Top-ranked female footballer joins UN roster of goodwill ambassadors

11 October 2010
Marta Vieira da Silva of Brazil, UNDP’s new Goodwill Ambassador

Brazilian Marta Vieira da Silva, the world’s top-ranked female football player, has been recruited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to advocate for women’s empowerment as part of global efforts to fight poverty.

Brazilian Marta Vieira da Silva, the world’s top-ranked female football player, has been recruited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to advocate for women’s empowerment as part of global efforts to fight poverty.

Ms. Vieira da Silva, known to her fans simply as Marta, won the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year four years in a row, from 2006 to 2009. She currently plays with the United States football club FC Gold Pride and has led the club to a championship title.

UNDP is very proud to welcome Marta as our Goodwill Ambassador,” said the agency’s Administrator, Helen Clark.

“Marta is a role model for women and girls around the world, and I have no doubt that just as she has inspired them to play football, so will she inspire others to come together in achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). I am happy to welcome her to our team.”

Marta was appointed Goodwill Ambassador at a ceremony in Stockholm today, during which she said she will promote global efforts to achieve the anti-poverty MDGs, which have a 2015 deadline, with a special emphasis on the empowerment of women.

“UNDP works around the world making a positive difference in people’s lives, and I am proud to add my personal commitment to its work,” said the 24-year-old, who is one of four siblings raised by their mother in a poor neighbourhood of a town in the Brazilian state of Alagoas.

“I have been given opportunities to succeed in life, but I constantly think about the ones who did not have this chance. We all need to contribute to help defeat poverty.”

It was in Sweden where Marta’s career flourished, scoring an outstanding 111 goals in 103 appearances between 2004 and 2008. During her time playing for her Swedish club, Marta was named the top scorer for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008.

In 2007, fellow football players Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane invited Marta to play in UNDP’s Match Against Poverty in Fez, Morocco, where she became the first woman in the history of football to play in an internationally-sanctioned men’s football match.

Among UNDP’s other Goodwill Ambassadors are soccer stars Ronaldo, Zidane and Didier Drogba, Japanese actress Misako Konno, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas.

 

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