Catarina Macario announced on her Twitter today that she will officially turn professional and forfeit the last year of her NCAA eligibility.
“After much prayer and conversations with my family and loved ones, I am making the difficult decision to forego my senior season and take the next step in my soccer career by turning professional,” said the 21-year-old Macario.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Stanford! pic.twitter.com/4gmOu0OPF2— Catarina Macario (@catarinamacario) January 8, 2021
Where Macario goes next remains to be seen. Obviously given she recently obtained United States citizenship and has been called into multiple senior US women’s national team camps despite not yet having FIFA approval to actually play (it’s in the works, but no timeline on it yet, as per Vlatko Andonovski on a recent media call), the United States remains a strong option for her club career. However, it’s no longer 100% necessary for players to stay in the National Women’s Soccer League in order to be a more viable candidate for USWNT callups, particularly in Macario’s case, given just how badly USSF and Vlatko Andonovski want her on the pitch.
One clue here is that Macario may have signed with A&V Sports, which represents players like Ada Hegerberg, Sam Kerr, and Kadeisha Buchanan, all currently playing for European clubs.
Europe would certainly be a key destination for Macario if she were looking for a significantly larger payday than what a lot of NWSL clubs could offer, although with NWSL’s recent rules around paying players above the salary cap using allocation money, she could potentially find a competitive six-figure contract in the US as well. However, she might want to avoid the NWSL’s draft system entirely in order to approach whatever club she does want to join from a position of strength, transferring in after playing abroad.
Let’s not forget it’s not just the money; club-player fit is important, and Macario has surely had conversations with coaches about what environment would be most beneficial to her as a player. Let’s remember what she can do (video once again thrown up by A&V Sports):
Macario is one of the players where you see her play against other kids in college and you go, oh this isn’t fair, she’s clearly ready for the next level. The touches on the ball, the movement, the strikes. It would be entirely accurate if all of Vlatko Andonovksi’s scouting reports just said “chef kiss” under her name.
Where would you like to see Macario end up? Let us know in the comments!