ECNL: Surfing up a 12-year old prodigy
By Jimmy LaRoue
It’s probably a lot to try and live up to already being compared to Marta as a 12-year old, but Brazilian Catarina Macário is doing her best, tallying a hat-trick in her ECNL debut for the San Diego Surf’s Under-14s in a 5-1 win over Strikers FC.
Macário also had an assist in Surf’s win, which puts them at 2-0-0 early on in the season.
The comparisons to Marta began for Macario back in Brazil at age nine.
Macário, who trained with Santos’ boys in Brazil, came to the U.S. because of what her family said were a lack of opportunities for female soccer players in Brazil. Already, she has caught the eye of U.S. Soccer staff, as she recently took part in the Under-14 girls national team training camp.
“We know that women’s football has no value in Brazil. Because of this lack of respect and encouragement, we decided to move here,” her father, José Macário, told Correio Braziliense in a quote translated into English.
According to the article, she and her family have not ruled out playing for the United States in the future.
Surf director of soccer Colin Chesters told soccernation.com about her exploits with the girls national team: “Catarina has a great understanding of the game and many special qualities. She plays with a smile on her face and loves to score goals. She has to be one of the nations top forwards in the age group, and she is playing up.”
See these stories about her from Brazil (in Portuguese):
Surf’s U-14s are one of four teams in the SoCal Conference at 3-0-0, along with West Coast FC, So Cal Blues and Arsenal FC. Surf’s ECNL clubs are a combined 14-1-0 to start the season. Surf’s U-15s, U-17s and U-18s are off to a 3-0-0 start as well, and the U-16s are 2-1-0. Surf’s U-17s gave up their first goal of the season but still showed strong in a 4-1 win over Strikers FC, getting two goals from Jessica Morales. The club’s U-18 girls are undefeated and unscored upon, and got a 4-0 win over Strikers behind a goal and an assist from Megan Abutin.
The schedule for much of the ECNL was light over the weekend, but there were other notable performances throughout the league.
FC Wisconsin Eclipse’s U-15s scored four goals for the second consecutive match, but this time they picked up the win over Sockers FC. The club split four games with Sockers, with the U-15s and the U-16s winning, 4-1 and 1-0, respectively, while the U-14s and U-17s lost by 3-1 and 3-0 margins, respectively.
“Overall, it was a good step forward for the teams,” said FC Wisconsin Eclipse director of coaching and ECNL president Christian Lavers on the club’s website. “The players really showed that they are embracing the principles this club stands for–work hard to defend, win the head ball battle, and share the ball aggressively–and it is paying off in improvement every day and results on the weekend.”
The U-15s got goals from Jen Wendling, Jess Cooley, Selena Nummerdor (U-14), and Camille Davre (U-14).
“The communication between the players on the field was tremendous,” said staff coach Ann Palm (Eshun) on the club’s website. “I was really impressed with the way the players encouraged each other, demanded things from each other and supported each other during the game.”
FC Wisconsin Eclipse’s U-16s won their first ECNL game of the season on a long-range strike from Danielle Sobelman in the 65th minute. “This should be a great confidence builder for this age group,” said FC Wisconsin Eclipse coach Monica White on the club’s website. “These players have put in a tremendous amount of work over the past 14 months, and to see it pay-off with a big turn-around in results from last year should show them that their sacrifices are paying off.”
In a matchup of two strong clubs, Michigan Hawks took two of three matches from Eclipse Select Soccer Club, with the U-14 Hawks winning 2-1 and the U-15s winning 1-0. In U-18s, Eclipse Select defeated Hawks 3-1.
In the southeast, Gwinnett Soccer Association’s U-16s got a hat trick from Amanda Vocelka and two assists from Jennifer Westendorf in a 6-0 win Sunday over Carolina Elite Soccer Academy, moving to 4-1-0 on the season. It was a tough weekend for CESA, as it also lost Saturday, 3-0, to first place Charlotte Soccer Academy.
Charlotte Soccer Academy’s U-18s, meanwhile, moved to 4-0-0 after its third one-goal win of the season, defeating CESA 3-2. CSA’s other one goal wins have been by 3-2 margins as well.
In the Texas Conference, Lonestar SC’s U-17s have started strong at 3-0-0, winning 4-1 over the weekend against Texas Rush and getting a brace from Mikaela Harvey. It was the first goal allowed by Lonestar on the season, while the Dallas Texans’ U-18s pitched their third straight shutout, defeating Solar-Chelsea SC 5-0 to move to 4-0-0.
This weekend, the ECNL holds its first showcase event of the season in Phoenix, Ariz. Look for soccerwire.com’s live coverage throughout the weekend event.