NXGN 2024: The 25 best wonderkids in women's football

The annual NXGN lists are back for another year, highlighting 25 of the most incredible teenage talents in the women's game

The annual NXGN lists are back for 2024, as GOAL ranks the world's top teenage talents in men's and women's football, crowning winners that will follow names like Lena Oberdorf, Jude Bellingham, Melchie Dumornay and Rodrygo in being recognised as the best young footballer on the planet.

Covering all five continents and representing 18 different countries, the 2024 Women's NXGN list is a truly global one, featuring established senior internationals, title winners and names that already have lit up major tournaments, as well as prospects who look set to have those achievements in their futures.

Without further ado, here is the 2024 Women's NXGN list, ranking the 25 top young talents born on or after January 1, 2005..

25 Brooke Aspin (Chelsea - loan at Bristol City)

Brooke Aspin has been showing off the qualities that make her one of England's most exciting prospects ever since she broke into the Bristol City first team at the age of 16. Fast-forward two years, and she's helped the Robins win promotion to the Women's Super League, overcome an incredible personal battle with the life-threatening illness that is sepsis and signed for Chelsea, the dominant power in English women's football.

A born leader as well as a determined defender, 18-year-old Aspin is not short of ambition and she has the talent to help her achieve whatever she wants..

24 Toko Koga (Feyenoord)

Previously quoted as saying that one of her career goals is to be a successful player overseas, Toko Koga took the first bold leap towards achieving that in January when, having just celebrated her 18th birthday, she left home to join Feyenoord in the Netherlands. The versatile defender has already become a fixture in the starting XI at her new club thanks to her impressive technical ability, athletic qualities and tendency to be an aerial threat.

The excitement around Koga's potential is well-recognised within the Japan set-up, too, with her already starting to be integrated into the senior team by head coach Futoshi Ikeda.

23 Liana Joseph (Lyon)

It's hard to put into words just how impressive Liana Joseph's contributions in the 2023 UEFA Women's Under-17 Championship final were. Spain completely dominated the first half, but France's No.9 slowly started to send a few warning signs after the break, and it was just past the hour when she punished them on the counter, finishing coolly to give France a lead that she then doubled 10 minutes later.

It's not going to be easy for Joseph to break through at Lyon, but the 17-year-old is already getting a few opportunities. The French giants would certainly be foolish not to make the most of her promising talent, too.

22 Amanda Allen (Orlando Pride)

You have to be quite talented to make your senior international debut at the age of 17, especially for a nation that has just won Olympic gold. Amanda Allen is indeed quite talented. After squeezing that milestone in just in time to rub shoulders with Canada icon Christine Sinclair, the now-19-year-old forward is learning plenty from another legend of the game at club level, too, as part of an Orlando Pride roster that also includes Brazil's Marta.

A fearless, confident attacking player who poses a threat to defenders in many different ways, Allen's evident desire to learn and improve makes her potential even greater

21 Hapsatou Malado Diallo (Eibar)

Senegal are by no means the power in women's football that they are in men's. Having only ever featured at two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and never at a global event, they have a long way to go - but in Hapsatou Malado Diallo they have a prodigy who is widely seen as key to the nation's future.

Diallo was only 17 years old when she represented Senegal at AFCON in 2022, and it put her on the radar, with Spanish top-flight side Eibar picking her up last summer. A towering striker with impressive strength, Diallo also boasts finesse in her finishing and real technical talent.

20 Gisele Thompson (Angel City)

Before signing for Angel City in December, Gisele Thompson spent several years with Total Futbol Academy, a boys' club that competes in MLS Next. Though a very rare experience for any female soccer player in the United States to have, it was one that helped to refine her game in an extremely well-balanced manner that suits the demands of a full-back in the modern era.

There's inevitably extra hype around the 18-year-old because of her sister Alyssa, who went to the World Cup with the U.S. women's national team in 2023, but Gisele deserves to be recognised as a major talent in her own right.

19 Casey Phair (Angel City)

Angel City only added to the excitement around its future in January when, after snapping up Thompson, it made Casey Phair the third teenage prodigy on its roster going into the 2024 season. That came just six months after she made headlines by becoming the youngest player in Women's World Cup history, representing South Korea aged 16 years and 26 days.

This was no token gesture, either. Phair is an incredibly exciting talent and will be central to the national team's future. She has a big role to play in the present, too, underlined by her hat-trick in Olympic qualifying back in October.


18 Sheika Scott (Alajuelense)

Another promising young star who went to last year’s World Cup as a 16-year-old, Sheika Scott is one of the most interesting talents in world football right now. Although fans didn't see much of her game-changing ability on the biggest stage given how tough Costa Rica’s group was, few would argue that she is not destined for the top.

An attacking midfielder with an eye for goal, Scott’s idol has long been Shirley Cruz, the iconic Costa Rican midfielder who twice won the Champions League with Lyon. It’s easy to tell Scott has watched a lot of Cruz, too, from what she can do with a ball already.

17 Giulia Dragoni (Barcelona)

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but Giulia Dragoni was only 16 years old when she represented Italy at the World Cup last summer – but it was a few months before that when she really grabbed attention by signing for European champions Barcelona, thus becoming the first foreign female player to reside at La Masia.

Though primarily a fixture in the ‘B’ team right now, that’s hardly a stick to beat the teenager with given the quality at Barca. Indeed, when Dragoni has been granted chances with the first team, the glimpses she has shown are enough to convince anyone that she is the real deal.

16 Clara Luvanga (Al-Nassr)

Until 2022, Tanzania had never played at a World Cup at any level, men's or women's. Then along came Clara Luvanga. No one scored more goals in Africa's U17 qualification process, with her hat-trick in the fourth and final round, away at Cameroon, particularly significant in helping the team achieve something historic for Tanzanian football.

Now 19, Luvanga is taking the Saudi Women's Premier League by storm with Al-Nassr, and is one of the front-runners for this season’s Golden Boot. A determined dribbler who is strong, quick and always willing to try the audacious, Luvanga is also excellent with both feet. She has the potential to become a truly complete goal-scorer.

15 Daniela Galic (Melbourne City)

Daniela Galic was only 16 years old when she was dubbed “the future of Australian football”. It was at that age that the talented playmaker went to the U20 World Cup as the youngest player in her country’s squad, and yet she shone not just with her ability, but her maturity and confidence.

Galic has an athletic profile that has drawn comparisons to current Matildas stars such as Emily van Egmond and Chloe Logarzo, and it is complemented by superb footwork, clever movement and an absolute cannon of a right foot. The 17-year-old can play in midfield and out wide, but it’s as a No.10 where her creativity excels.

14 Mia Enderby (Liverpool)

Sheffield United have a knack for developing young talent, and when one homegrown winger moved on, Lucy Watson joining Chelsea, another in Mia Enderby really got her chance to prove that she could be the next teenager to earn a Women’s Super League move. Plenty of top clubs were interested even before her seven goals in 12 Championship starts, and it was Liverpool who secured the 18-year-old’s signature.

A few injuries have hampered her in her first season on Merseyside, but Enderby appears to be in the perfect place to refine her raw ability and become one of England’s most electric forwards.

13 Alice Soto (Pachuca)

There has been so much hype around Alice Soto, for so long, that it'd be natural to be concerned about her ability to live up to it. However, the attack-minded midfielder, who made her debut in Liga MX aged just 13, continues to impress with her progress.

Soto’s contributions in Mexico’s CONCACAF U20 Championship triumph last year, most notably her stoppage-time winner in the semi-finals, earned her the tournament’s Golden Ball despite her being just 17 years old. She looks set for a best-ever goal return in Liga MX this season at Pachuca, too. It’s all positive for Mexico’s teen prodigy.

12 Lily Yohannes (Ajax)

One of the breakout stars from this season’s Women’s Champions League, Lily Yohannes has caught the eye regularly for an Ajax team that out-qualified Bayern Munich and Roma to reach the quarter-finals for the first time. The youngest player ever to start a UWCL group game, aged 16, Yohannes moved from the U.S. to the Netherlands when she was 10, was quickly spotted by Ajax, signed a pro deal at 15 and is already a key figure in the first team.

A versatile attacking midfielder with an eye for a pass, Yohannes has a real footballing brain, but perhaps most impressive is how seamlessly she's assimilated to the highest level.

11 Ana Maria Guzman (Bayern Munich)

World Cup knockout games make even the most experienced players nervous, never mind an 18-year-old making their tournament debut in one. But if Ana Maria Guzman was apprehensive ahead of Colombia’s last-16 clash with Jamaica last summer, she didn’t show it. Indeed, it was the full-back who unlocked the Reggae Girlz’s stern defence, her cross-field pass landing perfectly on the boot of Catalina Usme, who turned it into the game’s only goal.

Guzman has since earned a move to Bayern Munich, and though a knee injury has delayed the start of her new chapter, she has the mentality and the quality to thrive with the German champions.

10 Sara Ortega (Athletic Club)

The attacking, goal-grabbing members of Spain's prolific youth set-up will almost always get more of the spotlight, but Sara Ortega is someone who deserves to be picked out as a star for the future, too. The 19-year-old has consistently been a starter throughout La Roja’s youth levels, crowned a world champion with the U17s in 2022 and a European champion with the U19s a year later, but she’s also shown that she can cut it at senior level.

Ortega was only 16 when she debuted for Athletic Club in Liga F and she has since become a regular for the Basque outfit, whether at a full-back, in midfield or even a little further forward. Technically superb, the 19-year-old has a wonderful understanding of the game, something which allows her to be so versatile. It’s no wonder Athletic handed her a new deal at the start of the year – her future is incredibly bright.

9 Dudinha (Sao Paulo)

When Brazil finished third at the U20 World Cup last year, several members of the squad came in for praise from Pia Sundhage, then-head coach of the senior team, and Dudinha was among them. “The way Dudinha finds solutions has surprised me,” the Swede said. “You think she’s going to do one thing but she does the other. She’s really unpredictable.” At youth level, the 18-year-old has thrived, also shining for the U17s, but how would she cope at senior level? We only had a few glimpses at the answer to that question, such was her lack of opportunity with Sao Paulo, until last year.

As a regular starter for the club in the 2023 season, Dudinha’s talent was there for all to see, her excellent close control, desire to make things happen and dangerous long-distance shooting standing out in particular. She’s still developing, of course, but Brazil appear to have another gem on their hands.

8 Momoko Tanikawa (Bayern Munich - loan at Rosengard)

Few players on this list will be more exciting to follow in 2024 than Momoko Tanikawa. After lighting up the U17 World Cup in 2022 with her devastatingly accurate long-distance shooting - with both feet, it should be noted - the Japanese playmaker has landed in Europe, signing for Bayern Munich and joining Rosengard on loan, in the development-heavy Swedish league.

Tanikawa’s outstanding performances at that World Cup didn’t get as much attention as they should have, probably because of Japan’s quarter-final exit, but make no mistake - this 18-year-old is one of the most talented young players on the planet. She is a truly gifted footballer, with enviable close control and wonderful technique, and the confidence she has in her own ability, in taking on shots from range and driving at defences, makes her a match-winner, too. It’s going to be fascinating to see how the experiences she gains this year help her develop.

7 Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns)

Few, if any, on this list have been in the spotlight quite like Olivia Moultrie. Her decision in 2021 to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NWSL, the top league in the United States, has changed so much. The rule that players must be 18 or over to play in the division has since been removed, and it has allowed several top young talents to thrive, Moultrie included.

A versatile midfielder, she’s already made over 50 senior appearances for one of the best teams in the U.S., starting more than half of those games for the Portland Thorns and helping them to win the NWSL Championship in 2022. Moultrie is now making her impact at international level, too, showcasing poaching instincts on her full USWNT debut at this year’s Gold Cup with two close-range finishes. Performing at the highest level seems to come so easy to her – and she’s still only 18 years old.

6 Wieke Kaptein (Chelsea - loan at Twente)

‘Wise beyond their years’ can be an overused term with young talents, but it describes Wieke Kaptein so well. After all, it takes real maturity to become a key part of a title-chasing team at 16 years old, but that’s exactly what this Dutch starlet did when she broke into the Twente side at the start of the 2021-22 campaign. In the past two-and-a-half seasons, Kaptein has helped the club to win seven trophies, a total she’s likely to assist them in adding to over the next few months.

More silverware would be a great way to say goodbye, too, as the teenager is only on loan now after signing for Chelsea last summer. Breaking into the Blues’ team won’t be easy, but Kaptein isn’t some raw, inexperienced prospect. She might be 18 years old, but she’s already a title-winning, senior Netherlands international and can make a real impact with the English champions.

5 Signe Gaupset (Brann)

There is a lot of hype in Norway about Signe Gaupset. Just 17 years old when she stole the show in the Norwegian Cup final, scoring twice and assisting another as Brann beat Stabaek 3-1, team-mate Tuva Hansen remarked afterwards: “She is a completely unique talent. She works so well I forget that she is 17 years old. Words cannot describe how good she is.”

That hype is extending beyond her homeland now, too. Gaupset’s ability in possession, powerful shot and exciting creativity have caught the eye in the Women’s Champions League this season, and it was she who popped up with a 90th-minute equaliser to secure a historic draw against eight-time European champions Lyon in December, helping Brann reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

Her form on the biggest stage will no doubt be attracting attention from clubs abroad, and it does feel like only a matter of time until Gaupset moves on to develop her wonderful talent even further. But the 18-year-old has a wise head on her shoulders, and after seeking the advice of her more experienced team-mates, doesn’t want to rush anything.

"Something they say - and I think this as well - is that it's not a stress to get out," she told GOAL last year. “I think I have a lot to improve here in Norway and Brann. I want to play here until I really find the right club.” That maturity only adds to the belief that she will fulfil her potential and be Norway’s next superstar.

4 Mara Alber (Hoffenheim)

With just three minutes of normal time remaining in the 2022 Women's U17 Euros final, it looked like it would be Spain lifting the trophy. Germany had taken an early lead, but their opponents fought back well, and it looked like Carla Camacho's header was going to be enough to secure the title.

But Germany were still pushing, and when Jella Veit fed the ball to Mara Alber on the left wing, the teenage forward only had one thing on her mind. She faked to go down the flank, to drive towards the byline and get a cross off, but then shimmied inside, created half a yard of space and, on the very edge of the box, wrapped her favoured right foot around the ball to curl it beyond the goalkeeper and into the far corner. Germany were still alive, the game was off to penalties and, after a tense shootout, Alber and her team-mates were champions of Europe.

Winner of the Bronze Ball at the U17 Women's World Cup that followed a few months later - only pipped to the Golden and Silver accolades by two of the players above her on this list - the most impressive thing about Alber's young career to date is the way she has translated these exciting performances with the youth teams to senior level. The 18-year-old has been flying for Hoffenheim in her first full season with the first team; her fantastic footwork, mazy dribbling and direct mindset just as effective and difficult to stop in the Bundesliga.

3 Aline Gomes (Ferroviaria)

Often when you watch a promising young forward in action, it is their goal-scoring, their skill, their dribbling or something similar that stands out. When you watch Aline Gomes, it is her footballing intelligence. For a player of 18 years old to be so clever in her reading of the game, her understanding of how a play will develop and her anticipation to make an impact is quite remarkable. Match that with her pace, her trickery and an end product that is already quite impressive for someone so young, and it creates one of the most exciting talents on the planet.

Another player who has thrived with the youth national teams, Aline then had an explosive 2023 at senior level. Out-scored by just three players in the Brazilian top-flight after netting 10 goals in 16 starts for Ferroviaria, the teenager also earned her first call-ups for the Selecao after making a significant impression on then-head coach Pia Sundhage. “The way that Aline has taken off – the way she takes players on, uses space, is a threat on the flanks – has been really impressive,” the Swede said after the U20 World Cup in 2022.

But Aline has also excited Sundhage’s successor, Arthur Elias, and was named to the roster for this year’s CONCACAF W Gold Cup. It’s no surprise because her talent is obvious. With a direct and positive mindset, but the patience to wait for the right option, the 18-year-old has the potential to be a world-class forward.

2 Vicky Lopez (Barcelona)

It’s hard not to get over-excited about Vicky Lopez’s ability. A truly dominant talent at youth level, named Player of the Tournament at the 2023 U17 Euros and awarded the Golden Ball at the U17 World Cup the year prior, the seamless manner in which she has slipped into Barcelona’s first-team since joining the club in the summer of 2022 has been the greatest indication yet of just how special she is.

Despite still being 17 years old, despite a lack of experience at senior level and of tournaments like the Champions League, despite playing in a team blessed with some of the best players on the planet, she still catches the eye – and often. Whether it’s an incredible pass, some mesmerising skill or a sublime strike, Lopez is capable of those moments of individual brilliance that can win matches, but she also understands the game in that high-level way that is crucial to being a success at Barcelona. She makes good decisions, her movement is intelligent and her ability in possession is top-class.

A player who, in Lopez’s own words, has had two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas take her under her wing in Catalunya, what she will gain from being around players of that calibre every day will be invaluable. "Now I see myself personally as a different player compared to when I arrived,” she told AS recently. “I think I have grown because of everything I learn from them.” At 17 years old, she’s going to go to new levels yet and it’s going to be fascinating to watch.

1 Linda Caicedo (Real Madrid)

It was way back in 2020, a few weeks after her 15th birthday, that Linda Caicedo first landed on GOAL’s NXGN list. As a 14-year-old, she shone in the Colombian top-flight for America de Cali, firing the club to a first-ever league title with goal-scoring exploits that won her the Golden Boot. Her efforts also helped America qualify for the Copa Libertadores, but in a timely reminder of her youth, she would have to wait two years to feature in the competition because she didn’t meet the minimum age requirement of 16.

Fast forward four years and Caicedo has done plenty in that time to help her top the NXGN 2024 list. The 19-year-old has played in two major tournament finals at youth level, in the U17 World Cup and the U17 South American Championship; she’s signed and shone for Real Madrid, moving to Spain days after her 18th birthday; she’s helped Colombia reach the Copa America final, picking up the tournament’s Golden Ball despite only being 18; and she’s played at a senior World Cup, winning the Goal of the Tournament award for a strike against Germany that helped her nation enjoy a best-ever run to the quarter-finals.

A quick winger with wonderful technique and deadly goal-scoring instincts, Caicedo is a talismanic figure, the type of player who can drag you to victory with her leadership and game-changing contributions. Right now, with the level she is doing that at, there is no player of her generation more captivating in the entire women’s game.

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