This will be the fourth Women's World Cup for Marta, who is still only 29.
In Canada, she'll have a chance to break the all-time Women's World Cup
scoring record she shares with German Birgit Prinz, having already scored 14 goals -- three in 2003, seven in 2007 and four in 2011 when Brazil lost to the
United States in their memorable quarterfinal match.
MARTA: Country: Brazil Age: 29. Position: Forward Club: FC Rosengard Facebook: @martavsilva10
Between the generation of 99ers, the U.S. stars of the 1999 Women's World Cup, and the current
generation of stars, no woman soccer player was bigger than Marta.
She was at her peak when Puma signed her to an endorsement contract that made her the WPS's marquee player. The
Brazilian won her fourth and fifth successive FIFA Player of the Year awards with the Los Angeles Sol and FC Gold Pride in 2009 and 2010 and followed up on a WPS title with FC Gold Pride by winning a
second championship in the league's final season in 2011 with Western New York Flash.
Since then, Marta has played in Sweden, first with Tyreso and after it folded, with FC Rosengard. While her Brazilian teammates moved into full-time residency to
prepare for the 2015 Women's World Cup and next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, contractual obligations have kept her in Sweden.
Marta has played on teams that folded -- the Sol in WPS,
Tyreso in Sweden -- and leagues that folded -- WPS lasted just three years -- but she is in a rare category of female superstars who are handsomely rewarded for their skills. She says the No. 1 thing
holding back women's soccer is the the lack of financial support like the Brazilian national team only recently got thanks to grants of World Cup profits earmarked for women's soccer. And for sponsors
to commit, the media must get behind the women's game.
“To really support the girls and women that want to make a life out of sport it is crucial to have the right and proper kind of
media coverage, in order for the sport, as a platform, to have coverage," she said after a recent women's sports forum in Abu Dhabi. “With
that exposure of the sport they can call in sponsors, who could not only invest in the sport but invest in the athletes.
“My concern is it is not only loving the sport, it is not
only willing to do something out of the sport, but in order to love, to have a dream, you need to be properly supported and the financial support is really important to the athletes. A lot of them
they love the sport, they want to practice, they want to be competitive, they want to represent their country but when it comes to that crucial moment that with no financial support they are obligated
to try a different thing in life.”
Doubts about whether Marta still was at the top of her game were put to rest when she led Brazil to the Torneio Internacional da Brasilia
championship in December. Marta scored all three goals -- the second after she left four defenders in their tracks on a run that began in the Brazil half -- to lead Brazil to a 3-2 win after the USA
had led, 2-0, after nine minutes.