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Marta's expected signing boost for new league
by Paul Kennedy, January 9th, 2009 8:47AM
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[WPS] With a week to go before the Women's Professional League's draft of college players, to be held Jan. 16 at the NSCAA Convention in St. Louis, only four foreign players whose negotiating rights were obtained by WPS teams have signed to play in the 2009 season, but women's soccer brightest star, Marta, is expected to sign with the Los Angeles Sol, perhaps as soon as Monday when the FIFA Women's Player of the Year is announced in Zurich.

Sky Blue FC has signed Australians Sarah Walsh and Collette McCallum and Brazilian Rosana and the Boston Breakers have reached an agreement with Canadian Christine Latham. (Walsh and Rosana were taken in WPS's initial international draft assigning the WPS-playing rights of those selected by the individual teams, while rights to McCallum and Latham were assigned as "post-draft discovery players.")

The Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that Marta rejected a new deal with Umea of the  Damallsvenskan to sign with the Sol. Charlie Naimo, the Sol general manager, told the New York Times called the terms of the deal -- $500,000 a year for three years -- as reported by Expressen to be "ridiculous."

Marta's apparent move to the AEG-owned Sol does not necessarily signal a wave of major international signings by the WPS.

Umea, Sweden's best team, is reportedly seeking to replace Marta with Australian Lisa De Vanna, considered one of the world's top young strikers. De Vanna, who currently places for Perth Glory, told the Swedish paper Folkbladet that she had not talked with anyone at the Washington Freedom, which holds her WPS negotiating rights.

Marta is one of five finalists on a list for Womens Player of the Year notable for the absence of any players from the Olympic gold-medalist U.S. women's national team.

The other finalists are German goalie Nadine Angerer and Birgit Prinz, Englishwoman Kelly Smith and Brazilian Cristiane.

Smith (Boston) and Cristiane (Chicago) were taken in WPS's initial international draft. Swedish club LDB FC Malmo is reportedly interested in signing Cristiane, who has spent time at clubs in Germany and Sweden and is currently back home at Corinthians of the Campeonato Paulista.

No Germans were taken in the draft.

The FIFA Players of the Year will be announced at FIFA's annual gala hosted at the Zurich Opera House.

The men's nominees are Kaka (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Fernando Torres and Xavi (Spain).


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