Catarina Macario, the 23-year-old attacker who will be sorely missed by the USA at this summer's Women's World Cup, has left French Division 1 Feminine club Lyon for Chelsea of the England's Women's Super League. The move was reported as a free transfer.
"Cat is one of the most intelligent, creative attacking players in the world who I think will blossom in this Chelsea team," Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes said in the club's web site report. "She brings a great deal of flair, European experience, and an unbelievable winning mentality. I think our fans will really love her."
Born in Brazil, Macario arrived in California at age 12. She played ECNL youth ball for the San Diego Surf before helping Stanford win national championships in 2017 and 2019. She left after her junior season to join Lyon.
In her first full season aboard, Macario scored 23 goals in 34 games as Lyon won its record eighth UEFA Champions League title and its 15th French league title in 16 seasons. She became the first American to score in a Women’s Champions League final, Lyon's 3-1 win over Barcelona.
Macario suffered an ACL tear in June of 2022 in Lyon's last game of the season. Hopes that the player U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said "has the potential to be one of the best players in the world" would appear in the 2023 Women's World Cup ended when she announced on May 23 that she wouldn't be physically ready.
Chelsea celebrated its fourth straight Women's Super League two weeks ago and has won six of the league's last seven crowns. Its best UEFA Women's Champions League finish came with a 4-0 final loss to Barcelona in 2021. Chelsea fell to eventual champion Barcelona in this past season's UEFA Women's Champions League semifinals.
"I’ve been fortunate to have some great experiences in Europe already with Lyon, playing with many top players and of course winning the Champions League also," Macario said. "I hope to carry on those experiences here and bring home the trophy for Chelsea as well."
Macario was presented the No. 9 jersey by Chelsea general manager Paul Green upon her signing.
"I can play either as a No. 10 or a more traditional No. 9 and I’m looking forward to linking up with so many good forward players such as Sam [Kerr], Lauren James and Guro [Reiten]. It will be good to play with Kadeisha [Buchanan] again also."