Becky Edwards couldn't ask for more in beginning her professional soccer career. A graduate of Downingtown West High School, Edwards gets to play each day in practice with the best player in the world, four-time FIFA player of the year Marta of Brazil.
Edwards and Marta are teammates in Women's Professional Soccer with FC Gold Pride. Based in Northern California, FC Gold Pride will make their only visit to Pennsylvania when they play the Independence in Sunday's 6 p.m. game at West Chester University.
Not only are these the top two teams in the league, with FC Pride (5-2-1) leading WPS while the Independence (4-2-2) are tied for second with Washington, but the arrival of Marta creates additional buzz.
"It's awesome being a teammate of Marta's," Edwards said in a phone interview. "She can do things most women can't do and her speed and athleticism is like no other woman I've seen."
That is only part of Marta's game. She combines flamboyance with a fierce will to compete.
"Her creativity and flair on the ball is in another class," Edwards said.
Edwards, 22, is a rookie from Florida State, where she was a two-time all-America and played for Mark Krikorian, the former head coach of the Philadelphia Charge.
She has started seven of eight games at midfield for FC Gold Pride and expects her own fan club of family and friends at the match.
"I'm really looking forward to coming home," she said.
Of course, the attraction of Marta should put a few people in the seats and a few members of the Independence on edge, especially the defenders.
"You have to make sure that you have a lot of help on defense against her," said Independence defender Allison Falk, who earlier in the week was named a starter for the WPS All-Star Game on June 30.
Marta, 24, led WPS with 10 goals last season. This year, she is tied for the league lead with four goals in eight games. She has taken 16 shots on goal.