Catarina Macario chooses Olympique Lyon over the NWSL

Catarina Macario, USWNT (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
Catarina Macario, USWNT (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images). /

Catarina Macario signed with Lyon just before the NWSL draft kicked off.

Catarina Macario’s name has been echoed throughout the college soccer world for the last few years. The Brazilian-American standout led the Stanford Cardinal to two NCAA titles and was crowned the MAC Hermann Trophy winner two years in a row as the best college player in the women’s game. In three seasons she scored a remarkable 63 goals in 68 games breaking the university’s single-season goal and assist records along the way.

Macario made the decision to forgo her senior year at Stanford which is not entirely surprising given the unusual experience most college athletes are having to endure at the moment.

No doubt NWSL coaches held out hope that the goal-scoring machine would kick off her professional career in the NWSL. Given her highly decorated resume she likely would have been the #1 draft pick, and having one of the top prospects of the year head elsewhere is disappointing for the league. However, no one can fault Catarina Macario for her choice. She aimed high and struck gold signing with Champions League winner Olympique Lyon.

Lyon is an absolute powerhouse. They’ve won the French league a startling 14 times and have proven their European dominance seven times as Champions League winners. Macario will be training and playing with the best of the best, and her time with the club certainly has the potential to propel her career to the next level.

The level of play she’ll face at Lyon will also help prepare her for the speed and quality of play of the USWNT. As USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski continues to call young talent into the national team camps, it’s no surprise Catarina Macario’s name was among that list for the January camp. Having recently received her US citizenship, Macario has just been cleared by FIFA to play games for the USWNT making her call up to the January camp particularly exciting.

With so many veteran forwards still dominating the game, it’s unlikely Macario’s name will be included in the upcoming Olympic roster, but she’ll undoubtedly be an important part of the USWNT going forward.

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The expectations are high for Macario as a newly minted professional athlete, but she certainly seems up for the task. Though her American fans will have less opportunity to see her play during the club season, she’ll likely continue to be on everyone’s radar as they wait to see what magic the young star will produce next.