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England striker Kelly Smith joins Boston Breakers

February 18, 2009 |  3:45 pm

Women's Professional Soccer landed another top-flight player today  when England national team striker Kelly Smith signed with the Boston Breakers.

In 2008, Smith, 30, was a finalist for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award -- eventually won by Brazil's Marta, the Los Angeles Sol forward who is due to arrive in California on Thursday night.

Kelly SmithRegarded as one of the top goal-scorers in women's soccer, Smith has scored 33 times for England in 76 international matches over the past 14 years. She was a standout for Arsenal Ladies, netting 100 goals in 112 games and helping the team win a quartet of trophies in 2007, including a European title.

She has played professionally in the U.S. before, with the Philadelphia Charge from 2001 to 2003 in the Women's United Soccer Assn., the forerunner of WPS.

Smith's move was said to have surprised Arsenal, but she explained her reasons in a recent interview with BBC Sport.

"A four-year contract adds longevity to my career," Smith said. "It's been great playing for Arsenal, they've been really good to me and it's a wrench to leave. But they've got more than enough quality to still be the best team in the country.

"I couldn't earn anywhere near to what I'll be getting in WPS if I stayed in this country. But it's not just about money. It's about playing with and against the best players in the world, training every day, and everything else that goes with being a professional footballer."

Smith and the rest of the Breakers will be in Southern California  to play Marta and the Sol on May 10 at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Kelly Smith listens to questions during a press conference prior to the the FIFA World Player Gala on Jan. 12. Credit: Steffen Schmidt / Associated Press