Newly crowned Marta to join US league

Brazilian forward Marta, who won her third FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award for her 2008 heroics, has reached an agreement with Los Angeles Sol and will join the club for the inaugural Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league season.

Marta, who turns 23 next month, led the Brazilians to the 2007 Women's World Cup final in China, where they lost to Germany, and silver-medal finishes at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. She most recently played for Umea IK of Sweden.

"Of course I am sad I am leaving, but I am happy because a new project is beginning. It is time to start something new," Marta said. Trying to light a football spark in America similar to what England's David Beckham attempted with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Marta will try to revive US pro women's soccer six years after the Women's United Soccer Association folded.

"I understand the challenge and project ahead of me with the Los Angeles Sol," she said. "I'm ready to take it on and conquer all the objectives in front of me in the United States. I have in mind that a very competitive league will be created. We are looking at the future. I think it will attract many players."

The Sol originally acquired the exclusive WPS negotiating rights to Marta last September when they drafted her third overall in the WPS initial international draft. In that draft, each team was allowed to draft four international players.

The initial international draft gave each of the seven WPS teams the opportunity to begin a formal negotiation process with each selected player upon receiving permission from that player's club.

The Sol will host the Washington Freedom on March 29 in the new league's inaugural match. "We're all excited about what Marta and her world class talents will bring to the league," Women's Pro Soccer commissioner Tonya Antonucci said.