Brazilian soccer player Marta Vieira da Silva is UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for women and girls in sport. Marta, as she is popularly known, wants to inspire women and girls to challenge stereotypes, overcome barriers and follow their dreams and ambitions, including in the area of sport. An icon and role model for many, Marta is widely regarded as the best female soccer player of all time. This is the sixth year in a row that she has won the Best FIFA Women’s Player award. During her recent visit to UN Women headquarters in New York, Marta spoke about her personal journey, motivation and what she hopes to do as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. "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. Today, I want to use my story to empower girls everywhere, to work towards their goal, in whatever area that may be—in sport, in life, in work. My greatest inspiration was my mother. We came from a humble family; my mum separated from my dad when I was less than a year old and she raised four children on her own. She worked all day, had little time to spend with us, but she never gave up. I found my strength from her to keep going. Every win is important for me, from the time when I was playing in amateur teams among the boys to the first win as part of the Brazilian national team, and now. I remember when I went back to my town in 2006 after winning the award for the best female player in the world. When I arrived, it was nearly midnight and the whole town was awake, waiting for me. I got into a fireman’s truck and people were waving. That achievement could happen because I hadn’t g


World-renowned Marta Vieira da Silva of Brazil, who has widely been regarded as the best female soccer player of all time, will accept the 2019 Wilma Rudolph Courage Award at the 40th Annual Salute to Women in Sports on Oct. 16 in New York City. 

On the field, Marta recently solidified her dominance at the 2019 Women’s World Cup by becoming the first soccer player (male or female) to score at five different FIFA World Cups as well as the most decorated player (male or female) in FIFA World Cup history.

Born in Brazil in 1986 and growing up in a poor family, Marta played street soccer without shoes and was often shunned by the boys she could outplay. Inspired by her mother’s work ethic and humility, she found her strength to keep going when she was banned from her first all-boys team in her hometown of Dois Riachos, even after being recognized for her skill as one of the top players. Her journey led her to the European championships, World Cups, and the Olympics to play in front of tens of thousands of people.

Today, Marta is UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for women and girls in sports and a UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate. She shares her story of courage with as many girls as possible to empower them to work towards their own goals.

Celebrate Marta along with the top women in sport and the girls they inspire at the 40th Annual Salute to Women in Sports.

Photo Courtesy from Women’s Sports Foundation

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