Superstar footballer and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Marta Vieira da Silva has again won the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award – the first time anyone has won it five times in a row
Geneva, 12 January 2011
The Federation of International Football Associations announced the award declaring her the best female player on the planet – again. The acknowledgement came after a stellar season with the United States Women's Professional Soccer League champion FC Gold Pride, where she scored 19 goals in 24 games during the regular season and was the top scorer of the League.
UNDP appointed the star, known to her fans simply as Marta, as a goodwill ambassador last November to promote international efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with a special emphasis on the empowerment of women. Marta is no stranger to poverty and the many challenges that come with it. She was born and raised in a poor neighbourhood of a town near Dois Riachos, in the Brazilian state of Alagoas, about 2,000 kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro.
“UNDP works around the world making a positive difference in people’s lives, and I am proud to add my personal commitment to its work,” said Marta at the time of her appointment. “I have been given opportunities to succeed in life, but I constantly think about the ones who did not have this chance. We all need to contribute to help defeat poverty.” Marta is well known in Brazil for giving back to her hometown by donating money and sports supplies.
Before going to the United States, Marta's career flourished in Sweden, where she scored an outstanding 111 goals in 103 appearances between 2004 and 2008. During her time playing for her Swedish club, Marta was named the top scorer for 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008. She also won the award for best forward in 2007 and 2008.
In 2007, fellow footballers and UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane invited Marta to play in UNDP’s Match Against Poverty in Fez, Morocco, where she became the first woman in the history of football to play in an internationally-sanctioned men’s football match.