GOAL - Seth Vertelney
Catarina Macario has said a chat with star forward Ada Hegerberg helped convince her to sign with European champions Lyon.
The U.S. women's national team prospect announced on Tuesday that she had signed with Lyon in a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Macario would have almost certainly been the first pick in Wednesday night's NWSL draft, but the former Stanford University star instead opted to begin her professional career in Europe.
The 21-year-old said that the opportunity to play at Lyon, combined with the ongoing pandemic's effects in the United States, drove her to sign with the French powerhouse.
"I just decided that through the Covid uncertainty and the restrictions we are facing that I just wanted to have consistent playing, especially ahead of the Olympics," Macario said on Tuesday.
"I am fresh out of college and I was looking for a new adventure. I think the best thing for me is to experience a new culture and learn from the best in the world. I know that in OL I’ll have all the facilities, all the resources that I can get in order to become the best player that I can be. I think that spending two and a half years there will really take me to the next level."
Macario was born in Brazil but is now a U.S. citizen, and is waiting on clearance from FIFA to play for the USWNT. She has been called into January's training camp but is not eligible to play in the team's two friendlies against Colombia later this month.
After winning the Hermann Trophy as the best collegiate player in the U.S. in consecutive years, Macario had pro offers from around the world.
She revealed that speaking with Ballon d'Or winner Hegerberg helped move her closer toward joining Lyon.
"I have talked to Ada. I hopped on a phone call with her actually a few weeks ago," Macario said. "She was telling me about Lyon and we were talking about how we want to become a really strong duo and just take the team to a new level.
"I think we’re both just very excited to play with each other. She said how she’s excited to play with a very smart player, which was very flattering to hear from one of the best in the world."
Though she turned down the chance to play in the NWSL, Macario did say that she sees herself playing in the American top flight at some point in the future.
"I would love to play in the NWSL one day and I know that will happen," Macario said. "I’m not sure necessarily when but obviously as an American it’s my dream to play where I reside and so I’ll definitely be coming back."