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Macario looks forward to daily challenge at Lyon — and NWSL in the distant future

Brad Smith/ISI Photos

Catarina Macario is the most anticipated women’s college soccer prospect in some time. Her signing with Lyon has been viewed through the lens of the ongoing identity crisis the National Women’s Soccer League ostensibly faces as a single entity in an otherwise-free global market.

Macario, however, made the decision of where to sign her first professional contract through a singular, personal lens. Lyon, the five-time reigning European champions, coveted the soon-to-be United States international for some time, and the interest was mutual.

“I just wanted to have consistent playing, especially ahead of the Olympics,” said Macario, who on Wednesday received her FIFA clearance to play for the United States after becoming a citizen in October. “I am fresh out of college and I’m just looking for a new adventure. The best thing for me is to just 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 spending two and a half years there will really take me to the next level.”

Money was not the driving force, Macario said on Tuesday, but it is true the Lyon has more to offer than any NWSL team could, even with NWSL teams’ ability to pay six figures through allocation money. Macario will comfortably make that and, by some unconfirmed accounts, a few rungs up that six-figure ladder.

Catarina Macario is the future — and maybe the present — of the USWNT

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