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World's best, Marta, joins WNY Flash

One of the biggest names in women's soccer will be making her professional home in Buffalo and Rochester this spring.

The Western New York Flash acquired Marta, the reigning five-time FIFA World Player of the Year.

Marta had played for the FC Gold Pride, the team that won the Women's Professional Soccer title in September and then folded.

That left a roster of players without a home, including Marta, whose full name is Marta Vieira da Silva. Flash owner Joe Sahlen got involved and arranged to take over the third and final year of Marta's contract with the WPS.

"Joe recognized Marta's importance to the league and wanted to keep her here," Flash General Manager Henrik Ambarchian said Tuesday evening. "He decided to assume her contract. We contacted the league office and the FC Gold Pride was willing to transfer her right to the Flash."

Marta, who turns 25 in February, was honored by FIFA earlier this month as the world's best female soccer player for the fifth straight year. She won silver as a member of the Brazilian national team at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. In the 2007 Women's World Cup, she won both the Golden Ball award (best player) and Golden Boot award (top scorer).

"To have someone of her skill and talent here is so exciting," Ambarchian said.

"She is a global name. People around the world know who she is and will follow where she plays. That brings global attention to Western New York."

The Flash will be based out of Sahlen's Sports Park in Elma and plan to play their home games this year in Rochester at Marina Auto Stadium, about 75 miles from downtown Buffalo.

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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