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Who Are the 10 Best Norway Women’s Soccer Players of All Time?

10 Best Norway Women’s Soccer Players of All Time

From Olympic champions to World Cup heroes, Norway Women’s National Soccer Team has produced a wealth of talent throughout its history. In this article, we unveil a list of the best players of all time. Discover who made the cut and join us on this journey through Norwegian soccer greatness.

Top 10 Norway Women’s National Soccer Team Players Of All Time

  1. Ada Hegerberg
  2. Hege Riise
  3. Isabell Herlovsen
  4. Solveig Gulbrandsen
  5. Gro Espeseth
  6. Dagny Mellgren Haugland
  7. Lene Mykjåland
  8. Marit Fiane Grødum
  9. Ingvild Stensland
  10. Trine Bjerke Rønning

1. Ada Hegerberg

  • First-ever recipient of the Ballon d’Or Féminin
  • 292 caps, 301 goals
  • Most goals scored in a UEFA Women’s Champions League season (15)

As a striker for Lyon and the Norway national team, Ada Hegerberg has achieved remarkable success. Hegerberg represented Norway in tournaments like the UEFA Women’s Championship and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. She won a silver medal at the 2013 UEFA Women’s Championship and received the UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe Award and the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year. Hegerberg made history as the first recipient of the Ballon d’Or Féminin.

At the club level, Hegerberg helped Lyon win numerous titles, including the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Hegerberg holds records for most goals in a Champions League season (15) and is the competition’s all-time leading scorer (59). Despite a dispute, Hegerberg returned to the national team after a five-year exile and scored a hat-trick in a World Cup qualification match. Off the field, Hegerberg advocates for gender equality and sustainability, collaborating with global brands like Hublot and Nike.

2. Hege Riise

  • 1993 UEFA Women’s Championship Golden Player
  • 188 caps, 58 goals
  • 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Ball winner

Although currently the coach of the Norway women’s national soccer team, Hege Riise used to be one of the most remarkable midfielders in Norway’s history. As an accomplished player, Riise achieved great success by winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Olympic Games, and the UEFA Women’s Euro with the national team. Her career began at a young age, playing for various clubs in Norway and Japan, including Setskog-Høland and Nikko Securities Dream Ladies. She later joined Asker FK and Carolina Courage, earning recognition as the Norwegian Soccer Association’s best female player.

Riise retired from playing in 2006, after which she transitioned into coaching. She had notable coaching roles with Team Strømmen, the United States women’s national team, and the England women’s national team. Riise also managed Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics. Her exceptional coaching abilities led to her appointment as the head coach of the Norway women’s national team.

3. Isabell Herlovsen

  • Norway’s all-time top scorer (67 goals)
  • Youngest goal-scorer in the history of the UEFA Women’s Euro
  • Scored the game-winning goal in the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Isabell Lehn Herlovsen has had a remarkable career as a versatile midfielder and striker. She made her debut for the Norwegian women’s national team at 16 and became the youngest goal-scorer in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2005. At the club level, Herlovsen played for Kolbotn IL, winning two league titles and a national cup. She later joined Olympique Lyonnais, making her mark in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Herlovsen also played for Jiangsu Suning in China before returning to Norway to join Våleranga and later being loaned out to Kolbotn. In international competitions, she excelled at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and UEFA Women’s European Championship, scoring crucial goals. Off the field, Herlovsen is known for her openness about her personal life and came out as a lesbian in 2011. Herlovsen’s impact on Norwegian women’s soccer is undeniable, and she remains an influential figure in the sport.

4. Solveig Gulbrandsen

  • 183 caps, 55 goals
  • 2000 Olympic gold medalist
  • Two-goal performance in the 2005 UEFA Women’s Championship

Solveig Ingersdatter Gulbrandsen, born on January 12, 1981, is a Norwegian soccer player who made a significant impact on the Norway Women’s National Soccer Team. With 183 caps, 55 goals, and noteworthy achievements, Gulbrandsen is regarded as a key figure in Norwegian women’s soccer. Starting her career at Kolbotn, she went on to represent clubs like FC Gold Pride, Vålerenga Fotball Damer, and Stabæk.

Gulbrandsen’s international career is equally impressive. She won the gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics and represented Norway in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007 and the UEFA Women’s Euro 2005 and 2009. Notably, she scored two goals against Sweden in the 2005 UEFA Women’s Championship. Despite setbacks like a broken wrist during the 2008 Summer Olympics and a missed penalty in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 final, Gulbrandsen’s skill and dedication remain unquestionable. Her contributions have left an enduring impact on Norwegian women’s soccer.

5. Gro Espeseth

  • 2000 Olympic gold medalist
  • 1995 World Cup champion
  • 1993 UEFA Women’s Euro champion

Gro Espeseth achieved remarkable success as a world and Olympic champion. Born on October 30, 1972, she made her mark playing for clubs like Sandviken and Trondheims-Ørn. Espeseth earned 105 appearances for the Norwegian national team, debuting in 1991.  Her accomplishments include a bronze medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and a gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where she played a crucial role.

With Sandviken Espeseth, she secured the 1995 Norwegian Women’s Cup, scoring two goals, including the decisive winner in the final. After joining the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) in 2001, Espeseth retired due to knee damage following one season. However, she returned to soccer in 2007 as an assistant coach for Sandviken, even making a brief guest appearance as a player. Gro Espeseth’s inspiring journey exemplifies the heights one can achieve in soccer with her Olympic triumphs and impressive domestic achievements.

6. Dagny Mellgren Haugland

  • 2000 Olympic gold medalist
  • Top scorer in the WUSA in 2003
  • 2005 European Championship silver medalist

Dagny Mellgren Haugland, born on June 19, 1978, in Ålgård, left a lasting impact on the field. She has played for prominent clubs such as Klepp, Arna Bjørnar, and Boston Breakers in the USA. Her international success was highlighted by her pivotal role in Norway’s triumph at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. She scored the unforgettable golden goal in the final against the United States, securing the gold medal.

Mellgren Haugland also participated in prestigious tournaments like the World Cups in 1999 and 2003, reaching fourth place and the quarterfinals, respectively. In the 2005 European Championship, she contributed to Norway’s silver medal, scoring a crucial goal in the final against Germany.

Recognized for her speed, clinical finishing, and exceptional positioning, her talents earned her accolades, including being the top scorer in the American Women’s United Soccer Association in 2003 and winning the title of the best female Norwegian player of the year.

7. Lene Mykjåland

  • 2007 Women’s World Cup fourth-place finisher
  • 2008 Olympic quarterfinalist
  • 109 caps, 39 goals

Starting at Randesund IL, Lene Mykjåland quickly emerged as one of the league’s top talents. Her exceptional skills earned her a place on the Norwegian women’s national team, representing her country in prestigious tournaments like the 2007 Women’s World Cup and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In 2008, Mykjåland made headlines alongside four other Røa players when they retired from the national team due to leadership issues. However, they later ended their boycott and made themselves available for selection under new leadership. Mykjåland made a comeback in 2010, playing her first game for Norway since the boycott, and she was also selected for the 2011 Women’s World Cup squad.  Notably, Mykjåland had a stint with the Washington Freedom in the United States before returning to Røa, signing a two-year contract. Her journey exemplifies her talent, resilience, and dedication to the sport, making her a true icon in Norwegian women’s soccer.

8. Marit Fiane Grødum

  • Four-time Toppserien winner
  • 62 caps, seven goals
  • UEFA Women’s Euro finalist

Marit Helene Fiane Grødum has left an indelible mark on the sport as a former soccer central back. Starting at Halsen IF, she became a key player for FK Larvik in the Toppserien league. With Larvik, she returned to Toppserien and later joined Asker and Røa, winning the league and cup twice with Røa. Grødum represented Norway in 62 matches, scoring seven goals. She participated in the 2005 European Championships, 2003 and 2007 Women’s World Cups, and the 2008 Summer Olympics.

In 2008, Grødum and four Røa teammates boycotted the national team due to leadership issues but returned under new leadership (one of them being Lene Mykjåland). She played in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013, successfully reaching the final. Off the field, Grødum is a qualified lawyer and works as a legal adviser.

9. Ingvild Stensland

  • 2005 Toppserien Player of the Year
  • 130 caps, 11 goals
  • 2008 Norwegian Women’s Player of the Year (NISO)

As a midfielder, Ingvild Stensland showcased her skills for renowned clubs like Olympique Lyon and Göteborg FC, popularizing her in both France and Sweden. Her international journey with the Norway women’s national team was equally remarkable. Making her debut in 2003, she participated in prestigious tournaments such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup and UEFA Women’s Euro. Notably, she played a pivotal role in guiding her team to a second-place finish in the 2005 European Championships.

Stensland’s exceptional abilities earned her recognition, including being named the Toppserien Player of the Year in 2005. Following her playing career, she transitioned into coaching, initially joining Stabæk as a player developer. In August 2022, she became an assistant coach for the Norway women’s national team. Ingvild Stensland’s journey reflects her enduring passion for the game and her significant contributions to Norwegian women’s soccer.

10. Trine Bjerke Rønning

  • 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup team captain
  • 150 caps, 19 goals
  • 2005 UEFA Women’s Euro silver medalist

Since her debut for the Norway women’s national soccer team in 1999, Trine Bjerke Rønning amassed over 150 caps, demonstrating her longevity and dedication. Rønning’s international career saw her represent Norway in prestigious tournaments, including the UEFA Women’s Championship and the FIFA Women’s World Cups. At the club level, she clinched six Norwegian Toppserien league titles and multiple Norwegian Women’s Cup victories. Rønning’s versatility on the field was evident as she initially played in different positions before settling as a center-back for the national team.

Her tenacity and skill contributed to Norway’s achievements, such as winning silver at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2005 and reaching the quarter-finals of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In 2015, Rønning was appointed captain of the national team, leading by example and making her mark at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. As such, Trine Rønning is a true legend in Norwegian women’s soccer.

Honorable Mentions

  • Ann Kristin Aarønes
  • Bente Nordby
  • Cathrine Dekkerhus
  • Emilie Haavi
  • Leni Larsen Kaurin
  • Linda Medalen
  • Maren Mjelde
  • Marianne Pettersen
  • Ragnhild Gulbrandsen
  • Unni Lehn