Viviana Villacorta: The First Latina Player Drafted in the 2021 NWSL College Draft

Viviana Villacorta is beaming with Pride

The Orlando Pride have selected the 21-year-old UCLA midfielder as the No. 9 pick in the first round of the 2021 NWSL College Draft. She’s the first Latina selected in this year’s draft.

Viviana Villacorta

Villacorta played in every match during her three-year tenure with UCLA, scoring seven goals and adding 16 assists during 71 total appearances with the Bruins. A California native, Villacorta is an efficient passer through the midfield whose extensive college experience could help her transition immediately into a role with the Pride.

It was the first draft pick for general manager Ian Fleming and executive vice president Amanda Duffy during their tenure with the Pride.

Villacorta will join a midfield unit that’s been a focal point for the Pride throughout the offseason. After strengthening the team’s backline depth in 2020, coach Marc Skinner focused on bringing in players who could increase the team’s on-ball possession to allow the Pride to command the tempo of matches.

The Pride will begin preseason training in Orlando on February 1, with the 2021 Challenge Cup slated to begin in mid-April.

Villacorta was coached at UCLA by Amanda Cromwell, a former U.S. women’s national team standout who coached at UCF in Orlando from 1999-2013.

Catarina Macario Signs Two-and-a-Half Year Deal with Lyon

Catarina Macario is future Lyon queen

The 21-year-old Brazilian soccer player and USWNT prospect, who recently announced plans to leave Stanford and go pro, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Lyon, the club has announced.

Catarina Macario

Macario announced on Friday that she’d forego the final year with Stanford in favor of turning professional.

ESPN reported on Monday that Lyon were leading the race for Macario with a contract on the table but that both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were also still interested in the midfielder.

“It’s an honor to have signed with such a fantastic club,” Macario said in a tweet.

“I can’t wait to get started and to continue to build on its legacy of success. Allez l’OL!”

Sources told ESPN that Macario was attracted to Europe rather than the National Women’s Soccer League as she wants to win the Champions League while competing in the Olympics and World Cup.

Macario scored 63 goals in 68 games for Stanford and contributed 47 assists.

She won the MAC Hermann Trophy twice and an NCAA College Cup in her three seasons at Stanford.

She became a United States citizen in October and has joined every USWNT camp since, including their ongoing January camp.

However, Macario is still waiting on approval from FIFA to allow her to play games with the national side.

She’ll travel to France after the USWNT training ends on January 22.

Catarina Macario Announces Plans to Turn Pro

Catarina Macario is ready to go pro…

The Brazilian-born Stanford midfielder and promising prospect for the United States women’s national soccer team, has announced she’ll forgo her senior season for a professional career.

Catarina Macario

Macario is currently on the roster for the national team’s January camp, which started this weekend in Florida.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Macario said it is time for her to start a “new phase in life.”

While Macario has been linked to European club teams, she could opt to stay in the United States and play for the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL draft is set for Wednesday.

Macario became a U.S. citizen in October, but she hasn’t yet received approval from FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, to play in a match for the national team. The U.S. has a pair of games against Colombia scheduled for later this month.

The two-time winner of the MAC Hermann Trophy as the nation’s best college player, Macario had a Stanford single-season record of 32 goals and 23 assists last season. She was called up to her first national team camp the same day she became a citizen.

Macario is one of three college players on the 27-player camp roster, along with North Carolina‘s Emily Lloyd and Florida State‘s Jaelin Howell. Lloyd and Howell also could be eligible for next week’s NWSL draft because of a waiver from the NCAA that allows drafted players to remain with their college teams this spring and join the NWSL following the season.