The first time I’d seen the nearly invincible Catarina Macario play, she was already a more or less established club star by the loose definition of the term. Stars don’t exist, or at least as we know them to exist, at the youth level. But within the parameters of elite club soccer, Macario’s light was as bright as anyone’s.
By the time the ECNL playoffs rolled around under a loose overhanging shelf of cloud in Seattle during the summer of 2014, Macario was in the process of polishing one of the most prolific individual seasons in ECNL history. The ECNL playoffs are a mere runway for U15, U16 and U17 teams in advance of the ECNL Finals later each summer, and that particular year Macario’s San Diego Surf U15 team was in the process of qualifying. As the pool where the country’s best girls players ultimately congregate, Macario’s Surf had their work ahead of them.