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  1. The Republic of Ireland women's national football team represents the Republic of Ireland in competitions such as the FIFA Women's World Cup and the UEFA Women's Championship. The Republic of Ireland has yet to qualify for a major tournament. It has, however, taken part in invitational tournaments such as the Algarve Cup, the Istria Cup and the Cyprus Cup. It is organised by the Women's Football Association of Ireland. The following 20 players were called up for the UEFA Women's Euro 2021 qualifier against Montenegro on 3 September 2019. No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Club GK Marie Hourihan 10 March 1987 (age 32) SC Braga GK Grace Moloney 1 March 1993 (age 26) Reading DF Harriet Scott 10 February 1993 (age 26) Birmingham City DF Louise Quinn 17 June 1990 (age 29) Arsenal DF Niamh Fahey 13 October 1987 (age 31) Liverpool DF Megan Connolly 7 March 1997 (age 22) Brighton & Hove Albion DF Diane Caldwell (vice-captain) 11 September 1988 (age 30) SC Sand DF Claire O'Riordan 12 October 1994 (age 24) MSV Duisburg DF Eabha O'Mahony 17 May 2002 (age 17) Cork City MF Tyler Toland 8 August 2001 (age 18) Manchester City MF Claire Walsh 28 October 1994 (age 24) Peamount United MF Eleanor Ryan-Doyle 14 May 1998 (age 21) Peamount United MF Denise O'Sullivan 4 February 1994 (age 25) North Carolina Courage MF Jess Gargan 10 March 1997 (age 22) Shelbourne FW Amber Barrett 10 January 1996 (age 23) FC Köln FW Katie McCabe (captain) 21 September 1995 (age 23) Arsenal FW Rianna Jarrett 5 July 1994 (age 25) Wexford Youths FW Heather Payne 20 January 2000 (age 19) Florida State Seminoles FW Clare Shine 18 May 1995 (age 24) Glasgow City FW Stephanie Roche 13 June 1989 (age 30) Florentia The Women's Football Association of Ireland is the governing body for women's association football in the Republic of Ireland. It is responsible for organising the Republic of Ireland women's national football team, the FAI Women's Cup and the Women's National League as well as various county and regional leagues and junior cup competitions. The Women's National League (WNL; Irish: Sraith Náisiúnta na mBan; known as the Só Hotel Group Women's National League for sponsorship reasons) is the top level league for women's association football in the Republic of Ireland. It is organised by the Football Association of Ireland and the Women's Football Association of Ireland. The FAI/WFAI previously organised a women's national league known as the Ladies League of Ireland or the Woman's League of Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s. The current league was founded in 2011 and the inaugural winners were Peamount United. The winners qualify for the UEFA Women's Champions League. 2019 teams Team Home town/suburb Stadium Cork City W.F.C. Cork Bishopstown Stadium Galway W.F.C. Galway Eamonn Deacy Park Kilkenny United W.F.C. Kilkenny Buckley Park Limerick W.F.C. Limerick Markets Field Peamount United Newcastle, South Dublin Greenogue Shelbourne Ladies Santry Morton Stadium DLR Waves Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown Jackson Park Wexford Youths Crossabeg Ferrycarrig Park
  2. Women's Knockout Cup (New Zealand) The Women's Knockout Cup is New Zealand Footballs women's national club based knockout competition that was first played in 1994. The Kate Sheppard Cup, currently known as the New Zealand Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup for sponsorship purposes, is New Zealand's premier knockout tournament in women's association football. It was previously known as the Women's Knockout Cup, until it was renamed in 2018. Performances By team Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up Lynn-Avon United 9 1 1996, 2000, 2002–06, 2008–09 2001 Three Kings United 4 2 1997–99, 2012 2004, 2010 Glenfield Rovers 4 3 2011, 2014–15, 2017 2007, 2013, 2016 Ellerslie 1 2 2001 2002–03 Claudelands Rovers 1 1 2009 2010 Coastal Spirit 1 1 2013 2011 Forrest Hill-Milford United 1 2 2016 2014, 2018 Waikato Unicol 1 1 1995 1994 Western Springs 1 1 2007 2006 Nomads United 1 0 1994 — Petone 0 4 — 1995–1998 Massey University 0 2 — 2012, 2015 Wairarapa United 0 2 — 1999–2000 Eastern Suburbs 0 2 — 2005, 2017 Western 0 1 — 2008 Dunedin Technical 1 0 2018 -
  3. Women's soccer in Australia Women's soccer, also known as women's football, is a popular sport in Australia. The sport has a high level of participation in the country both recreational and professional. Football Federation Australia (FFA) is the national governing body of the sport in Australia, organising the W-League, the Australian women's national team, and the nine state governing bodies of the game, among other duties. Women's participation of modern soccer has been recorded since the early 1920s. It has since become one of Australia's most popular women's team sports. National teams The Matildas are Australia's women's national team. The team gives female athletes opportunities to play in high level competition. The national team first started representing the country during the 1970s. In 1978, the team competed in their first international tournament. This tournament was the World Women's Invitational in Taipai, Taiwan. Prior to 1978, Australia had only ever really competed against New Zealand on an international level. In 1996, soccer made its debut as a women's sport at the Olympics. However, the IOC states otherwise, explicitly recognising the United States as the winner of the first gold medals in the women's sport in 1996. Four years later, Australia hosted the Olympics and Cheryl Salisbury scored the team's first Olympic goal in their second match against Sweden. Australia finished seventh in that first Olympic appearance. The team also competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics after qualifying by winning the Oceania qualifying tournament. Their next Olympic appearance did not come until the 2016 Games, in which they advanced to the quarter-finals and lost there on a penalty shootout to the host Brazil. The first FIFA Women's World Cup was held in 1991. Australia did not qualify, having been beaten by New Zealand because of goal difference. In 1995, Australia did qualify and finished last in the tournament. In 1999, Australia finished eleventh out of sixteen. In 2003, Australia finished last in their group. The Matildas qualified for the first time as an AFC member in 2007, and had their best finish to date in the competition. They finished second to Norway in Group C and bowed out in the quarter-finals at the hands of Brazil. The Matildas matched that finish in 2011, finishing second to Brazil in Group D and losing in the quarter-finals to Sweden, and in 2015, finishing second to the United States in Group D and losing in the quarter-finals to Japan. The youngest player ever for the Matildas was 14. The Young Matildas are Australia's women's national under-20 team. The team was initially organised as a U-19 team, but became a U-20 team when FIFA changed the upper age limit for its top women's age-grade competition from 19 to 20 effective in 2006. They have competed in several tournaments including the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship (predecessor to today's U-20 Women's World Cup). That particular competition was held in Canada. The Young Matildas finished fifth, the highest finish place in a FIFA sanctioned competition of any Australian women's national soccer team ever. The Mini Matildas are Australia's women's national under-17 team. The team was established when FIFA announced that the U-17 Women's World Cup would be launched in 2008. Australia has yet to qualify for the World Cup at this age level. The Deaf Matildas are Australian national deaf team. Their first major tournament was the Deaflympic Games held in Australia in 2005.
  4. Women's football in Scotland Women's association football is a largely amateur sport in Scotland, given the greater emphasis of the male competitions. As in the men's game, the women's league structure consists of a Premier League and a Football League with Divisions One and Two, but the second division is split into North, West, East, and South East regions. In the women's SFL, reserve and youth squads may compete as long as they do not compete in the same division as the titular club. The team that wins the Premier League title qualifies for the following season's UEFA Champions League. There are also four cup competitions, the Scottish Cup, Scottish Premier League Cup, Scottish First Division Cup and the Scottish Second Division Cup. Scottish Women's Football are in sole charge of women's football in Scotland. League system In 2016, the Premier League was reduced from 12 to 8 eight teams but expanded to a second level. In 2017, the SWFL (Scottish Women's Football League) 2 changed from 4 to 3 regions. 2019 teams SWPL 1 Team Location Home ground Capacity 2018 position Celtic Glasgow K Park Training Academy, East Kilbride 1,000 3rd Forfar Farmington Forfar Station Park 6,777 5th Glasgow City Glasgow Petershill Park 1,000 1st Motherwell Motherwell Dalziel Park 1,000 1st in SWPL 2 Hibernian Edinburgh Ainslie Park 3,000 2nd Rangers Glasgow New Tinto Park, Govan 2,000 4th Spartans Edinburgh Ainslie Park 3,000 6th Stirling University Stirling Gannochy Sports Centre 1,000 7th SWPL 2 Team Location Home ground Capacity 2018 position Dundee United Dundee Gussie Park 1,000 1st in SWFL 1 North Hamilton Academical Hamilton The Hope CBD Stadium 5,510 8th in SWPL 1 Glasgow Girls Glasgow Petershill Park 1,000 6th Heart of Midlothian Edinburgh Oriam 1,000 3rd Kilmarnock Ladies Kilmarnock Rugby Park 17,889 2nd Hutchison Vale Edinburgh Saughton Enclosure 1,000 5th Partick Thistle Glasgow Petershill Park 1,000 3rd in SWFL 1 South St Johnstone Perth McDiarmid Park 10,696 4th Women's football in Wales Women's football is still a minority sport in Wales but the sport has grown due to the hosting of football games at the 2012 Olympic games. Domestic League The top level of domestic football is the Welsh Premier Women's Football League, below which are several regional leagues. Founded in 2009, the winner of the league each season qualifies for the UEFA Women's Champions League. The FAW Women's Cup is the premier national cup competition which was founded in 1992 and a Premier League Cup was started in 2014. 2019–20 teams Team City Ground Abergavenny Women FC Abergavenny Pen-Y-Pound Stadium, Abergavenny Aberystwyth Town Ladies Aberystwyth Park Avenue (Aberystwyth) Briton Ferry Llansawel Ladies Briton Ferry Old Road, Briton Ferry Cardiff City FC Cardiff Leckwith Athletics Stadium Cardiff Met. Women F.C. Cardiff Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cyncoed Campus Cyncoed Ladies Cardiff Cardiff University Playing Fields Llanrumney Llandudno Ladies F.C. Llandudno Maesdu Park Port Talbot Town Ladies Port Talbot The Genquip Stadium Swansea City Ladies Neath Llandarcy Academy of Sport
  5. Women's football in England Women's football has been played in England for over a century, sharing a common history with the men's game as the country in which the Laws of the Game were codified. Although women's football was originally very popular in the early 20th century, after an almost terminal decline it has only been since the 1990s that the game has seen a large increase in female players, as well as in spectators, culminating in England hosting the Women's European Championships in 2005. League system The national league system in women's football in England is currently operated by The FA, with the WSL at the top. For its first three seasons (2011–2013), the WSL was operated on a licence system with no promotion or relegation, similar to the system used in rugby league's Super League. The WSL replaced the FA Women's Premier League at the top of the system. Its teams also compete for the Continental Cup. The Premier League is divided into six leagues over two divisions: the FA Women's Premier League Northern Division and the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division sits above four Division One leagues. Teams in these two divisions compete in the Premier League Cup. Below the Premier League are eight regional leagues. Below the regional leagues are the county leagues. As in the men's game, some Welsh women's football clubs compete in the English pyramid. The most successful are Cardiff City and the now defunct Barry Town, both of which have played in the Women's Premiership. FA Women's Super League The Football Association Women's Super League (currently known as the Barclays FA Women's Super League for sponsorship reasons or FA WSL for short) is the highest league of women's football in England. Established in 2010, it is run by the Football Association and currently features 12 fully professional teams. An initial eight teams competed in the inaugural 2011 edition, which replaced the FA Women's Premier League as the highest level of women's football in England. Between 2014 and 2018, FA WSL consisted of two divisions–WSL 1 and WSL 2–and brought promotion and relegation system to the league. Since the 2018–19 season, FA WSL 2 is now known as the FA Women's Championship and remains the second division in the English women's football pyramid. WSL has operated as a summer league running from March until October, from its creation until the end of the 2016 season. From autumn 2017, the league operates as a winter league from September to May, with a one-off shortened bridging season, known as the FA WSL Spring Series, held between February and May 2017. The WSL champions and runners-up qualify for the UEFA Women's Champions League the following season. The current FA Women's Super League champions are Arsenal, who won the 2018–19 edition. Clubs The following twelve clubs are competing in the 2019–20 season, with foundation clubs displayed in bold text. Team Location Ground Capacity 2018–19 season Arsenal Borehamwood Meadow Park 4,502 1st Birmingham City Solihull Damson Park 3,050 4th Brighton & Hove Albion Crawley Broadfield Stadium 6,134 9th Bristol City Filton Stoke Gifford Stadium 1,500 6th Chelsea Kingston upon Thames Kingsmeadow 4,850 3rd Everton Southport Walton Hall Park 10th Liverpool Birkenhead Prenton Park 16,587 8th Manchester City Manchester Academy Stadium 7,000 2nd Manchester United Manchester Leigh Sports Village 12,000 WC, 1st Reading High Wycombe Adams Park 9,617 5th Tottenham Hotspur Canons Park The Hive Stadium 6,500 WC, 2nd West Ham United Romford Rush Green Stadium 3,000 7th Northern Ireland women's national football The Northern Ireland Women's Football Association (NIWFA) is the IFA's women's football arm. It runs a Women's Cup, Women's League and the Northern Ireland women's national football team. Records Northern Ireland's Simone Magill holds the world record for the fastest international goal in women's football. Previously, US forward Alex Morgan had held the record at twelve seconds. Magill achieved an eleven-second goal against Georgia at the start of a European Qualifying match on 3 June 2016, after chasing down the ball and then receiving a cross from a teammate. The Irish Football Association awarded her with a special trophy. The goal also marks the fastest ever international goal by any national Northern Irish team - male or female.
  6. The following 23 players were named to the roster for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club 1 GK Stephanie Labbé October 10, 1986 (age 32) 65 0 North Carolina Courage 18 GK Kailen Sheridan July 16, 1995 (age 24) 7 0 Sky Blue FC 21 GK Sabrina D'Angelo May 11, 1993 (age 26) 6 0 Vittsjö 2 DF Allysha Chapman January 25, 1989 (age 30) 68 1 Houston Dash 3 DF Kadeisha Buchanan November 5, 1995 (age 23) 92 4 Lyon 4 DF Shelina Zadorsky August 24, 1992 (age 27) 56 1 Orlando Pride 5 DF Rebecca Quinn August 11, 1995 (age 24) 51 5 Reign FC 8 DF Jayde Riviere January 22, 2001 (age 18) 8 0 Markham SC 10 DF Ashley Lawrence June 11, 1995 (age 24) 80 5 Paris Saint-Germain 20 DF Shannon Woeller January 31, 1990 (age 29) 21 0 Eskilstuna United 22 DF Lindsay Agnew March 31, 1995 (age 24) 11 0 Houston Dash 23 DF Jenna Hellstrom April 2, 1995 (age 24) 4 0 KIF Örebro 7 MF Julia Grosso August 29, 2000 (age 19) 16 0 Texas Longhorns 11 MF Desiree Scott July 31, 1987 (age 32) 147 0 Utah Royals FC 13 MF Sophie Schmidt June 28, 1988 (age 31) 188 19 Houston Dash 14 MF Gabrielle Carle October 12, 1998 (age 20) 12 1 Florida State Seminoles 17 MF Jessie Fleming March 11, 1998 (age 21) 69 9 UCLA Bruins 6 FW Deanne Rose March 3, 1999 (age 20) 41 8 Florida Gators 9 FW Jordyn Huitema May 8, 2001 (age 18) 22 6 Paris Saint-Germain 12 FW Christine Sinclair (captain) June 12, 1983 (age 36) 286 182 Portland Thorns FC 15 FW Nichelle Prince February 19, 1995 (age 24) 53 11 Houston Dash 16 FW Janine Beckie August 20, 1994 (age 25) 60 25 Manchester City 19 FW Adriana Leon October 2, 1992 (age 26) 60 15 West Ham United
  7. The Canada women's national soccer team represents Canada in international women's soccer and is directed by the Canadian Soccer Association. Canada hosted the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and reached the quarter-finals. The team reached international prominence at the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, losing in the third place match to the United States. Canada qualified for its first Olympic women's soccer tournament in 2008, making it to the quarterfinals. Canada are two-time CONCACAF women's champions as well as Olympic bronze medallists from London 2012 where they defeated France 1–0 and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Canadian women's soccer fans are also closely linked to the U-20 team (U-19 prior to 2006), partly due to Canada hosting the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in 2002 and winning silver in front of 47,784 fans at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.
  8. The expansion of the National Women's Soccer League began with the league's sophomore season in 2014, when the league expanded to a ninth team in Houston, and is an ongoing process that currently has seen two expansions and one relocation. The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) was established as the top level of professional women's soccer in the United States in 2013 in the wake of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA, 2001–2003) and Women's Professional Soccer (WPS, 2009–2011). The league has seen two teams fold, one relocate to a distant city, and one relocate to a secondary city within its existing market area. The 2016 champions Western New York Flash sold their NWSL franchise rights to North Carolina FC the following offseason, with the new owners relocating the NWSL side as the North Carolina Courage. During the next offseason, two-time champions FC Kansas City were sold back to the league and folded, followed immediately by the sale of a franchise slot to Real Salt Lake, and the Boston Breakers folded. As of January 2019, the NWSL consists of nine teams with nine separate ownership groups. In 2015, former commissioner Jeff Plush expressed plans to expand to 14 by the year 2020. In early 2019, President (and former Managing Director) Amanda Duffy alluded that the league would rather take its time and focus on adding more quality teams: “We’re really concentrating on the quality of the ownership, the quality of the market, the quality of existing facilities – both the match venue, training facilities — staff, infrastructure and the support in that market for soccer and women’s soccer, in particular. So, the past year, we’ve been really trying to refine that process and refine what it is that we’re looking for and what is the pace that we want to grow as a league? Because we’re a strong league. We were strong at 10, we’re strong at nine. “If we all of sudden next year end up at 16 teams, how does that impact the quality of our competition and is that a pace that is sustainable and that we can still continue to operate with on a broader scale? Our efforts are very focused and specific to certain areas that we want to be strong for any team that’s does come into the league that’s going to help propel us at the top and help to elevate the league." Many interested ownership groups are associated with existing men's soccer teams, often from Major League Soccer. Five current NWSL ownership groups also run men's teams: original franchise the Portland Thorns FC (Portland Timbers), relocated original franchise North Carolina Courage (North Carolina FC), and the first three outright expansion teams the Houston Dash (Houston Dynamo), Orlando Pride (Orlando City SC), and Utah Royals FC (Real Salt Lake). Another NWSL ownership group, that of original franchise Reign FC, includes the principal owner of Seattle Sounders FC. Original franchise FC Kansas City was initially owned by the same group running the Missouri Comets, but was sold to new ownership in January 2017 before folding in November later that year.
  9. The National Women's Soccer League currently has nine clubs. Former commissioner Jeff Plush announced that the league planned to expand to 14 teams by 2020. At the time, Plush suggested that the league was in varying stages of talks with a dozen different potential expansion groups, including some from MLS organizations. In April 2016, MLS (Major League Soccer) commissioner Don Garber stated that half of MLS teams could be running National Women's Soccer League teams in the near future. In May 2017, FC Barcelona announced that it had approved a plan to launch an expansion team in the league as soon as 2018, but those plans have yet to materialize. Team City Stadium Capacity Founded Joined Chicago Red Stars Bridgeview, Illinois SeatGeek Stadium 20,000 2006 2013 Houston Dash Houston, Texas BBVA Stadium 7,000 2013 2014 North Carolina Courage Cary, North Carolina WakeMed Soccer Park 10,000 2009 2013 Orlando Pride Orlando, Florida Exploria Stadium 25,500 2015 2016 Portland Thorns FC Portland, Oregon Providence Park 25,218 2012 2013 Reign FC Tacoma, Washington Cheney Stadium 6,500 2012 2013 Sky Blue FC Piscataway, New Jersey Yurcak Field 5,000 2007 2013 Utah Royals FC Sandy, Utah Rio Tinto Stadium 20,213 2017 2018 Washington Spirit Boyds, Maryland Maryland SoccerPlex 5,200 2012 2013
  10. 18. P.V. Sindhu India, badminton In a country where Saina Nehwal is treated as the badminton queen, it's easy for a younger player to get lost in the shuffle. But World No. 3 P.V. Sindhu, 22, is making sure that doesn't happen. Her medal tally does the talking: silver at the Rio Olympics, silver at the 2017 World Championship, and gold and silver at the 2017 Commonwealth Games. The Indian government awarded her some of the highest sports and civilian awards (Arjuna Award, Padma Shri and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award) in the history of the country. And she's making heads turn off the court, too. As of 2017, she's ranked No. 2 on the list of the highest-paid Indian athletes in endorsements -- only behind Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, who's No. 11 on the World Fame 100 -- earning about $7.3 million, according to the Economic Times . -- Aishwarya Kumar 19. Angelique Kerber Germany, tennis It was a rough 2017 for the then-world No. 1 German, making shocking first-round exits at the French Open and US Open (she dropped out of the top 10 shortly thereafter). But after last season, she hired a new coach, Belgian Wim Fissette, and is turning a corner. She reached the semifinal of the Australian Open, playing her way back toward the top 10. And despite her drop in form, she was still one of the highest-paid tennis players in the world in 2017, with $12.6 million in total earnings and $7.6 million in prize money, according to Forbes. Already an endorser of Adidas and Yonex, Kerber signed with Rolex in 2017 and was named one of the ambassadors for UNICEF. -- Aishwarya Kumar 20. Alina Zagitova Russia, figure skating Talk about an Olympic moment. Sixteen-year-old Russian Alina Zagitova became the youngest figure skater since Tara Lipinski to win when she pipped training partner Evgenia Medvedeva for the gold in Pyeongchang. Her parents had her future in mind when they named her after Alina Kabaeva, the Russian rhythmic gymnast who won gold in Athens. (Side note: Kabaeva is also rumored to be Vladimir Putin's girlfriend.) Zagitova has since met Putin, who awarded her with the Order of Friendship for her accomplishments in Korea. -- Elaine Teng 21. Agnieszka Radwanska Poland, tennis The 29-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska did not have her best season on the court in 2017, suffering from foot injuries for a large part of the year. With a 25-18 record, she finished the season at No. 28, her worst performance since 2006. Despite her lukewarm performance on court (she's had a slow start to 2018 after sustaining a back injury ahead of the French Open), she's been busy off the court. She married her long-term partner and tennis player Dawid Celt in a Polish church last year, with close friends Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber in attendance. -- Aishwarya Kumar 22. Evgenia Medvedeva Russia, figure skating Expectations were so high for the 18-year-old Russian that a silver medal at Pyeongchang could only be seen as a disappointment. Evgenia Medvedeva had been undefeated in international competition for more than two years until she suffered a foot injury just two months before the Olympics. When she lost the gold medal to younger training partner Alina Zagitova, then 15, Medvedeva put on a brave face. But in May, she announced she was splitting with her longtime coach, who also trains Zagitova. Off the ice, Medvedeva is a self-proclaimed anime and K-pop fan: She's skated in a Sailor Moon outfit, tweets about her favorite shows -- including figure skating anime series Yuri on Ice -- and, most important for her, met K-pop band EXO at the closing ceremonies. -- Elaine Teng 23. Aly Raisman USA, gymnastics Aly Raisman is no longer just a six-time Olympic gold medalist and captain of the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams. Since November, when she appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes" to reveal that she was a victim of convicted sexual predator Larry Nassar, Raisman has become the face and voice of gymnasts who suffered abuse at his hands. "This group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time are now a force, and you are nothing," she told Nassar at his sentencing hearing in January. She didn't stop there. In March, Raisman sued the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, claiming both organizations "knew or should have known" about abusive patterns by the disgraced former national team doctor, who's now in prison. "I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing," Raisman said in a statement at the time. "It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed." Raisman is finding her voice, and then some. -- Laura M. Purtell 24. Paige VanZant USA, MMA Ahead of a UFC Fight Night in December 2016, Paige VanZant wasn't discussing her upcoming bout with Michelle Waterson. Instead, the flyweight was primarily asked about her recent appearance on "Dancing with the Stars." "Nobody asked Antonio Brown or Von Miller if they were going back to the NFL [after being on DWTS]," she told ESPN's Brett Okamoto at the time. "Maybe it's a stereotypical thing, because I'm a girl in something I don't necessarily belong in? I'll take it as a compliment. I do belong in Hollywood, but I also belong in the UFC." VanZant is 7-4 after two consecutive losses -- one to Waterson, and the next by unanimous decision to Jessica-Rose Clark in January 2018. (VanZant broke her arm in the first round of that bout ... and still went on to finish the three-round fight.) Outside of the Octagon, VanZant has been promoting her book, "Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life," in which she says she was sexually assaulted when she was 14 years old. -- Laura M. Purtell 25. Jwala Gutta India, badminton Jwala Gutta, 34, has represented India in the international arena for more than 15 years. She's won medals for India at the World and Asian Championships and made India care about doubles badminton. So it only made sense that, in 2017, she decided to take on an added role: She was named to the Badminton Association of India's (BAI) coaches panel that guides women's doubles. She has yet to retire, but she says she's already thinking of ways to improve the status of doubles badminton in India. Outside badminton, Gutta is known for her outspoken remarks -- she's called out the BAI and Indian government for discrimination, and when she is not fighting for her rights, she fights for women's rights and animal rights. -- Aishwarya Kumar goodmorningamerica.com
  11. 11. Victoria Azarenka Belarus, tennis Victoria Azarenka, a new mother flush with motivation and a deeper sense of responsibility, was raring to go as the 2017 grass-court season opened. But a court order arising from a custody battle with her infant son's father stopped the Belarusian in her tracks after just two events (she was 4-2, with two victories at Wimbledon). Unable by law to travel with son Leo, Azarenka chose not to travel at all. The custody case is ongoing. Azarenka, 28, and No. 98 on the World Fame 100, joined Serena Williams to lobby tennis officials to provide greater maternity support in the way of protected rankings and seedings. -- Peter Bodo 12. Sania Mirza India, tennis Sania Mirza has seen the good -- and bad -- sides of fame. When she started out, she was endeavoring to become the first Muslim woman to play tennis professionally in India. This meant dealing with relentless criticism: Her tennis skirt was too small, she had too much makeup on, she was too career-oriented. Despite it all, she succeeded on the court and off. Mirza, rounding out the World Fame 100 at No. 100, was named United Nations Women's Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia and, in 2016, was named in Time's 100 Most Influential People in the world list. Mirza is attracting more attention than ever with the announcement of her pregnancy with husband and former Pakistani cricket captain, Shoaib Malik. -- Aishwarya Kumar 13. Garbine Muguruza Spain, tennis The reigning Wimbledon champ and the No. 3 player in the world is Spain's only representation on espnW's list of the 25 most famous women athletes. Muguruza toppled Venus Williams in last year's Wimbledon final in straight sets, capturing her second Grand Slam, after winning the French Open in 2016. Her success on the court has translated to high-profile appearances and endorsements off the court: She walked the red carpet of the 2018 Oscars wearing Spanish designer Hannibal Laguna, became the face of Grammy Award-winning musician Pharrell Williams' 2017 retro-inspired tennis line for Adidas and, alongside Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber, signed on as one of Rolex's Leading Sportswomen. -- Laura M. Purtell 14. Danica Patrick USA, motorsports The on- and off-track fame of Danica Patrick, the only woman to win an IndyCar Series race, has been well documented over the past decade (see: GoDaddy ads, high-profile relationship with Aaron Rodgers). Now, as her driving career comes to an end -- she'll retire after her last Indy 500 race this month -- Patrick is diving head-first into her lifestyle brand. Her new book, "Pretty Intense," which details her "90-day mind, body and food plan," dropped in December, and she told espnW she'd like to focus on her wine brand (Somnium) and clothing brand (Warrior) and start a cooking show in retirement. -- Laura M. Purtell 15. Ding Ning China, table tennis To anyone not yet familiar with Ding Ning, allow us to introduce you: She was a member of the gold medal-winning table tennis team from China at the 2012 London Olympics, where she also took home silver for the singles event. She won the 2011, 2015 and the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships in singles, as well as the 2011 and 2014 World Cup. (Her medal count gets borderline unwieldy when you start counting her team accolades too.) And according to ESPN's ranking, she's the most famous woman table-tennis player in China, with more than 2 million followers on Weibo, one of China's biggest social media platforms. -- Laura M. Purtell 16. Tessa Virtue Canada, figure skating With partner Scott Moir, Canadian ice dancer Tessa Virtue became figure skating's most decorated Olympian by securing two more gold medals at the Pyeongchang Games. Their steamy free dance to "Moulin Rouge" set the internet ablaze with fevered speculation about whether the two are a couple in real life, a question Ellen DeGeneres tackled head-on in an interview on her show. (Sorry, world, they said no.) Since the Olympics, Virtue and Moir have been enjoying a victory lap around Canada, touring with Stars on Ice, hanging out with Drake at a Raptors game and making plans for the future. Let's all hope it's with each other! -- Elaine Teng 17. Simone Biles USA, gymnastics Simone Biles made her World Fame 100 debut at No. 48 last year -- not a surprise, given the high-flying gymnast had won gold in vault, floor and the all-around at the Rio Olympics just nine months prior. (She also helped Team USA take home gold.) Though she's fallen from the Top 100 in 2018, she has partnered with Target and Always to become a spokesperson for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit that helps young girls gain confidence and life skills through running. She gave herself a year of rest after Rio ("no less, no more," she told espnW's Alyssa Roenigk) and hired a new coach ("change is good"). Now her sights are set on the 2020 Games in Tokyo. -- Laura M. Purtell goodmorningamerica.com
  12. For Michelle Wie, 28, the majority of her life has been spent in the golf limelight. Once deemed a teen phenom and potential PGA Tour contender at the age of 13, Wie is no stranger to fame (she's ranked 97th on the World Fame 100). Six days before her 16th birthday, Wie shed her amateur status and turned pro, instantly becoming the world's highest-paid female golfer. Since joining the LPGA Tour in 2009, the Hawaii native has claimed five LPGA victories, including a major, the 2014 U.S. Women's Open. But Wie struggled after her major victory and failed to cash in a first-place prize until her most recent 2018 HSBC Women's World Championship. Despite her ups-and-downs on tour, one thing has remained constant: her lucrative and longtime sponsor, Nike. Not to mention that Wie and her LPGA friends are giving Fowler and his Spring Break crew a run for the money -- Charlotte Gibson goodmorningamerica.com
  13. There was not a spare seat in the Pyeongchang auditorium when Lindsey Vonn conducted her first news conference of the 2018 Winter Olympics. She walked in, clutching her dog, Lucy. Vonn, World Fame 100's No. 95, was one of the box office stars of this year's Games, and the most-talented female skier of her generation returned a bronze in the downhill, having suffered a treasure trove of breaks, fractures and tears since she won gold in 2010. It was an Olympics driven by pressure to finish on a high, but also emotion after the death of her grandfather three months earlier. Her Games finished appropriately by scattering some of her late grandfather's ashes on a rock near the downhill course near where she put together her bronze-medal run. -- Tom Hamilton goodmorningamerica.com
  14. After making a name for herself at the Rio Olympics through her candid-yet-unorthodox demeanor, Fu Yuanhui had a humble 2017 in the pool, narrowly missing the 50m backstroke title by a one-hundreth of a second and failing to making the 100m final at the FINA World Championships in Budapest. Fu, 22, and 89th on the World Fame 100, became an internet sensation in Rio by speaking her mind on TV interviews and blurting out phrases that raised many eyebrows. Fans loved her for keeping it real, a defiant counter to the age-old stoical image of Chinese athletes in front of the world. -- Kevin Wang goodmorningamerica.com
  15. The face of U.S. women's soccer found success overseas last year, the Women's French Cup and the UEFA Women's Champions League in the 2016-17 season. The 28-year-old forward, who will likely become the seventh American woman (and 17th woman ever) to score 100 goals, closed out 2017 by scoring seven goals in 14 matches for Team USA. While Alex Morgan, who is No. 88 on the World Fame 100, made headlines for her electrifying on-field finishes, she also made waves for getting kicked out of Disney World in October. Morgan's empire is only building, though. In April it was announced she would star in a soccer movie called "Alex and Me," which comes out in June. -- Sean Hurd goodmorningamerica.com
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