The U.S. men’s national team has often had a strong foreign contingent. Players like 1998 World Cup captain Thomas Dooley and current teenage phenom Sergiño Dest grew up overseas but, thanks to an American parent, were eligible to play for the USA — even though both hardly spoke English before joining.
The women’s team hasn’t needed to recruit players in the same way. But phenom Catarina Macario, who was just called up for her first national team camp, is aiming to flip the script — a foreign-born player who’s here by choice, rather than because she wasn’t getting the call from the national team in her own country.
Macario, Brazilian by birth, moved to the United States at the age of 12 for both a safer life and to pursue her soccer dreams. (The mind boggles at imagining a male Brazilian making a similar move, but Brazil has a history of ignoring women’s soccer.) After landing at Stanford, she took college soccer by storm, winning the Hermann Trophy twice as the nation’s standout player — just like her idol, Mia Hamm.
With 63 goals in 68 college games, Macario — recently naturalized as an American citizen — would bring both youth and firepower to a team where the best-known attackers are on the veteran side of 30.
• Five Americans played on Tuesday in the Champions League, setting a record. Dest, now at Barcelona, and goalkeeper Ethan Horvath at Belgium’s Club Brugge, joined Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), and Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), breaking the previous record of three.
• The first El Clásico of the season is Saturday morning, but it’s hard to remember the last time Barcelona and Real Madrid were both stumbling so badly coming into the match. Madrid lost twice already this week, to Cadiz in Spain and to Shaktar Donetsk in the Champions League. Barcelona lost last weekend to Getafe themselves, and remain in disarray after a tumultuous summer.
MLS: LA Galaxy at LAFC, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 5. There are LAFC fans that hate the name “El Tráfico” for these games. This is because they are humorless and self-absorbed. “El Tráfico” is a great name for what’s quickly becoming one of the league’s best rivalries, and I will not let it drop. The Galaxy are in last place but have topped LAFC twice this season already.
Writer Jon Marthaler gives you a recap of recent events and previews the week ahead. E-mail: [email protected]