At 18-years-old, Hanna Bennison has been announced as the female winner of Goal’s 2021 NXGN Award.
The NXGN Awards rank the best young footballers in the world, with separate lists compiled for male and female players by Goal’s global network of journalists. To be eligible, players must be born on or after January 1st 2002.
Sweden’s Bennison has been named the recipient of the women’s accolade. She first made her debut for Rosengard aged 15 – staking her claim in the team as a midfielder – before playing a starring role as the side won the 2019 Damallsvenskan title.
Bennison scored her first Champions League goal in December during a match against Lanchkhuti. This was despite an injury-plagued 2020, during which she only made five league starts.
“It feels so good,” Bennison told Goal. “It was nothing that I had expected so I’m very happy and grateful.”
Who completed the top three?
Dutch forward Nikita Tromp has been ranked second in the NXGN Awards. The 18-year-old currently plies her trade for Ajax. She first made her mark at the 2019 European Women’s Under-17 Championship, where she scored a record-breaking seven goals. The previous record-holder was none other than compatriot and star striker Vivianne Miedema.
Alison González, the 19-year-old striker who plays for Mexican side Atlas, is in third. Despite her young age, González has already scored more than 50 goals in the Liga MX Femenil. After helping Mexico reach finals at the 2018 Under-17 World Cup and the 2020 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, she earned her first senior international cap in February.
Best of the rest
Alexis Missimo looks set to become the next American star. She is currently playing for the University of Texas while she completes her studies, but the midfielder has attracted interest from both Manchester City and Arsenal. The 18-year-old is fourth in the NXGN Awards.
Haitian midfielder Melchie Dumornay takes fifth place in the NXGN Awards for the second successive year. She has impressed both for club AS Tigresses and country, scoring 14 times at the 2020 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
In sixth is Mary Fowler, who was part of the Australian team at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup at just 16-years-old. She returned to France last year after signing for Le Havre.
Maya Le Tissier has taken seventh place for her impressive performances for Brighton in the Women’s Super League. The 18-year-old defender has started every game for the Seagulls this season.
Eighth place has gone to 16-year-old Haley Bugeja, who has made a splash in Serie A since signing for Sassuolo last year. She has also inspired on the international stage, hitting a hat-trick for Malta in a UEFA Women’s Euro qualifier in November.
Despite being just 17-years-old, Juliet Nalukenge was named Uganda Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2019. She has been given ninth in the NXGN Awards.
Rounding off the top ten is 16-year-old Maika Hamano, who racked up six goals in 18 appearances last season for Japanese team Cerezo Osaka Sakai.