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      March 9, 2017

      Report: Brazilian Superstar Marta to Join NWSL's Orlando Pride

      Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

      Marta, a five-time FIFA world player of the year and one of the greatest women's soccer players ever, is going to join the Orlando Pride, according to Women's Soccer Weekly.

      It's big news for the NWSL because the league has had some major defections lately. In December, this very Orlando club lost Alex Morgan when she opted to go play in France on a short-term contract; she won't be back until June, midway through the NWSL season. Carli Lloyd struck a similar deal with Manchester City and bolted for England not long after. If the league gets Marta, it pushes back at some of this backward momentum.

      She might have a few ties to Orlando. Brazilian businessman Flávio Augusto da Silva is the majority owner of Orlando City, Pride's affiliate MLS club. Before landing Marta, da Silva also brought Brazilian soccer star Kaka into the City fold.

      Marta has played in the U.S. before, and she has played with several Pride players to boot. She played in the Women's Professional Soccer league for Los Angeles Sol in 2009 and FC Gold Pride in 2010. The following year, she joined Morgan and keeper Ashlyn Harris with Western New York Flash.

      The report says Marta will join the club for the 2017 season—Pride open up against Portland Thorns on April 15—but does not specify when. So far, the club has no official comment on the matter.

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