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Hamm, Wambach, Foudy headline USWNT All-Time Best XI

1999 WNT World Cup


The votes are in and U.S. Soccer has determined the U.S. Women’s National Team’s All-Time Best XI.

Making up the bulk of the team is the group that won the World Cup in 1999 in front of a record-breaking crowd of more than 90,000 at the Rose Bowl – a moment widely seen as putting women’s soccer on the map in America. Mia Hamm and Joy Fawcett were unanimously voted into the Best XI.

Just three active members of the USWNT made the All-Time Best XI: reigning FIFA Player of the Year Abby Wambach; 24-year-old star striker Alex Morgan; and Christie Rampone, the remaining active player from the legendary 1999 group.

Without question, the most divided vote of the lot was goalkeeper. Briana Scurry ended up with 31 votes from the committee, beating out Hope Solo’s 24 votes, the most of any player to not make the Best XI.

See the Best XI list released Thursday after the jump:

Here is the Best XI and their vote totals:

Goalkeeper – Briana Scurry 1994-2008 (31)

Defender – Brandi Chastain 1988-2004 (31)

Defender – Joy Biefeld (Fawcett) 1987-2004 (56)

Defender – Carla Werden (Overbeck) 1988-2000 (49)

Defender – Christie Rampone (Pearce) 1997-present (46)

Midfielder – Michelle Akers 1985-2000 (55)

Midfielder – Julie Foudy 1988-2004 (40)

Midfielder – Kristine Lilly 1987-2010 (55)

Forward – Mia Hamm 1987-2004 (56)

Forward – Alex Morgan 2010-present (15)

Forward – Abby Wambach 2001-present (52)

A group of soccer historians, media members, former coaches and players made the selection in a 4-3-3 formation as part of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s centennial celebration.

The vote totals for all eligible players and a list of the voting committee are available at U.S. Soccer’s website. The men’s Best XI will be released Friday.


What do you think of this Best XI? Are there any players you would’ve preferred to see make the cut? Would you have named Solo to your Best XI?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Carli Lloyd sets the record for most goals in international play by a Midfielder and she is rewarded by leaving her off the all-time team. Nobody has scored bigger goals in the big games then Carli, why not research her history.

  2. Hold your horses, “ehhh”.

    Your name reflects your opinion- muddled and blase.

    While nobody made any mention of stats meaning “everything,” or watching/not watching matches, I’ll indulge your trollish sensibilities…

    Who are widely considered the best players in the world, or Ballon d’Or finalists? Guys with good leadership? Or the most “passes defensed?” OR the guys with the most goals/assists?

    ‘DaDaDa’ ‘DaDaDa’

    • the ball d’or is a relatively new award (I believe this is its 4th year) and as I am not in big European locker rooms or training facilities, I am unaware of the candidates leadership qualities. You can believe what you want in news reports and such but some of the best leaders do so by example. I also believe that either xavi or iniesta have been a finalist for every ball d’or ballet (obviously not this year) which kinda defeats your own argument of statistic based candidates as they are the players who don’t fill up stat sheets but shine on the field where it matters.

      I never intended to ‘troll’ you or whatever your saying. Go watch some games and stop reading box scores is all I recommend, you may learn something.

  3. I didn’t start paying serious attention to the team until the end of Mia’s time. I always assumed Abby was the greatest USWNT of all-time, based on goals…

    …Until I just looked up assist numbers. Hamm – 144 assists (.52/game) Wambach – 65 assists (.31/game)


  4. There is no doubt Solo is physically more talented than Scurry but I hold Goalies to a different standard than other players, World Cup. Solo has yet to win one therefore she remains off my ballot.

  5. I believe Morgan will ultimately belong on this list but the spot she currently occupies belongs to Tiffeny Milbrett who scored 100 goals and 61 assists in 204 USWNT appearances. If that doesn’t put you in the All-Time Top XI I don’t know what more you could want. Seventh in caps, 5th in goals and 4th in assists all-time.

    And Scurry’s inclusion over Solo is nonsensical. They are close in appearances (Scurry’s 173 to Solo’s 142) but the eye test is the critical thing here. Solo is better in every part of the game than Scurry but shockingly better with her feet. Scurry was a liability in that part of the game. Solo, however, was a 100-goal scoring high school forward whose distribution is world’s better. This one isn’t even close.

    • Scurry was a great athlete who played on some iconic teams that got a lot of great press when there wasn’t much competition. Her positioning and tactical awareness, her distribution–not comparable at all to Solo’s. I don’t mean to demean Scurry–she was one of the best women’s GK’s for her time. But the women’s game has improved by leaps and bounds.

  6. The problem with coming up with an all-time best USWNT is that while there were some great pioneers, many of these players made their name when only 3-4 countries took women’s soccer seriously.

    Akers, to me, was an all-around beast and deserves mention (and will still deserve mention 50 years from now). She was a woman who had an all-around game and a game that fit in with the men. Lilly–I can see her as well. But most of the others from the first two WCs….if they could go back in time and “un-age” and compete with the current team, most of them wouldn’t have the technique and tactical sophistication to dominate like they did 20 years ago. The women’s field has gotten deeper, the women’s game plays better defense, has better ball possession. Alex Morgan doesn’t have the wins and goals of a bunch of other women but I bet that she’s technically superior to Mia Hamm in her prime. Most of these defenders lack the ball skills, speed, and tactical flexibility of Ali Krieger.

    It’s like looking at the NFL and saying that Don Hutson and Don McGee were better wideouts than someone with fewer titles who is 6 inches taller, a full second faster in the 100, 50 pounds bigger, stronger. Or like saying Kyle Rote Jr. is an all-time great soccer player in the US over…say…Conor Casey (who is far better technically).

    Kudos to the early pioneers who helped pave the way. But the women’s game is much more different and far more competitive today than it was 2 decades ago.

    • Did you see Mia Hamm in her prime? She could literally fake defenders out of their shoes. I think Morgan is out and out faster, but not better technically, although closer than one might think. Hamm was very quick and excellent when running at defenders and is still the best finisher I have ever seen in the women’s game and surpassed by only a few men I have seen in the last 20 years. She was just so lethal in and around the box and she also took almost all the corners because of her pinpoint accuracy.

      • Yes, I did see Mia Hamm in her prime. She was playing at a time when it was common for the USA to beat-up on Mexico by 5-10 goals. Yes, she faked defenders our of their figurative jockstraps. But watch film from the 1991 WC or 1995 and compare to today. The top 10 women’s NT are not only deeper but technical and tactically superior.

        If we want to go by caps or titles, people are right–Krieger and Morgan shouldn’t even be alternates. But I remember when the US basically relied on set pieces to score goals against good teams. And when our backline–when faced with any kind of pressure–just booted it downfield.

      • I totally agree with your assessment regarding current vs. past women’s teams. However, I still maintain Hamm was best. I doubt anyone kept stats, but if someone kept stats of shots, % of shots on goal and % of shots on goals that became goals, I have no doubt that Hamm would be far and away the best. That was what sets her apart in my eyes. I’m reminded of an old story where a bunch of Yankees in the 50’s were talking baseball and the quality of modern hitters vs. previous greats and someone asked Yogi, who was a catcher and had seen all the greats of that time, what Yogi thought Ty Cobb would hit in the modern times. I think he’d hit about .300, Yogi said. .300? But he had a career average of .360. Yeah, Yogi replied, but you gotta remember he’s over 60 now. There are some greats who are so good they transcend their time. I really think Hamm is one.

    • There has only been 10 years since they played. The technical skill of the team has improved, but NOT that much. However, there is much greater depth among the competition. When I was in college in the 90’s, the only real competition was from China, Sweden, Norway and Germany. Now you have Canada, Brazil, Japan, France & Denmark that could win it as well. They are all much better than they used to be. Even the bottom half of teams are much stronger.

      While this list is fairly subjective, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Mia Hamm and Michelle Akers are the best USWNT team players that the US has produced to date. I have been watching the Women’s team (and women’s college soccer) since the mid-90’s. Mia would still own players now, and Akers would still BOSS the midfield (and people forget that she started as a midfield). Scurry very good for a long time. However, even though she is a headcase, Solo is a better keeper (although marginally).

      My eleven (4-4-2) includes Solo (for Scurry), Carli Lloyd in midfield (instead of Morgan up front). Can’t argue with Overbeck or Fawcett because they were so calming in the back and read the game well. I might sub out Chastain. I might pick Kreiger, but is young and oft-injured.There is just a lot of depth in the pool.

      • Krieger has only played 37 times of the United States. Shouldn’t even be a consideration for the team let alone included in an all-time best XI. Personally, I would choose Kate Markgraf over Brandi Chastain every day of the week.

      • Many of these women started their USWNT careers in 1987 and played in the 1991 WC. That means they were wearing the jersey almost 25 years ago. The women’s game hasn’t just added depth (more teams) but quality, technical and tactical awareness. The French women don’t do anything different from what we see in the men’s game–but it was a sea-change for the women’s game internationally. Do you want to know what the goal differential was for the US women in the 1991 Gold Cup? 49-0. To compare the women of that era or even ’99 is like looking at the men’s WC from 1994 (or earlier) where you still had huge gaps between teams–you’d see Haiti and Zaire qualify and then lose 9-0 and 7-0. I honor the women who blazed the trail–in many ways it was much tougher for them. But if you watch film of the WC now (not just the US, watch France or Brasil or Japan or even the second tier teams), you see that defending is much better…requiring that technique be superior. Tactics are more sophisticated. All-around skill is better. The women’s game is simply significantly better now than it was even 10 years ago.

      • A bit late, but must weigh in. Joe, you’re correct in the skill of today’s player is much improved over 10-15 years ago, and side by side todya’s players are better. But what you’re doing is penalizing people for when they were born. If Mia and Alex were born the same year and grew up against similar levels of competition, you’re saying Alex would still be a better player. While there is no way to prove it one way or another, no one could ever convince me that would be true. You have to judge players on how they played compared to their contemporaries.

    • I see where you are coming from but by that logic, then the best 11 would probably be the current 11 as athletes almost always get better as the generations progress. I think that if we did do your un-aging experiment I think that Michelle Akers would still be the best player on the team however.

  7. I would have gone with a 4-4-2, dropped Morgan and added Boxx. I have no beef with Scurry over Solo, because of number of years played, and big games won. Hope is making her mark on the game now, she’s setting the bar really high for someone to surpass her. The thing I really don’t understand is how did O’Hara, Morgan, or Leroux even get on the best XI selection list? All good players, but none have been playing long enough to even be seriously considered, I don’t care who is voting.

  8. Hamm, Akers, Lilly, Fawcett and Wambach are the only locks. The other six spots are competitive and debatable, but this XI is pretty respectable, no clear errors. Solo probably had a higher peak than Scurry, but Scurry was really good for a really long-time.

    • Akers’ career was somewhat shortened by in jury. My vote for all time best goes to Mia Hamm. Akers was more of a physical presence, but Hamm was so quick she made other players look silly.Whenever Hamm got inside the 18 yard box it seemed almost certain she was going to score.

      • Jack nut,…agreed!! Who was the crackhead who didn’t vote for Akers? She was, hands down, the best USWNT player.

        And all apologies to Scurry,….but as other have noted, Hope Solo is the best GK.

  9. My biggest complain is Chastain with a less serious complain on Scurry. Chastain was dropped from the team for a period and only got back into the mix when she crossed a strike line to play. Other that the famous PK event, she was on the plus side of good but not really great. Scurry was good for years but stayed too long. I think Solo is better than Scurry was at her best.

    Other that that, Id agree

      • Both Leroux and Press are scoring at a higher rate than Alex. Very good chance they pass her. The are more consistent.

      • Morgan consistently scores in the biggest games. Press hasn’t scored in one yet. (Algarve Cup Morgan 2 – Press/Germany 0). And this was her down year.

        Come back when Press is scoring when it matters.

        For all of that said, Morgan should not be on the list yet. If she continues her quality play she can be on the next list.

      • Yes, she’s talented and may end up deserving of the honor eventually but she hasn’t earned it yet. You can’t use a record she hasn’t got yet for a spot on an All Time Best XI.

  10. Solo

    The ballot Id love to see is Christie Rampone’s as she played with most of these players.

      • I’m from San Diego and Boxx first started playing for the San Diego franchise even before the national team, so I’ve followed her from about Day 1. She was a late bloomer, so I think Foudy deserves to be picked ahead of Boxx. Foudy was such an important cog in the US team for so long and was more important to US success than Boxx, IMO.

    • she’s pretty pretty good. It really ony takes one world cup to establish you as a legend and morgan was pretty clutch in ’11


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