Picture : Catarina Macario, the US young star already in Lyon. She is the 11th US Player to sign with The World's Best Club of the Decade 2011-2020, Olympique Lyon. Hope Solo (2005), Megan Rapinoe (2013/14) and Alex Morgan (2017) also played in Lyon !
Catarina Macario : A long shot from São Luís to Lyon
When she received approval from the FIFA to represent the world champions, US National women's soccer team, Catarina Macario wept tears of joy with her family. It was just 3 months ago she got her American citizenship. Catarina was on scouts radar since she wore San Diego Surfs colour. Groomed though Stanford University, again came to limelight on 8th January, 2021 just a day before the FIFA Sanction, signed a contract to start professional career with record European champion Olympique Lyonnais. On 18th same month she debuted with four time World champions against Latin American rival Columbia and 4 days after she scored her first goal against the same faces. Finally the nine years journey, which starts from São Luís, Brazil, met its first level. 21 year old Catarina recalls all those years' hardships vividly.
Catarina's first Goal for USA against Colombia
Like many other Women footballers Catarina starts her football life with the boys team at very young age. Raised in a São Luís neighborhood, Catarina followed her brother Steve's steps to join a local boys club at the age of 4. After a few years at Cruzeiro Football academy, her family shifted to Brasilia, capital of Brazil, where her mother worked as a surgeon. There she went to Santos school until they stopped to permit play with the boys team at her age 12. After her 12th birthday, opportunity in football reduced very much, which caused her family to take a big leap.
Her parents made a difficult decision, on behalf of her gifted career. With her father and brother, Catarina went to the USA, leaving her mother in brazil to work for financial support. Catarina’s family faced many troubles in their first days of San Diego. One among them was a language issue. Lack of the presence of her mother added more hard times. Sacrifices of her parents drive energy through young Catarina to achieve her goals. In other words, all those pressures guided and shaped her career to this day. She developed as a stylish play maker and best finisher in youth club San Diego Surfs in a few years. Many college scouts were behind her while she was playing in middle school. She got national attention after she received a scholarship from Stanford university. She won many titles and awards with the Stanford Cardinal.
Catarina confirmed her mission to join the USWNT team even before she moved to the USA. Which caused her to reject many offers from Brazilan youth and senior national teams. Meanwhile she enjoyed the US national youth ranks since 2012. One of her long held dreams came true finally last year after she received US Citizenship. Three months later the second wish was achieved by joining the US National women's team. While everyone thought her professional career with any NWSL clubs, Macario's decision to start with European giants Lyon made one of the biggest women's soccer titles in 2021.