A Hidden Great - Marta

Marta is one of the world's greatest female soccer players, yet to many she is still unknown. Why is that?

Lauren Strnad

When asked about the soccer greats, of whom who do you think? Pelé, Zidane, Beckham, Totti, and many more come to mind. Even think about today’s greats: Messi and Ronaldo.


But, rarely do you think of a woman player. Why is that? Some might say they are not as accomplished as other male players or they don’t play with as much flare and finesse as the greats. Or could there be another reason?  


One of the greatest players of all time men or women is Marta from the Brazilian Women’s National Team. Marta is known as the female Pelé with her quickness and ability to take on any defender with style just like legend Pelé himself. She also just broke the record for most World Cup goals for both men and women. A feat that many cannot say they’ve been able to achieve, including the infamous Ronaldo and Messi. She has won Golden Boots as well as earning FIFA’s Women player of the year many times, a World Cup and much more.


Yet, despite all this, Marta is relatively unknown if you do not follow women’s soccer.


Which begs the question, why?


Let’s say you conquer all the obstacles to becoming a premier professional athlete. Unfortunately, once you are at the top there is one blaring difference between men’s and women’s soccer: exposure. And because of this people are simply not aware of the talent the women’s players around the world possess. With lack of exposure, comes a lack of awareness, and lack of opportunities.


While there are many other issues that differentiate the men’s and women’s side, exposure is a major factor. The lack of exposure leads to greats such as Marta to be less known than if she were a man playing at an equal level. Even though this is a tragic reality there are steps being taken and traction made this Women’s World Cup.


With the Round of Sixteen just completed, the competition is coming to a climax. The fever is building, especially with reigning champions USA playing the hosts France in the quarterfinals. This is becoming one of the most celebrated Women’s World Cup’s to date.  The current stars of this year’s Women’s World Cup are out to play hard and create history. But it is not always so glorious. Marta in her career has shown that as she continually pushes boundaries, such as forgoing a sponsorship deal in order to have the equality patch on her cleats. Also, she continues to reach out to important figures for change in her home country of Brazil as well as elsewhere in the world. Although Brazil was eliminated from this year’s World Cup by the hosts France, Marta left the Women’s World Cup with these empowering words:  


“It's about wanting more, it's about training more, it's about looking after yourself more, it's about being ready to play 90 minutes and then 30 minutes more. This is what I ask of the girls. 


There's not going to be a Formiga forever. There's not going tobe a Marta forever. There's not going to be a Cristiane.


Women's football depends on you to survive. So think about that.Value it more.


Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end.”


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