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Catarina Macario ‘happy to be back’ training with Chelsea

USWNT midfielder Catarina Macario signed with Women's Super League club Chelsea in June. (Clive Howes/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

USWNT and Chelsea star Catarina Macario is back on grass and training in cleats.

After Chelsea women posted a photo of Macario in warm weather training, Macario wrote that she is “Happy to be back on the field” in response.

It’s a welcome sign for Chelsea and U.S. women’s national team fans everywhere, after Macario’s status remained in limbo late into 2023. The star midfielder tore her ACL with Lyon in the Women’s Champions League final back in June of 2022.

In November, Chelsea coach and soon-to-be USWNT manager Emma Hayes said that it was unlikely Macario would make her return in 2023. Interim USWNT head coach Twila Kilgore had said earlier that month that Macario was “integrating at Chelsea” but wasn’t yet ready for international minutes.

“When you’ve been out a long time, this isn’t about me withholding something, this is about the recognition that – with all the will in the world – you can’t just put a player on the grass with a knee history, and sometimes if the knee blows up, you then have to come back off it again,” Hayes told Forbes.

Macario signed with Chelsea in June of 2023, but has yet to compete for the WSL club. Earlier this week, Hayes said that she was excited to finally include Macario – as well as forward Maika Hamano – in the lineup. And it comes at the right time, as star forward Sam Kerr tore her ACL in training and will be out for the remainder of the season.

“Cat and Maika are going to feel like new signings for us,” Hayes said. “That’s why we built the squad like this. We knew there would be more games coming in the second half of the season.”