The Marta Clues

18 12 2008

Alright ladies and gentlemen, I am starting to suspect a likely addition named Marta to the WPS. I have said before I didn’t think she was absolutely neccesary for the first year of the league, and that the league shouldn’t put themselves in a financially precarious situation just to get her. Recently I have gotten the feeling that she will be coming, and these are the things that are driving that thinking.

1. The Puma Deal – Puma just signed a large deal with the league, and is aggressively pursuing the market of women’s soccer. They have commited themselves to it, and are not only sponsoring but planning a campaign. Wouldn’t they want their star Marta, who is already sponsored by them, to be in the league and help carry out that campaign? I think so, and I think the Puma sponsorship makes the salary issue less critical.

2. The News – Sure, we don’t have great reporting on the sport. It does seem like, however, that news articles have gone from stating “Marta, who was allocated to the LA Sol” to “Brazilian star Marta, who is expected to join the league”. This is not the strongest of clues, but is something I’ve noticed recently.

3. World Player of the Year – The Olympics are over, the World Cup is far off. Performance at the club level is critical in her evaluation. If she wants to win another World Player of the Year, she better be playing in the top league of the world don’t you think? Yes, the league isn’t packed full of world stars, but with only seven teams, the amount of quality WNT players, the pick up of quality internationals here and there (ie Sara Larsson),  the rise of a lot of good players out of the college ranks, and the addition of the cream of the crop players pulled up from the W-Leauge will easily give each of the seven teams enough to be a quality side. While there are clubs in europe that are very good, they are frequently beating up on other sides lacking quality and not serving as a great test to a top player. If she does not come, she seriously reduce her chances of winning World POY.

4. The WPS Opener – The league will open their first ever game with the LA Sol against the Washington Freedom live on Fox Soccer Channel. Now you would think they would make this a game between two teams with some real star power. The real big name on the Freedom is of course Abby Wambach. For the Sol it’s… Shannon Boxx? Boxx is a great player, but a defensive midfielder is the marquee player one of the teams in the leagues grand slam kick off of it’s existance? Now, maybe the Sol get Han Duan and don’t need Marta to help headline the opener. Perhaps their motivation is to use the Home Depot Center for the opener.  But, if Marta was to come, you would expect her to be a part of the opening televised game. Otherwise I would have rather seen a Freedom-Red Stars opener at Toyota Park.

So those are some of the things rolling around in my head, leading me to believe we’ll be watching her come late march at the Home Depot Center. We will see…

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