Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who is Marta? She is named the best women’s soccer player by FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, for five straight years and does not have a contract. Listen to this all you American soccer Moms . She is a high scorer in Sweden, Brazil and the United States. She is only 24 with no professional career to her future for all her accomplishments.
This fabulous athlete, a star for her sport, struggles to earn a stable living. If she struggles, what is available for just a great enthusiast? It is obvious that even in 2011, soccer has yet to be fully accepted in a sport that remains very much a man’s world. Recently she had a photo shoot next to Lionel Messi, the Argentine who was named the best men’s player for the second straight year. They looked like a perfect athletic pair even though he is one year younger than her.
She was able to play for four consecutive years in Sweden and scored there 111 goals on 103 games. WOW! Born in Brazil near Dios Riachos 1,000 miles north of Rio de Janeiro, the climate is close to California where she still struggles to make a living. Unlike America where 6 year old girls are encouraged to play soccer, this girl struggled in Brazil. She was told that girls don’t play. She was as good as any boy on the field but was told to leave and took physical beatings from her brother if she did not leave the field.
At 14, a soccer scout took her to Vasco da Gama, 1000 miles away from her home that ran a women’s team. This group went bankrupt and soon she went to Sweden where she achieved much success. Finally the Women’s Professional Soccer League in the United States found her where she played for the Los Angeles Sol, which also did not stay afloat. She recently moved to F.C. Gold Pride south of San Francisco which this past November went bankrupt, leaving Marta, the world’s finest female soccer player, without a contract or club. Give this kid a break!! She earned it!! Where is professional female soccer? No one wants to sponsor the girls?
Recently in Zurich, national team coaches and captains and journalists from all over the world ranked women soccer players. Their votes clearly put her at the top in all opinions. Marta received 32% of the votes, Germany’s captain, Birgit Prinz got 15%, Fatmire Bajramaj, Kosovo-born but also a German national team player, with 10%. The leading American, Abby Wambach with just 6% of the vote.
Marta said, “It’s harder for women. The men earn a lot of money, and they have a lot of clubs they can choose to play for. We work very hard, but we’re always thinking about what might happen next year, if there’s going to be a team or a competition even.”
We just got a day off from work for Martin Luther King Day who struggled for equal rights among black and white civil rights. If he lived, I wonder if he would have gotten involved in this issue too. Equal rights should be everywhere.

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