The Orlando Pride announced today that the club and Brazilian superstar Marta have agreed to terms on a new one-year contract with an option for an additional season in 2022 using Allocation Money. Marta was already under contract, as the Pride had exercised her option on Oct. 30 from a contract signed back on Oct. 24, 2019. While the amount of NWSL Allocation Money used wasn’t disclosed, clearly the club wanted to lock up the six-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year for an additional season.
The club also announced that Marta will no longer require an international roster slot after recently obtaining her green card.
“In addition to Marta’s world-class talent on the field, she embodies the values of Orlando Pride beyond the field as well,” Executive Vice President Amanda Duffy said in a club press release. “The decision to restructure and extend our existing contract with Marta represents her importance to our organization and our commitment to maintain top global talent here in Orlando as well as in NWSL, as much as it demonstrates our commitment to bring and retain players that have a meaningful impact within our business and community at large.”
“Marta, of course, possesses unquestionable talent and is an integral part of what we are building here in Orlando,” Orlando Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in the club’s release. “What she brings to our team is unmatched, from her invaluable career experience to the leadership she provides in our locker room. We’re extremely happy to be able to extend Marta’s time as a member of the Pride organization.”
Marta, who will turn 35 on Friday, is the Pride’s all-time leader in goals (23) and assists (11).
She originally signed with the Pride on April 7, 2017. She led the Pride to its first (and only, to date) NWSL playoff spot in 2017, finishing second in the league in both goals (13) and assists (6) while appearing in 23 matches (21 starts). She was named to the NWSL Best XI and the Concacaf Female Best XI in 2017 and was named NWSL Player of the Month for September that season. She was also a member of the NWSL Team of the Month from June to September in 2017. Marta won the first of her four NWSL Goal of the Week awards in 2017 for her Aug. 8 goal against the Washington Spirit.
She appeared in 17 matches (15 starts) for the Pride in 2018, scoring four goals and sharing the team lead in assists (4). In 2019, she appeared in 14 matches with Orlando, scoring a team-high six goals, was named to the NWSL Team of the Month for July, and earned NWSL Player of the Week honors in Week 13.
Last season, Marta appeared in all four NWSL Fall Series games with Orlando and was one of four Pride players to play every minute. She notched one assist on the game-tying goal in Orlando’s dramatic 3-3 comeback draw against the North Carolina Courage. She also led the Pride with six chances created.
With the Brazilian Women’s National Team, Marta has her country’s most storied career. She’s the only player — male or female — to be named FIFA World Player of the Year six times and holds the record for most World Cup goals (17). She’s represented her country at five FIFA World Cups. Marta is a two-time Olympic silver medalist and a member of the first-ever FIFA FIFPro Women’s World XI.
What it Means for Orlando
Ultimately, this move means that Marta gets a raise for 2021 and the Pride have an option on her deal for 2022. If Marta can maintain her high level of play as she moves through her mid-30s, this is a good deal for the Pride’s attack.
In recent years, teams have surrounded the Brazilian to deprive her of outlets in the team’s offensive buildup. Having a deeper and better team around her should help with some of that in 2021, but what that will look like is simply an unknown at this point. The club almost certainly has to be better than it showed in 2019 due to some key additions like Ali Riley, Jade Moore, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Gunny Jonsdottir, and Erika Tymrak. The addition of so much experience and talent should prevent Marta from having to drop deeper to get on the ball so that she can concentrate on the attack in the final third, along with star forwards Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux.
Here’s what Marta had to say about signing her new deal:
‼️ Attention ‼️— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) February 17, 2021
The GOAT has a message for you, Pride fam. #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/mqKF8Be4Wo