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Brazil’s Ary Borges shines at the FIFA World Cup

The young midfielder bursts onto the stage by scoring a hat trick and an assist against Panama

Mundial Fútbol Femenino
Ary Borges celebrates her third goal in the Brazil vs. Panama match at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.MATT TURNER (EFE)
Jordi Quixano

In late June, Ary Borges arrived at the Granja Comary headquarters and main training center of Brazil’s national soccer teams in Teresópolis (near Rio de Janeiro). She was wearing a black shirt with a silhouette of her teammate’s face – Marta Vieira da Silva – the country’s best player and a six-time FIFA award winner. Known simply as Marta, the Brazilian star holds records as the national team’s top scorer overall (115) and in World Cups (17 in 20 games). However, in their recent match against Panama, Borges hogged the spotlight by scoring a hat trick (three goals) and an assist in Brazil’s 4-0 win. After an astonishing display of brilliance that left spectators in awe, Borges was unexpectedly substituted at the 75-minute mark by none other than Marta.

Ary Borges made history at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide (New Zealand) as the youngest player to score a hat trick for Brazil in a World Cup, a feat previously achieved by Sissi and Pretinha (1999), and Cristiane (2019). “I’m really honored to be among these amazing players. I’m so thankful for their contributions to the Brazilian national team because they’ve really paved the way for women’s soccer,” said Borges, who wears number 17.

As a child, Borges lived in Maranhão (northeast Brazil) with her grandmother. Fortuitously, there was a soccer field right behind her house, and her uncle coached a boys’ team that included her cousins, who were always asking Borges to join in games. At the age of 10, Ary moved to São Paulo to be with her parents, who wholeheartedly encouraged her passion for the sport. They enrolled her in a boys’ team called Meninos da Silva, but she was only allowed to participate in training sessions. In her first match, she vividly remembers scoring a goal. The following year, her father noticed a group of girls wearing soccer jerseys at the Centro Olímpico (a professional women’s soccer club based in São Paulo) and wasted no time registering her in the program. This was the moment that launched her soccer career.

She quickly made the first team at Centro Olímpico and represented Brazil in lower-level international competitions. In 2017, Sport Recife recruited Borges, and she led her team to the Pernambuco championship two seasons in a row. As a result, São Paulo signed her up when the Brazilian soccer federation mandated top-tier clubs to form women’s teams. In 2020, she joined Palmeiras and later jumped to the Racing Louisville club (Kentucky) in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the United States. By that time, she had already become a star, shining both on and off the field.

Her joyful nature is evident on the soccer field, but she is also vocal on social media about the lack of support for women’s soccer. “I’m here to help people understand and embrace our cause. It would be amazing if other famous players could step up and defend this sport too. Their words would carry so much more weight than mine,” said Borges. She tries to answer her followers on social media every day, but may not have the time now that she has etched her name in Brazil’s history books. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long! It’s like a dream come true to be here and take part in a World Cup,” said Borges. “Honestly, it’s one of the best days of my life. I’m so, so happy! Obviously, because of the three goals, but mainly because it was my first World Cup game.”

Shortly after, FIFA informed her that she had been chosen as the best player of the match. Marta personally handed her the MVP trophy. “Scoring three goals in your debut? That’s not easy at all, so she was really blessed. And she even had an assist! I felt honored just to substitute for her,” said the star about her heir apparent.

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