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Catarina Macario snubs NWSL College Draft for Lyon

NWSL College Draft No. 1 pick prospect Catarina Macario chooses Olympique Lyon instead

January 12, 2021 By Juan Aguerrevere
Stanford midfielder Catarina Macario joins five-time reigning European champions, Lyon, on a two-and-a-half-year deal that runs through the end of the 2022-23 European season.

As the NWSL College Draft drew closer, the chances of Macarino taking part in the ceremony seemed to fade. Reports of the 21-year-old hinting at a move to Europe began to flood the media on Jan. 8 when she signed with A&V Sports, a sports agency that represents top players in the European market like Ada Hegerberg and Sam Kerr. A&V Sports even mocked the NWSL with a tweet a day before signing the two-time MAC Hermann Award winner confirming that she would snub the draft for a big move to Europe.

The two-time national champion with Stanford is on her way to France to join the world’s elite, Olympique Lyonnais. Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were the two other European clubs that made offers, but Lyon had been in talks with Macario for longer. 

Macario is considered a professional player after signing her contract and therefore should not be eligible for Wednesdays’ NWSL College Draft, according to The Equalizer. An NWSL team would have to place a discovery claim on her rights to try to get her to play in the league in the future. However, the likelihood of that happening is very unlikely given that she signed a multi-year deal.

The Brazilian-born American became a U.S. citizen in late 2020, and she is yet to make her senior-team debut as she awaits final FIFA approval. Macario joined the USWNT camp for the first time in November 2020 in the Netherlands but was unable to play the game against the Dutch national team. Nonetheless, the three-time ESPN Women’s Player of the Year is back with the USWNT for January camp and will train with the team leading up to the two matches against Colombia on Jan. 18 and 22. She will most likely not be available to play in either game. Fans hope that the final FIFA approval arrives before the SheBelieves Cup scheduled to start on Feb. 18.

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