With the World Cup all set to kick off many Canadians will be getting their first real taste of the top level of Women's soccer. The average fan tuning in to games this summer may very well be familiar with some of the biggest names in the tournament like Marta, Christine Sinclair, Abby Wambach, and Alex Morgan but there will be plenty of stars on display in Canada this summer that the casual fan might not be aware of.
We look at ten players who have the chance to become household names this summer with strong performances in the World Cup. For our list we have decided to leave out players from Canada and the United States since those two squads are already quite familiar to many of our readers and we instead focus on the star players from less known countries.
Vivianne Miedema - Forward - The Netherlands
At just 18-years-old Miedema has already made quite the name for herself in WoSo circles as one of the top goal scorers in Europe. After lighting things up for SC Heerenveen in 2013/14 with an impressive 39 goals she made the move to Bayern Munich where she continued to find the back of the net on a regular basis. Her scoring carried over to the international stage as well where she won the golden boot at the UEFA U-19 Championships.
She made her debut for the senior team in 2013 and has been a regular in the lineup ever since having already earned over 20 caps for her country. Her three goals against Italy helped to secure the Dutch their place in the World Cup this summer and there is no reason to expect that she won't be able to find the back of the net in Canada this summer.
The days of players tallying goal totals like those of Sinclair, Wambach, and Mia Hamm may be over now but there is a very good chance that by the time Miedema finishes her career she has established herself as one of the all time great finishers. At just 18 she is one to watch for the future but if she can get service this summer in Canada the future may arrive early on the biggest stage.
Ji So-Yun - Midfielder - South Korea
If South Korea are going to make any noise in this event it will have a lot to do with the performance of their star midfielder. Ji So-Yun is just 24-years-old and has already established her self as the best female player that South Korea has ever produced and has put herself in the conversation for the top player in Asia. The Chelsea midfielder was named Asian Woman Footballer of the Year in 2013 and was named the PFA Women's Player of the Year in 2015. Her resume is already a very impressive one.
Ji is one player who has the makings of a future World Player of the Year if she can continue to round out the areas of her game that need some improvement. For now though she will be pulling all the strings for a South Korea team that is on the rise. She will probably play the role of playmaker and goal scorer for South Korea this month and will be one of the most dynamic midfielders in the event.
Dzsenifer Marozsan - Midfielder - Germany
Another player in her early 20's that is set to take over on the biggest stage is Germany's 23-year-old playmaker, Dzsenifer Marozsan. The dynamic player just helped FFC Frankfurt claim the UEFA Women's Champions League and will be looking to add another trophy to her already impressive collection with Germany this summer. She has stared at the U-17 and U-20 World Cup but having missed out on the 2011 World Cup through injury this is her first chance to grab the spotlight at the senior level.
With Germany missing a few key players from their squad for the World Cup they will need Marozsan to be a dominant force in the midfield. The good news is that their will not be much pressure on her to carry the scoring load so she should be able to focus on being a playmaker first and there are not many in the World that are better than her in that role.
Veronica Boquete - Midfielder - Spain
Another member of that FFC Frankfurt squad that won the UEFA Women's Champions League this year, Boquete is a star in the midfield. She has been a star in three different US based leagues including an impressive run with the Portland Thorns in 2014 but now she has the chance to shine on a much larger stage.
With Spain making their debut in the World Cup they are not expected to have much of an impact on the tournament but it should be another chance for Boquete to show that she is one of the best players in the World. Look for her to play off of one of Spain's strikers and occasionally drop a deeper to get the ball in dangerous spaces as she is capable of being a scoring threat from just about anywhere in the attacking third.
Samantha Kerr - Forward - Australia
The Australian team is once again a very young one but they have another cycle of experience under their belt and could start to make some noise at the World Cup. At just 21, Kerr is set to feature in her second World Cup for Australia and this time around she is hoping to have a much larger impact than she did as a teenager in 2011.
She had made her way back from injury in time to get involved in a few of Australia's final tuneups for the World Cup and should be ready to hit the ground running when the Matildas kickoff their World Cup campaign. She has the pace to cause defenders all kinds of problems but she combines that with plenty of other skills that should she her develop in to a very complete forward.
Kerr is still developing as a player but in her second World Cup she should be primed to have a much larger impact. If this young Australia team is going to make it out of a very tough group they are going to need Kerr to be at her very best both scoring goals and setting up her teammates.
Lianne Sanderson - Forward- England
Back in the fold for England, the 28-year-old Sanderson has proven to be one of the team's most important players. With Kelly Smith out of the picture the Lionesses had a large void to fill in their attack and Sanderson is doing just that by forming a solid partnership in attack with Eniola Aluko.
England are a top 10 team but remain on the outside looking in when it comes to the real elite of Women's soccer. If they are going to pull off an upset or two in this event and break in to that elite group it is almost certainly going to have something to do with Sanderson and her dynamic play in the attack.
When Sanderson takes to the field in Canada she should stand out for a lot more than her blonde mohawk.
Aya Miyama - Midfielder - Japan
Those who watched the final game of the 2011 World Cup will no doubt already be familiar with Miyama and her ability to change a game. The two time Asian Player of the Year scored against the United States in that final and converted her penalty kick of help Japan lift the World Cup trophy. It was a victory that the midfielder did not celebrate out of respect for her opponents.
Now 30-years-old Miyama has already accomplished just about everything possible in her career but that is not stopping her from being a crucial part of Japan's chances of defending their World Cup title. Her main threat may just come from set pieces as she remains one of the most dangerous free kick takers in the game. Give her a good look at your own peril.
Lara Dickenmann - Defender/Midfielder - Switzerland
With the Swiss making their World Cup debut they have a few players who could be set to make a name for themselves in this tournament. The most likely candidate for that staring role is Lara Dickenmann. The 29-year-old is set to cause opponents all kinds of problems as she bombs up and down the wing from either the midfield or the outside of the defence.
In her club career she has won just about ever major prize during her time with Lyon but now she is looking to find greater success with Switzerland. She is one of a number of scoring threats that the Swiss boast in their squad but she may be the most dangerous despite not playing as a forward. Her 10 goals during qualifying for this World Cup are a big part of why the Swiss are getting the chance to make their World Cup debut. There is no reason to expect that he scoring exploits won't carry over to an even bigger stage.
Asisat Oshoala - Forward - Nigeria
Oshoala may be overshadowed by some of the bigger names that highlight Group D's top two teams but should steal some of the spotlight away from the stars of the United States and Sweden. The 20-year-old forward has already starred on Canadian soil as she was the top player at the U-20 World Cup last summer. Now she is expected to move on to even bigger and better things this summer as many expect Oshoala to go on to become the top female player to ever come out of Africa.
Oshoala is set for big things in 2015 starting with the World Cup this summer and carrying over to her move to Liverpool Ladies. She is already the reigning African Player of the Year but is just getting warmed up. If Nigeria are going to test Sweden or the United States in this very tough group they are going to need a star performance from Oshoala. It is probably a safe bet that she will find the back of the net a couple of times this summer.
Yoreli Rincon - Midfielder - Colombia
Another young star that is set to grab her share of the spotlight on the biggest stage women's soccer has to offer is Colombia's midfield dynamo Rincon. The 21-year-old midfielder is one of the most exciting young talents to come out of South America since Marta but has not really reached the heights expected of her thus far in her career.
Rincon burst on to the scene with a wonder-goal at the 2010 U20 World Cup but has since struggled to really live up to the hype that surrounded her. She helped Colombia qualify for their first World Cup in 2011 but struggled in the big games. It was even worse at the Olympics where she was left on the bench by her coach as Colombia lost all three games.
She has bounced back a bit recently though by scoring three goals in the Copa American Femenina including a crucial goal to help Colombia qualify for this summer's World Cup earning Plyaer of the Tournament along the way. She has shown glimpses of the player that drew all that hype five years ago but this summer will be her chance to show observers just how good she can be. She will need to be every bit as good as advertised and then some for Colombia to make it beyond a tough group though.