Little, who played for Hibs and Arsenal before moving to Seattle Reign, topped a supporters’ poll to become the second winner of the BBC World Service award.
She was on a five-strong short-list with Gaelle Enganamouit (FC Rosengard, Sweden), Amandine Henry (Olympique Lyonnais), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash) and Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City).
“I’m surprised to win – I’m extremely humbled to win,” Little, 25, told the BBC website.
“We’ve got a great team here at Seattle Reign and it’s great to share it with them. I’m extremely proud of the season I had here at Seattle Reign, at Melbourne and also Scotland.”
Aberdeen-born Little, who received the award at her club’s training ground on Tuesday, was Seattle’s leading scorer, and second overall in America’s National Women’s Soccer League, with 10 goals as she helped the Reign top the league in 2015 before a 1-0 defeat by FC Kansas City in the Championship final.
Scotland coach Anna Signeul paid tribute to Little who has been capped 115 times.
“It’s an absolutely amazing acknowledgement for Kim for her performance,” Signeul said.
“She’s a player that has almost everything. She’s quick, her balance and movement on the pitch is fantastic, she has brilliant technique, there aren’t many things that she can’t do.
“She’s a role model. She’s perfect in everything she does on and off the pitch, and I think it will take a long time before Scotland gets another player like this.
“I’m so proud of her, I’m so delighted for her, and we all are. “