By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Late Friday, April 7th, the Orlando Pride of the U.S.’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced that it had just reached an agreement with Brazilian superstar football (soccer) player Marta Vieira da Silva, more famously known as simply “Marta.”
According to the club’s press release, the “Greatest of All-Time” has signed for two years with the Florida club with an option for a third, pending the receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
The 31-year-old, five-time FIFA World Player of the Year, joins Orlando on a free transfer from Swedish league team FC Rosengard, which was just eliminated from the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, April 5th.
Additional terms of the contract, such as salary or bonuses, were not revealed per team and NWSL policies.
“We are incredibly proud to bring Marta to Orlando, and I am personally very excited as I have been a fan of her for many years,” exclaimed Orlando Pride CEO Alex Leitão.
“Marta’s resume speaks for itself,” added General Manager Niki Budalic. “She is not only the best player in the world, she is a player that fills one of our biggest needs on the field.”
Widely considered one of the greatest football players ever, Marta has scored 106 goals in 109 international appearances with the Seleção Brasileira (Brazilian women’s national team) and also has the most Women’s World Cup goals with fifteen.
However, despite her storied career, Marta has yet to win a major international title with Brazil. She came closest on two occasions winning silver at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Most recently, in the Rio 2016 Games, the Seleção Brasileira fell to Canada in the bronze medal match.
This will be Marta’s second foray into the U.S. From 2009 to 2011, she played in the now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer league and led the Western New York Flash team to the league title in 2011.
Marta is expected to make her debut in the Orlando Pride’s season opener against the Portland Thorns in Portland, Oregon, on April 15th.