Marta (Marta Vieira da Silva)

Marta Vieira da Silva, usually refereed to simply as Marta, is a Brazilian football forward who has been named FIFA World Player of the Year five times  (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010) and is widely acknowledged as the best female soccer player of all time. In 2010, she received the FIFA Ballon d’Or.

In addition to league play, Marta has participated in the Brazil women’s national football team. She was a part of the team when they won the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Together with Birgit Prinz, Marta tops the all-time Women’s World Cup goalscorer list.

Career

Youth career

1999 Centro Sportivo Alagoano

Senior career

Years               Team                             Apps                         Gls

2000–2002        Vasco da Gama

2002–2004        Santa Cruz

2004–2008        Umeå IK                    103                              111

2009                Los Angeles Sol         19                                 10

2009–2010       Santos (loan)             14                                 26

2010                FC Gold Pride              24                               19

2011               Santos

2011–      Western New York Flash    14                                10

 

National team

2002–   Brazil                                       72                             80

As a child, Marta played football in the streets with local boys. Sometimes someone would have access to a ball, sometimes they had to make do with folded plastic bags. After playing in the streets for a few years Marta jointed a five-a-side indoor team where she was the only girl in the team. She played in the local championships for two years until another team threatened to withdraw from the tournament if the girl continued to play. After being banned, Marta joined the only girl’s team in her area. After a while, it was shut down due to lack of funds.

When Marta was 14 years old she embarked on a 1,000 mile bus trip to Rio de Janeiro after being asked by the organizer of a local sports club if she wanted to try out for Fluminense or Vasco da Gama, the two major football clubs in Rio. On the first day of her trial with Vasco da Gama she was accepted. Marta played and lived at the training facilities of Vasca da Gama for two years until the club canceled its women’s professional team in 2001.

In 2002, Marta played for a small club in Minas Gerais. At the end of the season, the club ceased its operations.

In 2003, Marta made her World Cup debut. She caught the attention of Roland Arnqvist, manager of  Umeå IK, a women’s football club in Sweden. Back in Sweden Arnqvist spent two months trying to get in touch with Marta. She had no agent and spoke no English. When he finally managed to get hold of her she thought it was some kind of joke, but eventually accepted Umeå’s offer and moved to Sweden to become the first Brazilian woman to play professional football in Europe.

With Marta on the team, Umeå IK won the 2003/2004 UEFA Cup. In the final against Frankfurt, Umeå IK won 8-0 on aggregate with Marta scoring three of the goals. Umeå finished second in the league, beaten by a single point by Djurgården. Umeå had then scored 106 goals in the league during the season which was 32 more than Djurgården, and Marta had scored 22 of them. During her second season with Umeå, Marta scored 21 goals and Umeå won the league, having gone undefeated. In 2005/2006, Umeå once again passed undefeated through the league with Marta scoring 21 goals. In the 2006/2007 season, Umeå won both the league and the Swedish Cup. The following season saw Umeå win another Swedish championship title, and Marta received the 2008 World Footballer of the Year award.

In January 2009, Marta announced that she had signed a three year long contract with Los Angeles Sol.  Marta became the league’s top scorer during her first season with Los Angeles Sol. Her new team became regular season champions and reached the WPS Championship Final where they lost to Sky Blue FC by 1-0.

During the off-season, Marta signed a contract with Santos to play in the Copa Libertadores and in the Copa do Brasil. Santos won both tournaments, partly thanks to Marta who scored one goal in the Copa Libertadores final and two goals in the Copa do Brasil final.

In 2010, Los Angeles Sol folded and Marta moved to FC Gold Pride. She played 24 matches and scored 19 goals. Marta also played in the WPS All-Star 2010. When Gold Pride folded in late 2010, Marta signed with Santos again and played Copa Libertadores and Copa do Brasil.

As of January 25, 2011, Marta plays in Western New York Flash. During her first season, she helped the team bring home the Regular Season Championship title.

Private life

  • Marta Vieira da Silva was born in 1986 in Dois Riachos, a small town located in the Brazilian state of Alagoas.
  • Her parents are named Aldário and Tereza. Aldário was a barber who left the family when Marta was a baby.
  • Marta has two elder brothers, José and Valdir, and a sister named Angela. 7
  • Since her time in northern Sweden, Marta is a competent Swedish speaker.
  • Marta is a UN goodwill ambassador.
  • Marta’s life has been depicted in a Swedish Television documentary from 2005.