Thursday, May 24, 2012
40 greatest female athletes: Marta
Marta has become a full-fledged superstar in soccer-mad South America, where the women's game has long struggled to make inroads.
ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.
American midfielder Leslie Osborne still remembers the first time she saw the No. 22 woman in ESPN's countdown play.
Marta, as she was simply known, was only 16 at the 2002 Under-19 Women's World Cup, but she already was special enough to leave an impression.
"She had qualities I had never seen before in other female players," Osborne recalls.
Still just 26, Marta already has gone on to be a five-time FIFA World Player of the Year (2006-10). She has netted 80 goals in 72 games for Brazil, and was the leading scorer in Women's Professional Soccer during each of her three seasons.