The Orlando Pride have a new star attacking player. In a move first mentioned by Women’s Soccer Weekly back on March 9, Brazilian international superstar Marta is coming to the City Beautiful to play for the Pride in the NWSL. The club officially announced the signing today. The Pride signed the international superstar to a two-year contract with an option for a third, pending the receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per team and league policies, additional terms of the contract were not announced.
“We are incredibly proud to bring Marta to Orlando, and I am personally very excited as I have been a fan of her for many years,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said in a club press release. “Our technical team worked hard to add the best, most accomplished women’s soccer player in the world to the roster. We started the Pride to win, and bringing Marta to Orlando is a testament to our belief in this team, our supporters and the passion for soccer in Central Florida.”
“I know the club has pursued this vigorously for quite some time and it's great the deal’s been done and that Marta will join us,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said after his team’s 3-0 preseason victory over the U-23 USWNT today. “I think it shows the intent of this club to invest in Orlando Pride, to take the NWSL very seriously and to be very successful."
A professional player since 2000 — at the age of 14 when she broke in with Vasco de Gama — Marta immediately adds legitimacy to the Pride’s attack. The native of Dois Riachos, Alagoas, Brazil has long been one of the most feared attacking players in the world. She has the versatility to play in multiple formations and different positions in the attack, is excellent on the ball, and can create her own shot or pull defenders away from teammates before sliding in a well-placed pass.
The 31-year-old, born Marta Vieira da Silva, has won the FIFA World Player of the Year five times in her career. Additionally, Marta is the all-time leading scorer in the FIFA Women’s World Cup with 15 goals.
“Marta’s resume speaks for itself. She is not only the best player in the world, she is a player that fills one of our biggest needs on the field,” Orlando City General Manager Niki Budalic said in the club release. “Our goal this off-season was to evaluate our first year’s performance and give the Pride the best tools for success in 2017 and forward. With the addition of Marta, as well as fellow veterans Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris and Alex Morgan, among others, we are building a strong, exciting lineup for years to come.”
In 2011, Marta won a title with the Western New York Flash. Orlando’s Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris were both members of that team.
More recently, the Brazilian has been playing with FC Rosengård in Sweden, scoring 23 goals in 43 appearances. Prior to joining FC Rosengård, Marta played 38 games for Tyresö Fotbollsförening — also in Sweden — where she scored 27 goals from 2012-2014. She scored 10 goals in 14 appearances in 2011 with the champion Western New York Flash in the league known as Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) en route to the league title.
Previously, she played in the United States with the Los Angeles Sol of the WPS in 2009, scoring 10 goals in 19 appearances.
According to Wikipedia (yeah, we know), Marta has scored 105 goals in 101 appearances with the Brazilian Women’s National Team. With her native Brazil, Marta has won the Pan American Games twice (2003, 2007), the Sudamericano Femenino twice (2003, 2010), and was a member of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad that finished second.
Despite being past the age of 30, Marta was recently named to the FIFPro World XI, along with Morgan and Pride defender Ali Krieger.