FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Germany 2010

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Germany 2010

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2010

Women's footballers - Germany's greatest exports

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For Doris Fitschen, there were two clear highlights in her footballing career: victory at the UEFA Women's Championship on home soil and her 2001 move to join the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA).

As a deep-lying playmaker for the Philadelphia Charge, the 144-time German international scored the first goal in the newly created league from the penalty spot against San Diego Spirit. Fitschen went on to be named best defensive player of the year in her first season. "Playing in the USA was a great experience," she said at the time, clearly thriving on playing in front of an average 8,000 fans instead of the 200 she was used to in the women's Bundesliga.

And even before they won the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003, German women were one of the country's greatest footballing exports. Bettina Wiegmann and Maren Meinert also made the move across the Atlantic in 2001, leaving Brauweiler-Pulheim to join the Boston Breakers. The two girls even shared an apartment in their adopted homeland, while midfield dynamo Meinert went on to be voted the WUSA's Most Valuable Player in 2003.

Superstar forward Birgit Prinz also went to America, the three-time FIFA Women's World Player of the Year enjoying a short stint with the Carolina Courage. She arrived at the beginning of 2002 and ended the season with a US championship winners' medal. In her second season the Courage failed to make the play-offs, but her former Frankfurt team-mates Steffi Jones and Sandra Minnert had more success, winning the title with Washington Freedom.

One of the last Bundesliga players to cross the pond was forward Conny Pohlers, who left Turbine Potsdam in 2003 to join Atlanta. But despite the ever increasing popularity of women's football in the States, a shortage of sponsorship money put the WUSA under heavy financial strain, and the league shut down after USA 2003. But Pohlers, who is currently with Frankfurt, would not rule out a return: "I'd love to go back to the USA when they start up another professional league."

More recently, Sweden has been the destination of choice for Germany's female players. The Swedish league has long been one of the world's top competitions, with Umea IK winning the UEFA Cup in 2003 and 2004, while German internationals Bianca Rech, Anja Mittag and Ariane Hingst all playing there. The Scandinavian leagues take place at a different time of year to most other European nations, enabling many players to also appear in the Bundesliga. The country was also home to former Turbine Potsdam keeper Nadine Angerer. The gifted custodian, who saved a crucial penalty from player of the tournament Marta in the Final of the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007, joined Djurgarden Damfotboll in January 2008. Angerer and Hingst returned to Germany in December 2008 to play for 1. FFC Frankfurt.

Duisburg goalkeeper Lena Hohlfeld meanwhile took a different direction to her former rival for the Turbine Potsdam No1 jersey, the 26-year-old becoming the first German player in the Polish league. Very much second-choice behind Angerer at Turbine, Hohlfeld decided to move to KS AZS Breslau in 2004. Once there, she quickly established herself as the league's best keeper before returning to the Bundesliga two years later.

And one of the first German footballers ever to play abroad was Monika Staab. In the late 1970s and early 1980s she plied her trade for the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Paris St. Germain and Southampton before returning home and taking over the coaching reins at Frankfurt.