19 Feb Happy Birthday to Marta!
Marta Viera da Silva
Born: February 19, 1986
Dois Riachos, Brazil
Known for: 6 time FIFA Player of the Year, “Pele in Skirts”
Marta Viera da Silva was born in 1986 and was noticed by a Brazilian coach at age 14. She started playing club football (think travel team vs. national team in American parlance, with club being travel) and never looked back. She has played consistently since then, both in the U.S. and Europe and is currently a forward for the Orlando Pride.
Internationally, she has competed in four World Cups and three Olympic Games, with a total of 30 matches played and 22 goals. Translation: she’s incredible. That “Pele in Skirts” nickname? Given by the man himself. She was named FIFA World Player of the Year for 5 consecutive years – from 2006-2010 – and then again in 2018.
In 2018, she was named a UN Goodwill Ambassador for women and girls in sports. During her speech, she said
I started playing football when I was 7 or 8 years old. I’m from a very small town and at that time no other girls played football in my town. People said football wasn’t for women and my family shouldn’t let me play. They said I wouldn’t make it, that I wasn’t good enough.
As a child, I didn’t really understand why people were so against me playing when I could play it well! I fought back by showing my talent on the pitch.
Al Jareeza did a fabulous mini-documentary on Marta you can find here, and we’ve included her UN introduction video below, so you can hear the woman in her own words.
Happiest of birthdays, Marta!