U.S. women's national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski has said he is "confident" that Stanford prodigy Catarina Macario will be eligible to play for the USWNT by the time the Tokyo Olympics take place next summer.
Macario was born in Brazil and moved to the U.S. at age 12 before going on to become a star at Stanford University. Now 21, Macario is considered a can't-miss talent after winning the Hermann Trophy — the highest individual honor in collegiate soccer — in back-to-back seasons.
On Friday, Macario announced on Twitter that she had secured her U.S. citizenship, but also added that "there is still a ways to go to be eligible to play for the USA."
Having become a U.S. citizen, Macario will now apply to FIFA to obtain her eligibly for the USWNT. With the rescheduled Olympics nine months away, Macario is in a race against time to be eligible for the 18-player U.S. roster heading to Japan.
On a conference call Friday, Andonovski said he believes Macario will win that race.
"From the logistical standpoint, the next step is a U.S. passport which she already applied for and hopefully will get soon," Andonovski said. "Then we’ve got to get permission from FIFA so she can get her eligibility for the U.S. national team.
"I’m pretty confident, obviously confident in our federation, [U.S. Soccer managing director of administration] Tom King – he’s been through this, he’s done it before so I think that she will be ready for Tokyo."
Though Macario only received her first USWNT call-up this week for the team's upcoming training camp in Colorado, the forward's ability should place her in the mix for playing time whenever she become eligible.
"Anyone who has seen Catarina play in college can tell she’s a special talent," Andonovski said. "She’s incredibly skillful, can score in many different ways and is just fun to watch. She’s got flair, she’s very creative and she’s got the ability to create chances and score goals that anyone would welcome on their team."
Recent FIFA rule changes mean that anyone like Macario, who arrived in their country between the ages of 10 and 18, will be eligible for their senior national team after living in the territory for five years total.