Catarina Macario (left) can play for the USWNT vs. Colombia next week. (Photo courtesy of Stanford University)
CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer Wednesday received confirmation from FIFA that Catarina Macario has been approved to represent the U.S. women’s national team in international competition.
Born in São Luís, Brazil on the northern coast, Macario moved with her family to the capital of Brasilia as a young child. She then moved to the United States at age 12 with her father and brother in search of more opportunity, as her mother, who is a doctor, stayed behind in Brazil to support the family.
She played for the San Diego Surf at the youth level, developed into one of the top players in Southern California and was recruited to Stanford University, where she became one of the best collegiate players in recent memory. She twice won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the top college player in the country while helping lead the Cardinal to two NCAA Division I titles. She will soon graduate from Stanford with a degree in communication and a minor in psychology.
She is available for selection for the USA’s two upcoming matches against Colombia Jan. 18 (7 p.m. ET on FS1) and Jan. 22 (7 p.m. ET on ESPN2) at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
“I want to thank everyone at U.S. Soccer, past and present, for the opportunity and I sincerely appreciate the literal years of work that went into getting this done,” Macario said in a statement. “Now that I’m approved to play, it’s up to me to show the coaches I deserve to be on rosters and get playing time. Nothing is guaranteed, and everything needs to be earned, so it’s up to me to get my fitness to the level needed and keep learning every day. Just to be in the position is a dream come true and I’ll never take any of it for granted.”
Macario, who never represented Brazil at any level, had an epic day on Oct. 8, 2020, when in a span of a few hours she received her U.S. citizenship and was named to the roster to attend her first USWNT training camp. She attended the USA’s October training camp in Colorado and week-long camp and match in the Netherlands at the end of November before being invited to the January training camp currently being held in Orlando.
Macario, who announced her intention to turn professional last week and Tuesday signed with European and French power Olympique Lyonnais to begin her pro career, scored 63 goals and tallied 47 assists for Stanford in 68 career games. That included a remarkable 32 goals and 23 assists in 2019 while helping Stanford to the NCAA title. Stanford, along with the rest of the Pac-12 Conference and many conferences nationally, saw its 2020 fall season postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She became the third female player to obtain her eligibility to play for the USWNT through a process with FIFA, joining the Orlando Pride’s Sydney Leroux, who played on the youth level for Canada, and OL Reign’s Sofia Huerta, who played on the youth and senior levels for Mexico.
Macario is the first player born outside the USA who never played for the national team of her birth country to become eligible to play for the USWNT. Leroux was born in Vancouver. Huerta was born in Boise, Idaho.