I built my career based on pure insistence

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By Marta Vieira da Silva, from her linkedIn blog

Stubbornness. If there is one word to describe how I got here, that would be stubbornness. Of course, talent, dedication, and taking absolute advantage of all the opportunities I had, all of this made a big difference. But were I not stubborn, my career would not even have started…

I reached the age of 30 with an extensive résumé. I play in Europe. I was the first person elected as the best player in the world five times, a record for men and women equaled only by Messi last year. I wear the number 10 jersey for the Brazilian national team. In World Cups, I am the top scorer in history, with 15 goals – if I score but two more goals in 2019, I will leave even Klose behind and lead the rankings for both men and women. The more than a hundred goals (101, to be precise) I scored wearing the yellow jersey put on the top of the list of the absolute scorers for the National Team – leaving the second place to no other than Pelé, the greatest of all. My feet are on Maracanã stadium’s Walk of Fame , and I am the first woman to ever have been paid this tribute. In 2010, the UN appointed me World Ambassador, a title I carry along with the mission to work for the empowerment of women as a way to combat poverty.

Anyone who reads about my achievements, condensed into a paragraph, might think I have lived a dream. And that may even be true, but getting here was no easy task. The effort I made to get where I got is very distant from the little concrete field of dreams.

Vindicating oneself in sports in Brazil is already an amazing feat, but just think if you do so in women’s soccer, which has fallen victim to the neglect of both the leaders and, why not say it, the to the macho society. From an early age, at my little town of Dois Riachos, in the interior of the state of Alagoas, I had to convince boys I could play ball. I used to always kick plastic bags up and down to prove to others that I could be just as good as anyone. People look down at a girl playing ball in the middle of a lot of boys. So did my family. But, as I said, when I make my mind up about something, I am the only person who can argue myself out of it. When I was 14, there was a scout from Vasco da Gama who took me to the club, where I started my professional career.

The hurdles to face were tremendous. Just think about it: In my country, the so-called “Country of Soccer,” my sport is still seen as an amateur endeavor. In Europe, many athletes live off of soccer, and are followed by thousands of fans. National and international championships have been around for a long time. Just to mention an example, the Swedish Women’s League has been around since 1988. Female Brazilian players continue fighting for the creation of a women’s league.

Read more here.

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