Catarina Macario's dreams come true -- and she gives back to her parents

The U.S. women's national team has a tradition for new players.

It awards a game ball to each player after she earns her first cap and scores her first goal.

Catarina Macario earned two game balls this week, one each she'll give to her mother and father.

The Brazilian-born forward made her long-awaited debut for the USA in its 4-0 win over Colombia on Monday, and she scored her first goal less than three minutes into her first start in the USA's 6-0 win over the Cafeteras in Friday's rematch in Orlando.

"I came here because the U.S. is the land of opportunity," said Macario, who moved to San Diego from Brasilia with her father, Jose, and brother Estevao when she was 12 to take advantage of the area's strong girls soccer culture and then attended Stanford. "It was just a dream that a little girl had when I was 10 or so, and the fact that it actually happened today -- I have a lot of aspirations but I will definitely say that two of them were realized today."

Macario's mother, Ana Maria, remained in Brazil to concentrate on her medical practice and support the family.

"This would not have been possible without them, from the start," said Macario of her parents after Friday's game.

She was born in Sao Luis, a city in Brazil’s northeastern state of Maranhao, and wanted to start playing soccer when she was 4, like Estevao, who was two years older. She needed permission from her father, however.

"Even when I was 4 years old," she said, "my dad actually letting me play soccer was a big decision."

Soccer was dominated by males, and young females simply weren't encouraged to play, but Macario's father made an exception. (Jose told Stanford's David Kiefer that he made a deal with his daughter -- he agreed to enroll Catarina in soccer school if she would eat beans, which she hated.)

As Macario grew up, moving to Brasilia and then San Diego and starring at Stanford, she looked up the stars of the U.S. women's national team whom she had to speak in front of this week.

"Essentially, I just told them how surreal it was," she said of the speech she gave after earning her first game ball, "how just unbelievable it was I was actually playing with people I grew up watching. This week, I had a lot of dreams come true and I’m so grateful."
3 comments about "Catarina Macario's dreams come true -- and she gives back to her parents".
  1. R2 Dad, January 23, 2021 at 11:32 p.m.

    "I came here because the U.S. is the land of opportunity," 

    She's going to be an excellent citizen, with game-changing skills. Rapinoe comments seem to confirm what we thought we might see from her play.

  2. John Mullen, January 24, 2021 at 12:53 p.m.

    I am continually disappointed that articles on SA always mention a player's college, but almost never mention the player's youth club, which helped to get them into the college in the first place.  Macario moved to San Diego so she could play for the San Diego Surf Soccer Club, which has been a power in girl's soccer for a long time.

  3. Ric Fonseca replied, January 25, 2021 at 6:53 p.m.

    Mr. Mullen, while I agree with your comment that SA ought to mention a player's youth club/organization, it is perhaps up to the editors - not the writers so much - to pay closer attention to a player's background/player's bio.  In addition, note must also be taken to mention that a player's socio-economic background plays into the scene, i.e. her mother's professional medical career, but what about her father's?  Lastly, the SD Surf Club has always been one of the youth soccer diamonds of the area, and it is not a "fly-by-night" club,  Golly and gee willikers, I vividly remember when my children first played ayso to the tune of $35 to register, then moving on to a club that charged $50.00 and recycled their uniforms!!!   Back in the day, we parents also foresaw the day when the costs would skyrocket putting many parents at a disadvantage.  But, it is obvious that Ms. Macario's parents did right by their children and for this I applaud them, and of course Miss Macario!  Saludos y felicidades!!!

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