After announcing last week that she would forgo her senior year of eligibility to turn professional, midfielder Catarina Macario signed a 2.5-year deal with Olympique Lyonnais Féminin, the most successful club in the history of the French women’s soccer league (Division 1 Féminine). This means that Macario will be a committed Lyon player until after the 2022-2023 European soccer season.
Although German club Bayern Munich put up a hard fight for the young athlete, Macario instead chose Lyon — a team that has won seven Champions League titles, including a record five successive titles from 2016 to 2020, as well as 14 consecutive domestic league titles from 2007 to 2020.
Recently, multiple National Women’s Soccer League stars — including forwards Alex Morgan and Christen Press ’11 and midfielders Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis — have moved to Europe for the higher salaries as well as the ability to choose the team for which they play. If Macario had elected to instead stay in the U.S., she would have been forced to enter the NWSL Draft. The process gives the top pick to the team with the worst record, this year Racing Louisville FC. Macario was a favorite for the No. 1 overall pick (and might have become the fourth consecutive Cardinal to go first), but Louisville is not only an undoubtedly inferior team but also would offer a lower salary.
Although Macario will not be playing in the NWSL, her rights may still be drafted, preventing her from signing with another domestic club.
The senior’s popularity comes as no surprise given her success at the Farm. During her time, the Cardinal amassed a combined record of 69-2-3 and secured two NCAA championships and three Pac-12 titles. Macario was also named three-time ESPNW Player of the Year and earned two MAC Hermann Trophies.
For now, the midfielder will continue to participate in the USWNT January Training Camp as head coach Vlatko Andonovski observes contenders in preparation for final decisions regarding the 2021 Olympic roster.
Contact Samantha Leventis at samantha040602 ‘at’ gmail.com.