina Schlueter, Germany (SC Sand / Germany) - 21
3. Ellie Roebuck, England (Manchester City / England) - 18
4. Henrikka Mäkelä, Finland (PK-35 Vantaa / Finland) - 21
5. Anna Klink, Germany (Bayer Leverkusen / Germany) - 23
6. Mylene Chavas, France (Saint-Etienne / France) - 20
7. Lize Kop, Netherlands (Ajax / Netherlands) - 20
8. Merle Frohms, Germany (Wolfsburg / Germany) - 23
9. Emma Johansson, Sweden (Mallbacken / Sweden) - 21
10. Cecilie Fiskerstrand, Norway (Lillestrom / Norway) - 22

England's WSL has been exciting to watch a number of young goalkeepers get a chance to impress fans and coaches alike. Sophie Baggaley and Ellie Roebuck combined for 27 starts between the two and could soon find themselves in a similar spot as Mary Earps when a larger club wants a top end goalkeeper. Mylene Chavas rightfully won the 2016 U20 World Cup Golden Glove award and is set to return with France this cycle again, making France a strong candidate for winning the tournament. Cecilie Fiskerstrand has anchored Lillestrom's season and already has 14 caps to her name for Norway.

 

11. Solene Durand, France (Guingamp / France) - 23
12. Jane Campbell, USA (Houston Dash / USA) - 23
13. Elisa Launay, France (Lille / France) - 22
14. Aurora Mikalsen, Norway (Kolbotn / Norway) - 22
15. Emily Dolan, USA (Medyk Konin / Poland) - 23
16. Deborah Garcia, France (Rodez / France) - 23
17. Megan Walsh, England (Yeovil Town / England) - 23
18. Ayaka Yamashita, Japan (NTV Beleza / Japan) - 22
19. Casey Murphy, USA (Montpellier / France) - 22
20. Zecira Musovic, Sweden (Rosengard / Sweden) - 22

Jane Campbell has tried to take over the starting spot for the US but has struggled mightily with handling incoming aerial service. The USA might turn to Casey Murphy, who jumped fairly seamlessly from collegiate play in the states to France's Division 1. Japan's Ayaka Yamashita has appeared in international play 11 times, including the 2018 Algarve Cup as well as the recent Asian Cup, where Japan finished first and qualified for the World Cup.

 

For older rankings, you can see the 2017 list and the 2016 list for comparison.

Zack Steffen: Three Areas to Improve

Every now and then I break down a goalkeeper's play style. You can check out old editions of "Oustanding or Overrated" on Bill Hamid and Santiago Castano. Seeing as I was overdue for another and Zack Steffen was struggling in his first season as a starter, the good people at ASA were kind enough to let me dive into the issues Steffen was having with his approach to the game. It's not technically an Oustanding or Overrated piece - I solely focus on three areas he needs to improve - but it's pretty close.

Head over to American Soccer Analysis to read the article.

Top 100 American Goalkeepers - April 2018

It's been a while since our last update so I suppose it's fair to have seen so many names move around. Every spring there are few guarantees on how goalkeepers will enter the season and 2018 is no exception. Most notably Tyler Miller and Matt Turner have exceeded expectations and presented strong cases as why they're more than just dependable backups.

Only twelve of the top 100 goalkeepers aren't playing in the US, although goalkeepers playing stateside has been a growing trend for the pbuschast few years. There aren't many goalkeepers on the list currently playing in Europe but the likes of Jonathan Klinsmann (20) and Brandon Austin (19) should start to make waves for themselves in the next couple years.

 

1. Tim Melia, 31 - Sporting Kansas City (USA.1)
2. Brad Guzan, 33 - Atlanta United (USA.1)
3. Luis Robles, 33 - New York Red Bulls (USA.1)
4. Joe Bendik, 29 - Orlando City SC (USA.1)
5. Tim Howard, 39 - Colorado Rapids (USA.1)
6. Stefan Frei, 32 - Seattle Sounders (USA.1)
7. Bill Hamid, 27 - FC Midtjylland (Denmark.1)
8. Jimmy Maurer, 30 - FC Dallas (USA.1)
9. Zack Steffen, 23 - Columbus Crew (USA.1)
10. Tyler Miller, 25 - Los Angeles FC (USA.1)

Bill says: 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Tim Melia, retains the crown after just being placed on MLS's Team of the Week for his ten save performance. Robles did more than his part in guiding the Red Bulls to a semi-final run in the CONCACAF Champions League. Hamid recently debuted for his new club, taking part in 2-1 win in the Danish Cup quarterfinal. Maurer has quietly filled in extremely well for injured Jesse Gonzalez, conceding only three goals in four games for FC Dallas. Despite being Zlatan'd, Miller has had an outstanding start to the season, making Sounders fans disappointed to see him leave during the expansion draft.

 

11. Alex Bono, 24 - Toronto FC (USA.1)
12. Steve Clark, 32 - DC United (USA.1)
13. Bobby Shuttleworth, 30 - Minnesota United FC (USA.1)
14. William Yarbrough, 29 - Leon (Mexico.1)
15. Sean Johnson, 28 - New York City FC (USA.1)
16. Joe Willis, 29 - Houston Dynamo (USA.1)
17. Jeff Attinella, 29 - Portland Timbers (USA.1)
18. Ethan Horvath, 22 - Club Brugge (Belgium.1)
19. Chris Seitz, 31 - Houston Dynamo (USA.1)
20. Alex Horwath, 31 - Real Salt Lake (USA.1)

Bill says: It's hard to pin down Alex Bono's ceiling but if he keeps making saves like these, he may not be in MLS too much longer. Yarbrough was recently dropped from the first team selection after maintaining only two clean sheets this year. Matt Pzydrowski recently published a piece on Sean Johnson's return to form and why he's starting to perform with more consistency. Horvath hasn't played for Club Brugge since November of last year and will most likely move elsewhere after the end of the season.

 

21. David Bingham, 28 - Los Angeles Galaxy (USA.1)
22. Jon Kempin, 25 - Columbus Crew (USA.1)
23. Nick Rimando, 38 - Real Salt Lake (USA.1)
24. Evan Newton, 30 - Cincinnati FC (USA.2)
25. Patrick McLain, 29 - Chicago Fire (USA.1)
26. Brian Rowe, 29 - Vancouver Whitecaps (USA.1)
27. Evan Bush, 32 - Montreal Impact (USA.1)
28. Cody Mizell, 26 - Tampa Bay Rowdies (USA.2)
29. Richard Sanchez, 24 - Chicago Fire (USA.1)
30. Abraham Romero, 20 - Pachuca (Mexico.1)

Bill says: It's only six games into the season but I don't think Bingham has proved why he was worth the $200,000 in allocated money just yet. There's still time left in the season but it's starting to look like the Galaxy missed an opportunity to capitalize on Kempin, who filled in admirably in Zack Steffen's absence a few weeks ago. There isn't much press on USL goalkeepers but Newton and Mizell are doing well to set the bar for the rest of the league. While Romero is most definitely leaning towards playing for Mexico, Sanchez is a good example of how a promising U20 Mexican goalkeeper can actually have more success in MLS, if not the US.

 

31. Matt Lampson, 28 - Minnesota United FC (USA.1)
32. Zac MacMath, 26 - Colorado Rapids (USA.1)
33. Matt Pickens, 36 - Nashville SC (USA.2)
34. Ryan Meara, 27 - New York Red Bulls (USA.1)
35. Trevor Spangenberg, 27 - Richmond Kickers (USA.2)
36. Clint Irwin, 29 - Toronto FC (USA.1)
37. Matt Turner, 23 - New England Revolution (USA.1)
38. Matt Pyzdrowski, 31 - Varbergs BoIS (Sweden.2)
39. Brendan Moore, 26 - Rochdale (England.3)
40. Charlie Lyon, 26 - Los Angeles FC (USA.1)

Bill says: I don't know how Pickens continues to do it but even at 36 he still manages to end up in Save of Week compilations. MacMath and Moore patiently await in the wings to return to the field but like Horvath, will likely have a better chance elsewhere than their current team. While Matt Turner may seem a little low at the moment, he wasn't even listed on last year's top 100 so we're going to curtail his meteoric rise just a little bit, but if you're impressing Brad Friedel then you're doing something right.

 

41. Brandon Miller, 28 - Charlotte Independence (USA.2)
42. Mitch Hildebrandt, 29 - Atlanta United (USA.1)
43. Adam Grinwis, 26 - Orlando City SC (USA.1)
44. Spencer Richey, 25 - Cincinnati FC (USA.2)
45. Eric Dick, 23 - Sporting Kansas City (USA.1)
46. Brad Stuver, 27 - New York City FC (USA.1)
47. Quentin Westberg, 32 - AJ Auxerre (France.2)
48. Diego Restrepo, 30 - San Antonio FC (USA.2)
49. Brian Sylvestre, 25 - Los Angeles Galaxy (USA.1)
50. Earl Edwards, 26 - Orlando City SC (USA.1)

Bill says: It's unfortunate Orlando City folded their USL team for the 2018 season as promising goalkeepers Adam Grinwis and Earl Edwards are limited to training sessions behind Joe Bendik now. Stuver was linked to Oxford United back in January but it seems the rumor either fell through or had no legs to stand on to begin with. 2015 USL Goalkeeper of the Year Brandon Miller still looks for his first start, currently sitting behind Andrew Dykstra in Charlotte. Restrepo recently penned his own story on USL's site, covering his journey from almost retiring to becoming the 2017 USL Goalkeeper of the Year.

 

51. Akira Fitzgerald, 30 - Tampa Bay Rowdies (USA.2)
52. Zac Lubin, 28 - Phoenix Rising (USA.2)
53. Andrew Tarbell, 24 - San Jose Earthquakes (USA.1)
54. Cody Cropper, 25 - New England Revolution (USA.1)
55. Alec Kann, 27 - Atlanta United (USA.1)
56. Andrew Dykstra, 32 - Charlotte Independence (USA.2)
57. Logan Ketterer, 24 - Columbus Crew (USA.1)
58. Andre Rawls, 28 - Orange County SC (USA.1)
59. Kyle Zobeck, 28 - FC Dallas (USA.2)
60. Wade Hamilton, 23 - Los Angeles Galaxy II (USA.2)

Bill says: Lubin was playing in Sweden this time last year but returned to the states and is currently the number two behind Carl Woszczynski. It hasn't been a smooth start for Andrew Tarbell as he's conceded eight goals in four games but San Jose doesn't seem to be hinting at having doubts in the young goalkeeper. Portland let Hamilton walk after last season and the 23-year-old has settled nicely into LAG's USL side.

 

61. Jon Busch, 41 - Free Agent (None)
62. John McCarthy, 25 - Philadelphia Union (USA.1)
63. Matt Bersano, 25 - San Jose Earthquakes (USA.1)
64. Matt Van Oekel, 31 - Oklahoma City Energy FC (USA.2)
65. Travis Worra, 25 - DC United (USA.1)
66. Austin Guerrero, 29 - North Carolina FC (USA.2)
67. Will Dieterich, 31 - Stjarnan (Iceland.1)
68. Carl Woszczynski, 30 - Phoenix Rising (USA.2)
69. Cody Laurendi, 29 - Oklahoma City Energy FC (USA.2)
70. Kris Devaux, 26 - Bryne FK (Norway.2)

Bill says: McCarthy (Bethlehem Steel) and Worra (Richmond Kickers) have both found some success in the USL this year, combining for seven starts and eleven goals allowed. Bersano hasn't returned to my favorite USL side, Reno 1868 FC, as he's moved up to the backup spot for the Earthquakes instead. Cohen and Sacramento haven't seen an L on their schedule yet, going 3-0-1 in their first four games.

 

71. Josh Cohen, 25 - Sacramento Republic (USA.2)
72. Rafael Diaz, 26 - Sacramento Republic (USA.2)
73. Jesse Gonzalez, 22 - FC Dallas (USA.1)
74. Tomas Gomez, 24 - St. Louis FC (USA.2)
75. Jake McGuire, 23 - Philadelphia Union (USA.1)
76. Kendall McIntosh, 24 - Portland Timbers (USA.1)
77. Jeff Caldwell, 22 - New York City FC (USA.1)
78. Brad Knighton, 33 - New England Revolution (USA.1)
79. Kyle Morton, 24 - Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USA.2)
80. Eric Lopez, 19 - Los Angeles Galaxy II (USA.2)

Bill says: Gonzalez and Gomez are currently nursing respective knee and hip injuries, although Gonzalez could have trouble regaining his starting spot with Jimmy Maurer doing so well in goal. McIntosh still has some rough edges to smooth out but he's had some really fantastic saves this early into his season. While UVA alum Jeff Caldwell hasn't made his professional debut yet, Kyle Morton notched his first start last weekend in a 4-0 route over Toronto II. U20 US goalkeeper Eric Lopez is looking to quickly rebound from his only start this year, a 3-0 loss to neighboring Orange County SC. 

 

81. Tim Dobrowolski, 24 - Louisville City FC (USA.2)
82. Ben Lundgaard, 22 - Indy Eleven (USA.2)
83. Mike Lansing, 23 - Aalborg BK (Denmark.1)
84. Todd Morton, 22 - Delaware (USA.N)
85. Drew Shepherd, 23 - Toronto FC II (USA.2)
86. Alex Kapp, 23 - Minnesota United FC (USA.1)
87. Austin Pack, 24 - Portland Timbers II (USA.2)
88. Bobby Edwards, 22 - Monmouth (USA.N)
89. JT Marcinkowski, 20 - San Jose Earthquakes (USA.1)
90. Evan Louro, 22 - New York Red Bulls (USA.1)

Bill says: Lundgaard was quite the sought after prospect during the MLS SuperDraft but surgery on his thumb has delayed fans on getting to watch the Virginia Tech alum in goal. Collegiate goalkeepers Todd Morton (highlights) and Bobby Edwards (highlights) go into their senior years as some of the top MLS prospects. USYNT alumni Marcinkowski and Louro will spend most of 2018 season in the USL, with hopes of landing in MLS down the line.

 

91. Connor Sparrow, 23 - Real Salt Lake (USA.1)
92. Nick Gardner, 22 - Denver (USA.N)
93. Andrew Putna, 23 - Real Monarchs (USA.2)
94. Stefan Cleveland, 23 - Chicago Fire (USA.1)
95. Kyle Ihn, 23 - Reno 1868 FC (USA.2)
96. Michael Nelson, 23 - Houston Dynamo (USA.1)
97. Nico Corti, 22 - Rio Grande Valley FC (USA.2)
98. Dan Lynd, 24 - Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USA.2)
99. Scott Levene, 22 - New York Red Bulls II (USA.2)
100. Austin Rogers, 22 - FC Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia.1)

Bill says: Ihn recently made his first professional start, showcasing a nice smothering save across the goalmouth. Rookie Michael Nelson has yet to make his first start as RGV has opted for Stanford alum Nico Corti for their first three matches. Austin Rogers returns to Ulaanbaatar for the 2018 season after being named the league's goalkeeper of the year.

Everybody Soccer Update - March 2018

I don't do a ton of updates about the site - to be honest I can't remember the last one I've done here - but I wanted to keep readers up to date as I've been fairly quiet for a while. I'm currently working on two big projects and half-working on a number of articles.

1. Return of the Podcast - I'm reviving the podcast with help from a number of guests. I enjoy talking goalkeeping to others and oddly enough, don't enjoy having to record solely myself talking for an extended amount of time. So the middle ground is recording people talking to me about goalkeeping, which I've thoroughly enjoyed much more this go around. I currently have a couple of episodes burning a hole in my back pocket but the idea is to do a bi-monthly release from here on out.

The first episode of "season 2" can currently be found on iTunes. If you search "Everybody Soccer" on the iTunes store you should be able to locate it in the podcast section. Or you can listen to the latest episode on the site, featuring the one and only Stan Anderson.

2. Automated GSAR - The second big project is releasing an automated version of my GSAR (goals saved above replacement). It's something I've flirted with for the past four years and while I can't completely automate it for every action a goalkeeper makes, I've gotten pretty close. Frankly I don't think a completely automated goalkeeping stat assesses goalkeepers correctly, as there are a number of situations where we don't have the sample size to test against a formula.

That said, out of 230 non-passing actions I've charted, I've only "fixed" seven by hand. The rest are compiled by a formula and without bias, which I'm pretty happy about. It's a lot of work and something I want to present for the first time (whenever that happens) correctly.

3. Upcoming articles - As for articles, I'm hoping to release a top 100 list for the men at the start of next month and one for the women not long after. (I'm currently waiting for the NWSL season to get rolling before I put my foot in my mouth.) I'm also working with soccer historian Steve Holroyd on a top 10 list for American goalkeepers, sorted by decade. There's another post listing all the off-field charity work I've seen from goalkeepers in the past year, which is surprisingly extensive. I've half-started another article as a plea for which goalkeepers should be in the US Soccer Hall of Fame but with everything else going on... we'll see.

As for current content, I've just added a new article which is actually a response to an email I received but just reformated into a post. Nothing groundbreaking but hopefully something I can cite for parents and collegiate goalkeepers down the line.