Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cardinal will defend its national title in the spring. (Special NCAA rules introduced for athletes in fall 2020 sports would have allowed Macario to return for the fall 2021 season.)
In three seasons, Macario:
-- Led Stanford to two national championships (2017 and 2019);
-- Won back-to-back Hermann Trophies (2018 and 2019);
-- Tallied 63 goals and 47 assists in 68 games.
"This was not an easy decision by any means," wrote Macario in a statement, "because, even after having fulfilled my graduation requirements, I wanted to compete for another championship with my teammates and represent Stanford as a senior. This program means the world to me; I would not be the person nor player I am today without it and I will be forever grateful for the coaches, teammates, fans, medical, equipment and media staff for making my time on The Farm so unforgettable."
Macario was born in Brazil and moved to the United States when she was 12 along with her father and brother to pursue her soccer dreams. (Her mother remained in Brazil to continue her medical practice.) Macario played for the San Diego Surf and attended Torrey Pines High School.
Macario, 21, recently gained her U.S. citizenship, allowing her to join the U.S. women's national team as soon as she is cleared by FIFA under its new rules relaxing the criteria for naturalized players to play for their adopted country. Without them, she would have had to wait until her 23rd birthday -- in October 2022 -- to play for the USA.
The new criteria no longer tie Macario down to residing in the United States until her 23rd birthday.
The NWSL's new compensation rules have been relaxed, so a team could pay a player like Macario more. Whether that's enough to match an offer from a European team like French club Lyon or one of the elite clubs in England's WSL remains to be seen.
What is clear is that Macario is a special player, the best American who has turned pro since the NWSL launched in 2013.
In an interview with Soccer America's Mike Woitalla three weeks ago: Stanford's Paul Ratcliffe was asked what makes Macario special. Here's what he said:
"Technically and tactically, she's is an incredible player. She has the highest level of skills and also the brain for game. From that standpoint, she could fit in anywhere in the world and play at the highest level. Then there's her finishing ability and her passing ability. Creating goals and scoring goals -- she can do both. She's really balanced in that. That's what really separates her. Usually you could be the best No. 10, where you create goals for others, but to be able to do both at the highest level is remarkable."<