Katarina Macario, Makario, Meg Lenahan discussed on The Lead

The Lead


Soccer federation. Today, the athletics Meg lenahan joins us to talk about the rise of U.S. soccer's next potential superstar. Brazilian born, Katarina makario, and just how good she could become. So this is not a player that shies away from challenges. And I think that's a really good sign. And it feels like we are only at the beginning of the story and the ceiling feels just so high with her. Plus, the latest developments in the U.S. women's national team's fight for equal pay. From wondering the athletic, I'm Tiffany osinski. It's Thursday, March 3rd, and this is the lead. Meg lenahan, welcome back to the lead. Thank you for having me again. Yes, thank you for being here. Well, Meg, we want to ask you about the U.S. women's national team's next potential superstar Katarina macario, but before we dive into her story, the U.S. women just won their third consecutive she believes cup. Now, aside from makario, what were some of the things that jumped out to you about the team's performance in that tournament? This was really a different version of she believes cup that we've seen. First of all, because the competition felt a little different. It was teams like Iceland, Czech Republic, New Zealand. So right at the moment, the U.S. is competing with the upcoming Euros in Europe. So generally it tends to be stronger European talent that's coming into this tournament. They weren't able to get it. But this is also kind of now the evaluation period for the U.S. women's national team. Kind of knows what he's getting from players like Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, who are getting up there in years. And now the chance is for him to really take a look at the depth, the upcoming talent for this team, and also finally get kind of the next generation of talent, some real meaningful minutes together. And you're not necessarily getting that against a Germany or in England, but you need to get actual game minutes for players like Katarina macario, but also for the players around her so that way that chemistry starts to build, but you can scrimmage as much as you want, but you're not going to get that really without meaningful game minutes. And so this version of she believes felt really different from some of the other ones that we've seen over the years. Well, speaking of evaluating players and seeing what they can do, we did get to see 22 year old forward Katarina macario make two of the most eye popping moments of the tournament in a 5 nil win against Iceland. So can you walk us through her two goals in that match? Yeah, I mean, it was really funny because I think a lot of us have been waiting for Mercado to really kind of pop off right and get a game like this and we finally got it. But the first goal Ashley Sanchez plays this ball over the top out of the midfield and finds Katarina macario on the left wing. Has really no right to do what she actually ends up doing, but she takes a couple steps in towards the box basically squares off against the defender, gets the ball to her right foot and then sends in this beautiful shot from the edge of the box, which goes in off the post and into the goal. Floating to the left. Few takes up position in the middle. Makary on her right bets it into the. Goodness. Take a bow. So second goal for cap makario, the ball that malt you feeds across the face of goals, cap macario is way too far away from her and she's basically set up makes it turn with her right shoulder to get this chip over the ice and goalkeeper. Just missing makario. Makario the chip. Oh yes. Gig on aso. Another one for Katarina. I just remember watching it live and just some laughing because it's one of those goals that feels so absurd and just it shouldn't exist. Tries to cut it back and put it on her right foot. Little too much to pakaru. But again, out of the presence of mind to say, okay. What's given to me? And that's the other side of the goal. It's just from a technical standpoint. Absurd on every level. Now, die hard U.S. soccer fans have known about makario for years. But I think those two goals and her performance and that she believes cup really put her on the map in a new way. And before her eyes to start them, she had this very interesting journey from her native Brazil to the U.S. and into the national team. So can you tell us a little bit about that journey? Yeah, she comes to the U.S. at age 12. She's playing on boys teams and Brazil and then she hits that age and she knows, okay, I can't play with the boys anymore. And we have to make a move playing with the boys in Brazil was definitely challenging. I do not have a women seem to be a part of my face a lot of discrimination just for being a girl. There's a great story about her dad basically trying to Google to figure out where the strongest youth soccer program is in the U.S. and he lands on a website that basically calls San Diego the best of the best and that's where they end up. She goes to Stanford, which is right at the moment one of the strongest programs that is creating U.S. women's national team talent. And so there was kind of this question for a few years of, is she going to end up playing for the United States? Is she going to end up playing for Brazil? And she was always pretty clear. The dream was playing for the United States. I wanted to be part of something that actually valued women and women's soccer. And so in some ways, it just became an easy decision for me to root for the U.S., but also there is the paperwork side of things to go through. And originally the thought was, oh, it's going to happen in time for the 2023 World Cup. But because the Olympics got the lady here with COVID, she was actually able to get that paperwork across the line with a rule change from FIFA. In October, that was when I got my first call up to join the women's national team. And that is also when I finally got my citizenship. And so she got on the roster sooner and then was able to go to Tokyo with the team last summer, but did not really play a big role, which I think was honestly a little surprising for some of us who, again, the expectations are high for her. This was a player that a lot of folks thought she could just walk into a starting role on this national team and it's never going to be quite that simple, but now I think, especially with that performance against Iceland, I think we can expect to see a lot more of makario in the starting minutes assuming that the Leon, FIFA windows, everything lines up for. You interviewed makario last year just before she played in the international champions cup. What did you learn about her and her personality during that conversation? Yeah. Kat is just a great player to talk to for sure. She's very laid back. And I think she's always had a lot of media attention on her as kind of the next big thing, but she's also just a person who shows up and will sit down with you and kind of immediately kind of give you a little teasing for not wearing the sneakers that she's sponsored by and she's a super easy person to talk to. What is your coffee order? I pursue the caramel macchiato from sleek coffeehouse and sometimes I get a cheesecake depending to have a day off the next day or depending if I feel like I did well.

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