Catarina Macario, USWNT star sidelined by ACL injury, will miss 2023 World Cup
Catarina Macario, the brightest young star in US women’s soccer so far suffered a torn ACL last June, said Tuesday that she will miss the World Cup this summer while she continues to recover from the injury.
Macario, now 23, said in a statement, “Although I am very excited and optimistic about my future as a footballer, I am sad to say that I will not be physically ready to be selected for the our USA World Cup team. “
Macario suffered the injury on June 1, 2022, while playing for French club side Lyon, the European champions. At the time, she was the club’s leading scorer and an integral part of the growing US women’s national team. She just became the first American to score in a Champions League final. A versatile attacker, she considered herself a starting star at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The injury required surgery and created uncertainty. But it was still believed that Macario would recover in time for the World Cup, which at the time was 13 months away. Her recovery, however, took longer than expected.
In early February, USA head coach Vlatko Andonovski said Macario was “doing well. She’s going back to Lyon to start team training in mid-February, and then hopefully we’ll see her ‘ start playing for her club team sometime in the second half of March.”
In April, however, Macario had not yet returned to France. She was still in Qatar, where she had been resting for months at Aspetar, an internationally renowned sports medicine facility. Andonovski and others around the program were less optimistic.
From Doha, Macario spoke from time to time about his aspirations for the World Cup. A picture of the cup, which she had set as her phone’s home screen, reminded her every day. “The desire to return to play for my club and my country has fueled my training and fueled my daily life,” she said on Tuesday.
“However, the most important thing right now is my health and being fit and ready for my next club season,” continued Macario in her statement. Her contract at Lyon is expiring, and she would sign for Chelsea, the 2022-23 Women’s Super League champions in England.
“I am eternally grateful to Aspetar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital for always supporting and guiding me in my rehabilitation, and to US Soccer and Vlatko Andonovski for prioritizing my long-term health over ambitions individual and collective,” she said.
The USWNT, meanwhile, will miss her creativity and goal-scoring ability in Australia and New Zealand, where the World Cup begins on July 20. striker with Andonovski, but he can play anywhere in the attacking third or at the top of midfield.
With Mal Swanson also sidelined with a serious knee injury, the United States will now be without two of their main attacking threats as they pursue a three-peat for the World Cup. In his absence, Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan and Trinity Rodman are the most likely front three. And Alyssa Thompson, an 18-year-old rookie who has exploded in the Women’s National Football League this spring, will have a real chance to make the record of 23 women.
Macario’s first major competition could come next summer at the Olympics in Paris.