Brazilian standout Marta joins Sol for three years
Move over, David Beckham, Los Angeles has a new soccer star.
Brazilian striker Marta made it official on Monday, announcing in Switzerland that she will join the Los Angeles Sol of Women’s Professional Soccer on a three-year contract.
"I have in mind that a very competitive league will be created,” Marta said of the seven-team WPS that begins play this spring. “We are looking at the future. I think it will attract many players.”
The 21-year-old two-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year echoed Beckham when she said: “I am concentrating on getting there and doing what I know best. Bringing the game forward and making it more competitive, because the U.S. is very strong football-wise.”
Beckham also spoke of raising the sport’s profile in the U.S. when he joined Major League Soccer’s Galaxy on a five-year contract in 2007.
Like the Galaxy, the Sol will play at the Home Depot Center in Carson and there will be some doubleheaders featuring both teams, a Sol spokesman confirmed.
Marta made her remarks prior to the FIFA World Gala in Zurich, where she was once again in the running to be named the year’s best player. Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo is favored on the men’s side.
Tonya Antonucci, the commissioner of WPS, said she expected Marta and her Brazilian teammate, Cristiane, who is negotiating a move to the Chicago Red Stars, would help the new league by “raising our visibility both in the U.S. and globally.”
The league launches on March 29 with a match between the Sol and the Washington Freedom.
For a complete report on Marta and the FIFA awards, go to latimes.com/sports a little later today.
-- Grahame L. Jones
Photo: Marta talks to reporters at a news conference today. Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images