Brazilian-born Catarina Macario had an eventful day: she got called into training camp with the U.S. women’s national team and she became a U.S. citizen.
The Stanford midfielder is one of four college players who were invited Thursday to take part in the U.S. team's first gathering in some seven months. That same day, she announced on social media that she had become a citizen.
“In January 2012, I moved to the beautiful city of San Diego with my dad, mom, and brother in search of the American dream. I immediately felt at home and that I belonged. I am now proud to say that today this dream came true,” she wrote. “After a long and amazing day, I am honoured and humbled to have received an invitation to the USWNT training camp... and officially be sworn in as a citizen of the United States.”
The two-time winner of the MAC Hermann Trophy as the nation’s best college player, Macario had a Stanford single-season record of 32 goals and 23 assists last year. This is the first time Macario has been called into a senior national team camp.
Macario is still unable to appear in a match with the national team. U.S. Soccer must ask FIFA, soccer's international governing body, for permission.
However, a new rule change could help her appeal. FIFA previously held that a player had to live in a country for five years after their 18th birthday to be eligible. Now, it's five years from arrival.
On a conference call Friday with reporters, U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said he's excited for Macario's new chapter. Andonovski himself became a citizen in 2015.
“Anyone who has seen Catarina play in college can tell that she’s a special talent," Andonovski said. “She’s incredibly skilful , can score in many different ways, and it’s just fun to watch. She’s got a flair."
Andonovski called in 27 domestic-based players for the camp, leaving regulars who are currently playing in Europe off the roster, including Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis, Tobin Heath, Christen Press and Alex Morgan.
The camp will run Oct. 18-28 in Commerce City, Colorado, with players sequestered in a hotel because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the reigning World Cup champions have gathered since the SheBelieves Cup in March.
Twenty-three of the players are currently playing in the National Women’s Soccer League, including uncapped players Sarah Gorden of the Chicago Red Stars and Shea Groom from the Houston Dash.
“I need to see how they react to the environment, the speed and intensity," Andonovski said about the new players. “This camp will be a great experience for them because it’s obvious that the more experienced players, especially the ones overseas, are not going to be here.”
The NWSL's season was scuttled because of the pandemic. Eight of the league's teams played in a tournament this summer in Utah. Now back in local markets, the teams are playing a regional fall series.
Morgan, who is making her way back after the birth of her daughter, went to Europe to get competition time with the Olympics looming next year. The United States has already made the field for the Tokyo Games.
Morgan went to Tottenham, Press and Tobin Heath signed with Manchester United, and Lavelle and Mewis joined Manchester City.
Megan Rapinoe has opted out of the camp because of injury concerns. Carli Lloyd, Mallory Pugh and goalkeeper Adrianna France are out with injuries and Julie Ertz has a family commitment.
“Megan Rapinoe and some of the other players, who are injured players like Carli Lloyd, and the ones that are overseas, they’re all in our plans,” Andonovski said. “I mean, we know that they still have some high-quality games in their feet.”
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Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press