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By ESPN Staff

Brazil's Marta leads way in WPS international draft

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brazilian stars Marta, Daniela and Cristiane were selected in the first round of the Women's Professional Soccer international draft Wednesday.

Marta, considered the best player in the world, was taken by Los Angeles, while Daniela went to St. Louis and Cristiane was chosen by Chicago.

"We are excited about the possibility of Marta coming to Los Angeles. She is a player with tremendous talent and fan appeal and we believe she will be a great addition to the best women's professional soccer league, our franchise and our state-of-the-art facility," said Scott Hanley, the vice president of AEG Sports, the investors in the Los Angeles franchise.

Another Brazilian, Formiga, was chosen by the Bay Area franchise, while England's Kelly Smith went to Boston. Japan's Homare Sawa was selected by Washington, with Australia's Sarah Walsh going to the New York/New Jersey team in the first of four rounds.

In all, 10 Brazilian players were chosen. Also selected were players from Sweden, Canada, France, China and Iceland.

"Clearly there is a keen interest in Brazilian players, who bring a creative and dynamic rhythm of play," said WPS commissioner Tonya Antonucci. "And more broadly, from Asia to Australia, Europe to the Americas, it's exciting to see our teams looking to sign players from across the world to play in WPS in 2009."

The seven WPS teams begin play in April.


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