Women’s soccer great Birgit Prinz won three FIFA Player of the Year Awards and led Germany to two World Cup championships in her storied career.
Born on October 25, 1977, in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany, Birgit Prinz starred for the women's national soccer team as a teenager. She led Germany to two World Cup titles and five European Championships, and earned three FIFA Player of the Year Awards while playing for FFC Frankfurt. Following her official retirement in 2012, she became a sports psychologist for the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim club.
Birgit Prinz was born on October 25, 1977, in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany. An active athlete in many sports, she displayed exceptional talent in soccer and joined the youth club of SV Dörnigheim, where her father was a coach. After a stint with FC Hochstadt, she made her senior league debut with FSV Frankfurt in 1992.
Prinz blasted a game-winning goal vs. Canada in her first international appearance in 1994, marking her arrival in the sport's spotlight. Combining unusual speed with her broad 5'10" frame, the powerful striker overwhelmed the defenders assigned to mark her. She scored the winning goal again for Germany in the 1995 UEFA European Championship, and celebrated a second European victory two years later. Prinz also thrived at the club level, twice leading the league in scoring while helping FSV Frankfurt to a pair of league crowns and German Cup victories.
The move to FFC Frankfurt in 1998 brought more success for Prinz, who secured another scoring title and helped her side claim four German Cups, three league crowns and a European Championship over a four-year span. That led to a brief but triumphant turn across the Atlantic Ocean with the Carolina Courage, who won the 2002 Women's United Soccer Association Championship behind their prized German import.
Prinz cemented her standing as the premier women's player after returning to Germany to guide FFC Frankfurt to four more league titles and another four German Cups. She also came through on soccer's biggest stage, winning the Golden Ball Award for Germany's victory in the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, and earning Silver Ball honors after the successful title defense four years later. The peerless athlete won three straight FIFA Player of the Year awards beginning in 2003, and finished runner-up on another four occasions.
Prinz's remarkable abilities were noticeably in decline during the 2011 World Cup, resulting in her removal from the starting lineup. She announced her retirement that August, and made one more appearance for FFC Frankfurt against the German national team in March 2012. Prinz finished with 128 goals over 214 appearances for Germany, both national team records, and her 14 goals in World Cup play were tied for most all-time.
Off the Pitch
After earning a degree in psychology from Goethe University Frankfurt in 2010, Prinz channeled that training into a sports psychologist role for the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim club for her post-playing career. The soccer great also serves as a part-time motivational speaker.