Newsweek published a really good article about Marta. (Thanks for Jeff Kassouf at Equalizer Soccer for pointing this out.) I am glad to see her get the recognition that she deserves, and I imagine that more will come as the Women’s World Cup approaches. I have to admit that I am rooting for Brazil, and I am getting scared that the lack of togetherness will harm the team. They are the most talented squad and Marta is far and away the supreme talent of the women’s game–they should win if either football or life were fair. Unfortunately, neither is.
Although the best hope for the WPS is generally thought to be an American victory, I am beginning to think that a Brazil win would be the WPS’s best hope. No player represents the league, or women;s football, more than Marta. A Brazil win may very well legitimize the game, and perhaps bring in enough of a crowd who will want to see both the world’s best player who led her side to its first title. This is how the WPS should market the league if Brazil were to win. Although Germany is still the favorite.
The Newsweek article ends with a reminder of how Marta is changing attitudes in Brazil:
For all her star power, Marta alone cannot change the fragile math of women’s sports. But back home, things have already begun to turn. Although, like her, the best female players have to leave Brazil to earn a living, a quiet revolution is sweeping the back country. “The only sport that girls used to play was handball,” she says. “Now they all play football.” The beautiful game may soon find its next Marta.
My one quibble: there is only one Marta just as there is only one Pele. But football is big enough to have more than one star. It is only appropriate that the next generation of greats should come from Brazil.