Oberdorf, Huitema & 15 teenage stars to watch out for in Europe in 2019-20

Oberdorf James Huitema split
After the summer's World Cup highlighted the incredible quality in the women's game right now, Goal picks out 15 teenagers to keep an eye on in Europe

  1. Lauren James | Manchester United

    Lauren James | Manchester United

    When Manchester United stormed to promotion last season, Lauren James, the youngest player in their squad, blew the league away.

    Scorer of 14 goals – second only to team-mate Jess Sigsworth – the 17-year-old earned her first England U19 caps as a result, and a place in their Euros squad after scoring off the bench against China.

    The attack-minded midfielder, sister of Chelsea's Reece James, has an eye for a pass and will look to show the FA Women’s Super League what she can do this year, having left Arsenal in 2018 to get her opportunity to shine.

  2. Jacynta Galabadaarachchi | West Ham United

    Jacynta Galabadaarachchi | West Ham United

    Jacynta Galabadaarachchi has promised to have her breakthrough season for several years now. It didn't happen at Melbourne City, nor Perth Glory, and now West Ham United are next in the line of clubs who believe they can get the best out of the talented 18-year-old.

    A new experience in England, where the forward had trials with both Manchester United, Manchester City and Everton as a child, could be exactly what she needs, particularly with the wealth of experience surrounding her.

    Australia are likely to be heading to the Olympics next summer and Galabadaarachchi will be keen to give herself an outside chance of joining them in Tokyo.

  3. Maelle Lakrar | Montpellier

    Maelle Lakrar | Montpellier

    Few players manage to establish themselves as a first-team regular by 17 but, after making her debut a year earlier, that’s exactly what Maelle Lakrar did with Marseille.

    Her performances in their 2017-18 season, which ended in relegation, weren’t in vain either as they secured her a move to Montpellier – often the best of the rest in Division 1 after Lyon and PSG.

    Now 19 years old, she started 14 games for the club last season but that number is likely to increase this year for the commanding centre-back, who scored twice this summer and was named in the Team of the Tournament as France won the U19 Euros.

  4. Sophia Kleinherne | Frankfurt

    Sophia Kleinherne | Frankfurt

    It’s been some 2019 so far for Sophia Kleinherne, and it only promises to get better.

    The 19-year-old earned her first senior call-up for Germany when she was included in January’s winter training camp, then captained the U19s to the final of the Euros this summer after ending the season with a flurry of starts for Frankfurt.

    With Marith Priessen, who played every Frauen-Bundesliga minute for Frankfurt last season, having joined Paris, there is an opening at centre-back and Kleinherne is ready to build on her 13 starts last year and make it her own.

  5. Nicole Anyomi | Essen

    Nicole Anyomi | Essen

    Nicole Anyomi has been a fringe player at Essen for a few years now, scoring six goals in her 17 starts in the Frauen-Bundesliga.

    But after turning 19 in February, and bagging three goals and two assists at this summer’s U19 Euros to land herself a place in the Team of the Tournament, it’s time for the forward to fully establish herself as a talent in senior football.

    She certainly knows where the back of the net is, with 17 goals in 20 games for Germany’s U17s only adding to her impressive CV. It's important now that Essen give her the chances to bolster that record.

  6. Ebony Salmon | Bristol City

    Ebony Salmon | Bristol City

    A consistent performer at FA Women’s Championship level, Ebony Salmon will get her first crack at top-flight football this season after impressive stints at both Aston Villa and Sheffield United.

    The pacey striker joined Manchester United last summer, her talent evident and attractive to Casey Stoney, but a lack of opportunities prompted her to head to South Yorkshire on loan, where she would score seven goals in nine games.

    Now at Bristol City, who have an unrivalled reputation for nurturing young talent, the former England U17 captain and current U19 international is ready to shine in the FAWSL.

  7. Lena Oberdorf | Essen

    Lena Oberdorf | Essen

    At 17, Lena Oberdorf was one of the youngest players at this summer’s Women’s World Cup and became Germany’s youngest ever player when she played against China.

    The midfielder, who can play both centrally and out wide, is physically ready for senior football and showed that with nine goals from just 13 Frauen-Bundesliga starts for Essen last season.

    Oberdorf is expected to be an ever-present for them this season, with a big move sure to come sooner rather than later for the player who was awarded the silver Fritz Walter Medal earlier this month.

  8. Jordyn Huitema | PSG

    Jordyn Huitema | PSG

    Snubbing college for professional football as a female is a very risky decision – but few players have the talent that Jordyn Huitema does.

    The 18-year-old striker has already won 22 caps for Canada, scoring six times despite limited starts, after racking up 22 goals in 35 youth appearances – winning the Golden Boot at the 2018 CONCACAF U20 Championship.

    Only time will tell what playing time she will get this season after joining French giants PSG, but Huitema is without a doubt one of the hottest talents on the continent as we approach the new season.

  9. Hannah Hampton | Birmingham City

    Hannah Hampton | Birmingham City

    Hannah Hampton was only 16 years old when she was first listed on an FAWSL team sheet, and it was five days before her 17th birthday that she made her debut in the competition for Birmingham.

    The England U19 international deputised for Ann-Katrin Berger as she recovered from illness and when the German shot-stopper left for Chelsea in January, she was trusted to step up and become the Blues’ first choice.

    After playing all three of England’s games at this summer’s U19 Euros, Hampton should get a full season in between the sticks this time around – not bad for an 18-year-old who started out as a striker.

  10. Emmy Jezequel | Guingamp

    Emmy Jezequel | Guingamp

    Having broken into Guingamp’s first team as a defensive midfielder, Emmy Jezequel could make her mark in her natural position of centre-back this season following the departures of defensive duo Charlotte Lorgere and Julie Debever.

    The 18-year-old made 14 league appearances in France last year, starting nine times as she got her first taste of senior football.

    Despite her inexperience at this level, she never looked out of place and asserted herself physically in a battling position to impress for the mid-table outfit.

    Jezequel’s versality combined with her form last season and Guingamp’s losses over the summer all point to a breakthrough year for the France youth international.

  11. Lena Uebach | Bayer Leverkusen

    Lena Uebach | Bayer Leverkusen

    After being a star for Bayer Leverkusen in their 2017-18 promotion season, scoring nine goals in 20 games, Lena Uebach experienced “a new situation” with the club last year as they fought off relegation.

    “Before that, I always played for the top spots in the respective leagues,” she told Siegener Zeitung. “Because of [that], the past season has brought me further on a personal level.”

    The 19-year-old added more tournament experience to that this summer, going to the U19 Euros with Germany and scoring once as they finished runners-up.

    Uebach’s opportunities will increase this season too, with the departures of Anne Hopfengartner, Ana Cristiane Leite and Madeline Gier likely to mean the forward starts more league games than last year’s 11.

  12. Shekiera Martinez | FFC Frankfurt

    Shekiera Martinez | FFC Frankfurt

    Still just 17, Shekiera Martinez may not get a great deal of opportunities with Frankfurt this year, but that doesn’t mean she won’t take those she does get.

    The forward scored six league goals last season despite seeing just 307 minutes of action for Frankfurt and starting just one game – averaging a goal every 51 minutes.

    Martinez continued that form into the summer, going to the U19 Euros with Germany and scoring three times in 196 minutes while picking up a runners-up medal.

    The youngster knows where the net is and it seems like nothing will stop her finding it.

  13. Lara Schmidt | Turbine Potsdam

    Lara Schmidt | Turbine Potsdam

    Lara Schmidt’s emergence was one of few positives USV Jena could take from their relegation from the Frauen-Bundesliga in 2018, with the then 17-year-old starting 11 games in defence.

    Last season, she played 25 of Jena’s 26 games as they won promotion back to the top flight and then played seven games for Germany at this year’s U19 Euros, earning herself a move to Turbine Potsdam.

    Now 19, Schmidt is a versatile footballer, able to show her strength and maturity as either a centre-back or a right-back, and she is also a goal threat – with two league goals last year and one for her country over the summer.

  14. Sofia Cantore | Verona

    Sofia Cantore | Verona

    Sofia Cantore was going to be one of the most exciting talents to watch in Europe last season, after scoring four league goals as an 18-year-old despite being limited to just five starts for Juventus in 2017-18.

    However, a knee injury meant she saw just 19 minutes of Serie A action last term, with her recovery in Turin frustratingly long.

    This season, the 19-year-old will head to Verona on loan, hoping to play a more prominent role than she would at Juve, allowing her to get back to full fitness and scoring form.

    With 13 goals in 19 appearances across the U17 and U19 Euros for Italy, Cantore’s eye for goal is evident and hopefully she will show that once again.

  15. Claudia Pina | Barcelona

    Claudia Pina | Barcelona

    After finishing second to Atletico Madrid again last year, Barcelona have recruited several attacking options over the summer – but one of their most exciting talents has been in their ranks for a while.

    Claudia Pina became the youngest player to ever represent a senior Barca debut when she debuted as 16 years and five months in January 2018, and she is living up to the hype.

    The 18-year-old, whose brings technical brilliance to the table from her futsal roots, netted seven times in seven games as part of Spain’s U19 Euros campaign this year, taking her national team total to 37 from 38 competitive games at youth level.