You already know that soccer cards are awesome. And now, women’s soccer cards are more visible than ever on eBay and other selling platforms. With Target and other retailers selling fewer cards, one release you are still likely to find are the new National Women’s Soccer League cards. So you may be asking yourself, are women’s soccer cards worth buying?
The United States women’s national soccer team has been the best in the world for decades now. They have won the World Cup 4 times in eight appearances. That is an incredible 50% victory rate. By way of comparison, the most successful men’s team is Brazil, and they have less than a 25% rate at the World Cup.
By any metric, they are far better than the men’s team. Yet their cards fetch far less on the market.
Mia Hamm is the GOAT of women’s soccer. She has 158 goals for the national team and won two World Cups and two Olympic gold medals.
Let’s compare her to legend Diego Armando Maradonna. The Argentinean has 34 goals for his country and one World Cup victory in 1986. A fabulous career. But not a patch on Hamm’s achievements. Also, while Diego was in and out of rehab, Mia was founding a non-profit to help families in need of bone marrow or cord blood transplants.
Here is the hobby market verdict on the two players:
Mia Hamm Rookie Card – $1,500
Diego Maradona Rookie Card – $39,500
This echoes the long-standing argument over pay for women’s soccer players. The U.S. women’s national team players and the U.S. Soccer Federation have gone to court over this issue, and it is still in dispute.
But of course, you didn’t come to Cardlines to get a lecture in gender studies. Instead, you wonder if this will change and whether or not women’s soccer cards are a good investment.
The short answer is yes. The market for the cards is increasing. In the last two years, eBay has reported a rise of 172% in women’s soccer cards.
Alex Morgan is a phenomenal player. She was picked first in the 2011 draft before helping the United States to two World Cup victories (2015 and 2019). She has scored 110 goals in 178 appearances for US soccer and won the UEFA Champions League with Lyon.
Aside from being one of the best players in the world, Alex is a media personality. She is charismatic and very presentable. The collector world has gravitated towards her brand, and she is leading a revolution.
This rare combination of traits has seen her card sales grow by 11,350% since 2019. And some of her auto and game-worn memorabilia cards go for 4 to 5 thousand dollars.
As Morgan’s cards are gaining ground, investors and entrepreneurs notice an opportunity in the neglected sport. The top women’s soccer league in the United States, the National Women’s Soccer League, was opened in 2012. Although not yet the best league globally, it does tend to produce some of the best players.
Yet amazingly, it did not enjoy a card set until 2020. The head of Parkside Collectibles says he was inspired to start a line of NWSL cards by a simple exchange with his daughter at Target. He bought some baseball cards (these were simpler times) when his soccer-playing daughter asked if they made cards for her sport. Of course, they didn’t, and she rightfully thought that was dumb.
The result was the first set of NWSL cards. The initial print of 3,000 sets sold out within a couple of days. The demand is there, and there are very few products to satiate it.
The truth is, releases for women’s soccer are few and far between. That sounds like bad news for collectors. However, keep in mind that scarcity drives up the price. Therefore, some of these cards could be worth quite a bit. As you will see, some of the older women’s soccer cards come from unlikely sources and are now quite sought after.
The first is an annual release portraying the stars of the top professional US women’s soccer league. The set includes 200 cards and includes Signature Series and Promising Prospects inserts.
The cards come in packs of 25 and retail for $9.99. They can be found at Target and Walmart. Each pack contains 20 base cards, 2 parallels, and 3 inserts. You can see the checklist here.
The Signature Series has the best resale value. Here are the top sales on eBay:
|Bella Bixby Signature Series||$86|
|Abby Smith Signature Series||$65|
|Jordyn Listro Signature Series||$51|
|Steph Cox Signature Series||$41|
|Jasmyne Spencer Signature Series||$41|
Panini’s equivalent of Topps Now has been significantly less popular. However, Panini has more soccer licenses and therefore is arguably better for that sport.
The company has also tried to balance its US Soccer releases between male and female players. But, of course, its highest resale value releases have been some of the Alex Morgan’s.
|Card||eBay Sale Price|
|2019 Alex Morgan Auto Card #9 #/15||$500-689|
|2019 Alex Morgan #/10 Green||$165|
|2021 Carly Lloyd 300th Cap Auto||$150|
|2019 Alex Morgan Megan Rapinoe #/10||$115|
In the COVID-19 card boom, all sorts of obscure releases received a boost in sales. One of those was the Sports Illustrated for Kids release.
In the past, each issue of the children’s magazine included a sheet of 9 cards featuring notable athletes of the moment. Some of these have attained significant resale value.
Some of the most important cards to feature in this series are the women’s soccer players. Why? They sadly did not appear anywhere else at the time, and there is a hunger for cards of the best female players of the classic generation that won the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The publication has been, quite admirably, seeking to feature female athletes. Therefore, they have featured no less than 50 female soccer cards, including all American greats and a few excellent players from overseas.
Today, Topps owns the rights to MLS cards. However, when Upper Deck released the cards, they included outstanding female players in the sets. As a result, some of the cards they released have become iconic and far more valuable than most regular MLS cards.
The most obvious example is the Alex Morgan 1994 rookie. The series is not exactly the most popular in PSA history. The population is only 265. 244 of them are Morgan cards. Amusingly, David Beckham has a card there, and only two people bothered to grade them.
Upper Deck also released special sets for the Women’s World Cup, mostly of American players.
Any long-time reader of Cardlines knows that population reports matter. Women’s soccer cards present an opportunity to invest in rare and low pop cards with historical value.
Take Mia Hamm’s SI for kids card. There is only 1(!) PSA 10 out there and less than 30 9’s. Some of these is because you had to rip those cards out, and getting good edges and corners is basically impossible.
However, women’s soccer cards have low pops in general. There is only one graded copy of Hope Solo’s auto Allen & Ginter card. Etc. We have made a chart of the grail cards to show you how low pop they are.
|Card||8 Grade||9 Grade||10 Grade||Total PSA Population|
|1992 Mia Hamm||30||29||1||82|
|1994 Alex Morgan||7||64||170||244|
|2010 Abby Wambach||0||1||6||7|
|2016 Megan Rapinoe||0||2||2||4|
|2011 Hope Solo||0||0||1||1|
|2018 Hope Solo / Carli Lloyd / Brandi Chastain||0||0||1||1|
You don’t need me to tell you that there is money to be made with a hungry market for women’s soccer cards and incredibly low pop numbers.
Americans will be amazed to hear this, but while the US women’s team is ridiculously good, other countries play the sport. Some of them are pretty good at it!
Norway, Japan, and Germany have all won the World Cup. The NWSL is pretty good, but it is definitely not the best league in the world. The French league pays far better and therefore enjoys better quality. Some of the best non-American players in history include:
Their cards are rare and may be worth a ton someday. Perhaps the best place to find them is in Panini Women’s World Cup releases.
It is easy to say that women’s cards will always be worth less than their male equivalents. But the truth is that we don’t know that. Let’s look at the tremendous changes in society over the last few years. The idea that collecting male cards is somehow superior to collecting their female counterparts may look absolutely antiquated in a few years. I feel obsolete just by writing that.
One thing that struck me in looking at the history of women’s soccer cards is how eagerly fans have snapped up the inadequate issues of their cards by the big companies (and children’s magazines).
There is a market for this stuff. And younger collectors are far less interested in perpetuating antiquated gender roles than their predecessors. Therefore, expect more regular releases in the future.
From an investing perspective, the real opportunity is these older limited-edition releases. If you can get your hands on some of these cards that will be considered classics and get them graded, it could be pretty worthwhile.