NXGN: Maya Le Tissier, Hanna Bennison and where 2021's best women's football wonderkids are now
- Women's football
- Women's Super League
- Cerezo Osaka
- WE League
- H. Bugeja
- Orlando Pride
- Serie A Women
- M. Le Tissier
- Brighton & Hove Albion
- Manchester United
- UEFA Women's Champions League
- M. Fowler
- Manchester City
- D. Dumornay
- Stade de Reims
- Olympique Lyonnais
- Feminine Division 1
- A. Missimo
- United States
- Liga MX Femenil
- A. Gonzalez
- N. Tromp
- Eredivisie Women
- H. Bennison
- UEFA Women's Championship
Since the first women's NXGN list was released in 2020, GOAL has highlighted the best female wonderkids in the world on an annual basis.
Many of the players chosen have gone on to do remarkable things, despite still being so young, while others are still waiting to have that breakthrough moment.
After the NXGN 2023 list was revealed on Tuesday, March 21, let's take a look at where the stars of 2021 are today:
Every NXGN list
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#10 Maika Hamano | Cerezo Osaka Sakai
2021: After spending several years with Cerezo Osaka Sakai, Hamano changed clubs in 2021 when she joined INAC Kobe Leonessa in the newly-founded WE League. She started with a bang, too, scoring twice on her debut in the league.
2022: Hamano was part of the Japan team that reached the final of the U20 Women's World Cup in Costa Rica. She was named the tournament's best player, picking up the Golden Ball award, and also claimed the Silver Boot after scoring four goals in six games. In October, she made her senior international debut as Japan beat Nigeria.
2023: In the January transfer window, Hamano signed for Chelsea on a contract until the summer of 2027 and, simultaneously, joined Swedish club Hammarby on loan for the year.
#9 Juliet Nalukenge | Kawempe Muslim
2021: After impressing in her home country, Nalukenge earned a move abroad when she joined Apollon Limassol on a two-year contract. She was on the bench for the club in the Champions League before signing on loan at AMOK Chrysomolia.
2022: Nalukenge returned to her parent club and was among the goals when the 2022-23 season began, but an injury in December halted her progress. She had a successful surgery before Christmas.
2023: The Uganda star is now working her way back from that setback and will hope to be on the pitch again soon.
#8 Haley Bugeja | Sassuolo
2021: Bugeja ended her first senior campaign with 12 goals in Serie A for Sassuolo. She was her team's top scorer as they finished third, just one point off the Champions League places, and was named Serie A's Young Player of the season.
2022: Injuries limited Bugeja's impact in her second season at Sassuolo, but she still shone when fit, scoring three goals despite just seven starts. In the summer, it was announced that the young forward had signed for the Orlando Pride in the NWSL. The Malta international made her debut for the club in September, one of three appearances in the 2022 season.
2023: It's anticipated that Bugeja will see significantly more minutes during her second season in the U.S., with the Pride having been keen to allow her to settle in her first campaign.
#7 Maya Le Tissier | Brighton
2021: Le Tissier played every single minute of Women’s Super League action for Brighton across 2021, underlining her status as a key player for the team. In fact, she missed only two minutes in total over both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.
2022: The defender took the next step in her career when she ended her four-year stay with the Seagulls and signed for Manchester United, for a fee, in the summer window. She quickly became as important a player for her new club, with her form so good it was rewarded with a senior England debut in November.
2023: Only months after that debut, Le Tissier is well in contention for a place in the Lionesses’ Women’s World Cup squad, with her hoping to maintain her good form in order to earn a ticket to Australia and New Zealand.
#6 Mary Fowler | Montpellier
2021: In her second season with Montpellier, Mary Fowler became an integral part of the team, starting 15 of her 22 league appearances, but was also a key cog in the senior Australia team. At the Olympics, pushed back to 2021, she was on the scoresheet in the Matildas’ thrilling 4-3 extra time win over Great Britain.
2022: While she continued to be an important figure for her country, 2022 was the year that Fowler bid farewell to France after two and a half years, signing for Manchester City in the summer transfer window. She also played in Australia’s disappointing Asian Cup campaign, scoring twice in four games.
2023: Fowler has struggled to nail down a starting spot at City since her move to England but she’s impressed when given the chance. There’s no denying she remains Australia’s most exciting young talent and she’ll have a chance to star in a home World Cup in the summer.
#5 Melchie Dumornay | AS Tigresses
2021: After much anticipation, Dumornay finally got her long-anticipated move abroad when she chose to join French club Reims after turning 18. The Haitian star would provide two assists on her debut and was involved in three goals on her first start.
2022: Dumornay kicked off 2022 by winning that year’s NXGN award. In the summer, she represented Haiti at the CONCACAF Championship, making the best XI and being named the tournament’s best young player.
2023: In the January window, Dumornay signed for eight-time European champions Lyon – her dream move. Things got even better a month later when the youngster scored twice against Chile in a play-off, firing Haiti to its first ever Women's World Cup.
#4 Alexis Missimo | University of Texas
2021: With nine goals and 14 assists in 22 matches, Missimo had quite a first year for the Texas Longhorns. Her efforts in the 2021 fall season saw her top the Big 12 Conference in assists while also tying a school single-season record.
2022: After tying that assist record in 2021, Missimo broke it in 2022 with 15, despite missing six games through injury. For her country, the attack-minded midfielder starred as the United States won the U20 CONCACAF Women's Championship, scoring three goals and sealing a place in the tournament's Best XI. She opted not to play in the U20 Women’s World Cup in order to take some time for herself.
2023: What Missimo does next will be interesting. She has two years of college eligibility remaining but has opportunities to go pro early, should she choose that route instead.
#3 Alison Gonzalez | Atlas
2021: In what would be her final year with Atlas, Alison Gonzalez scored 13 goals in the Apertura 2021, after netting 18 in the Clausura. She ended her time with the club with 64 goals to her name from 86 appearances, despite leaving before her 20th birthday. Gonzalez also made her senior international debut for Mexico in early 2021 and would end the year with three goals to her name for her country.
2022: The forward’s next chapter would see her sign for Club America. She missed several months with a knee injury sustained in her final match for Atlas, but hit the ground running upon her return, with nine goals in the Apertura 2022.
2023: After losing the final of Apertura 2022, Gonzalez and Club America will hope to go one better in the Clausura 2023. The young goalscorer will also hope to show form that could see her selected for Mexico’s Women's World Cup squad.
#2 Nikita Tromp | Ajax
2021: After a promising season with PEC Zwolle, Nikita Tromp returned to Ajax ahead of the 2020-21 season and would make a good impression with the club over the course of 2021. She ended her first season back in Amsterdam with nine goals and was part of the team that won the Eredivisie Cup.
2022: Tromp ended the 2021-22 season having seen fewer minutes, but she still scored seven goals for Ajax in the league from nine starts. The Netherlands youth international also scored twice in the KNVB Beker, helping her club go on to win the trophy.
2023: The forward is still trying to nail down a place in Ajax's XI on a regular basis, but remains a player who can certainly make an impact by contributing goals off the bench if not from the start.
#1 Hanna Bennison | Rosengard
2021: After recovering from injuries suffered in 2020, Bennison went to the Olympics with Sweden in 2021, picking up a silver medal. She would sign a four-year deal with Everton shortly afterwards, with the Toffees paying a club-record fee for her signature.
2022: Bennison was included in Sweden's squad for Euro 2022, making six appearances for her country as they reached the semi-finals. She also made good progress in securing a regular spot in Everton's line up, too.
2023: The midfielder starts more often than not now in England and her next task is to make that the case for her country, with whom she is likely to go to a World Cup with this summer.