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Chelsea welcome rising USWNT stars Catarina Macario and Mia Fishel

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

Catarina Macario and Mia Fishel are fitting right in at Chelsea.

Although the pair are still learning the pronunciations of London’s Tube stations, their connection has brought them from the San Diego Surf youth soccer club all the way to one of the game’s biggest stages: the English Women’s Super League.

Emerging stars for the U.S. women’s national team, Macario and Fishel already have turned their names into a portmanteau — “Catfish” — and are looking forward to connecting on the pitch for club and country.

They’re set to help Chelsea defend the WSL title for a fifth straight season. And while they’re the biggest American names in the WSL right now, they’re not the first USWNT players to make the leap across the pond. Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle, Tobin Heath and Christen Press all played England in past seasons.

“They’ve always praised how intense the WSL is, how competitive it is,” Macario told the Daily Mail. “They’ve also told us where to go to buy some nice winter coats!”

Macario and Fishel come to Chelsea from different professional clubs, Macario from 2022 Champions League winners Olympique Lyonnais and Fishel from Liga MX’s Tigres UANL.

Fishel finished 2022 as Liga MX’s leading scorer, and the 22-year-old forward believes the environment in the Mexican league pushed her to be a better player.

“I decided to trust myself and go to another league [from the NWSL] which was an amazing experience. A new culture, a new language, and the best team in Mexico,” she told the Daily Mail. “I had like seven or eight national team players from Mexico on my team. It was a great environment that pushed me. I was able to flourish there.”

The 2023-24 WSL season kicks off Sunday, with Chelsea facing off in a London derby against Tottenham. While Fishel is set to compete right away alongside star players including Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby, Macario still is making her way back from an ACL tear. And while the 23-year-old midfielder is hoping to be back soon, she isn’t in any rush.

“It’s taken a little bit longer than I’d hoped for anyone would have expected,” Macario said. “One reason why I chose to go to Chelsea, Emma (Hayes) really focuses on doing the little things off the field. I feel like she has created a culture, not only on the pitch but off the pitch and really taking care of her players – not pressuring them to come back earlier than what they’re supposed to. I’m really happy where I am right now, I really trust the medical team here.”

The Late Sub Podcast: Can the USWNT Medal?

The USWNT takes a silly face photo during their team Olympic photo shoot
The USWNT will begin their 2024 Olympic medal hunt on Thursday. (Brad Smith/ISI/Getty Images).

This week, JWS podcast host Claire Watkins discusses WNBA All-Star Weekend, which felt both like a celebration of the league's explosive growth over the past year and a way to set Team USA up for a particularly competitive Summer Olympics.

Later, Watkins previews the field for the upcoming Olympic soccer tournament, nominating her personal "Group of Death" and discussing whether or not the new-era USWNT could still reach medal contention despite their current rebuild under new head coach Emma Hayes.

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Team USA, Germany Play Pre-Olympic Exhibition Game in London

Team USA's 5x5 Basketball Team stands for the National Anthem before Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game
Team USA looks to rebound from Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game loss in an exhibition against Germany today. (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

USA Basketball's 5x5 team will tip off in an exhibition against Germany in London this afternoon, getting in one last tune-up before the Summer Olympics begin.

The US is hunting an eighth-straight gold medal this year, with group stage play starting on July 29th.

Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to face Germany in pre-Olympic exhibition.
Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to take on Germany in London. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

US to use All-Star loss as fuel

Coming off the weekend's All-Star Game loss, the Olympians are ready to repeat history: They earned their Tokyo gold medal immediately after losing the first Team USA vs. Team WNBA All-Star Game back in 2021.

Breanna Stewart, who led Team USA with a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double on Saturday, said that the defeat "is going to help us tremendously. We don’t get that many game opportunities, [and now] we can go back and watch the film and focus on how we can continue to be better."

Today’s tilt against Germany will see the US work to lock in their defense, particularly in the paint. They'll also lean into their positional versatility before heading to Paris.

WNBA pro Satou Sabally leads Team Germany in today's pre-Olympic exhibition game against Team USA.
WNBA pro Satou Sabally helped Germany to their first-ever Olympic berth. (Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Olympic debutants Germany enter first US clash

The exhibition marks the first-ever US-Germany linkup. The German team will make their Olympic debut in Paris after decades of failing to qualify for major international competitions. Their sixth-place 2023 EuroBasket finish sent them into February’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where they punched their ticket to the 2024 Games.

Leading Germany's run was two-time WNBA All-Star Satou Sabally, who put up career-high averages in points, rebounds, assists, and steals with Dallas last season. Her 20-point, 11-rebound double-double was the difference-maker in Germany's must-win 73-71 Olympic qualifying victory over Brazil.

Other German players to watch include 2022 NY Liberty draft-pick — and Sabally's sister — Nyara Sabally, along with Liberty sharpshooter Leonie Fiebich.

Where to watch the Team USA vs. Germany game

Today’s exhibition tips off at 3 PM ET with live coverage on FS1.

1v1 With Kelley O’Hara: USWNT Star Jaedyn Shaw Is Expecting “Dubs All Around”

retired uswnt star kelley o'hara interviewing san diego wave and uswnt forward jaedyn shaw
'1v1' is back with Jaedyn Shaw joining Kelley O'Hara for a conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics. (Just Women's Sports)

In the latest episode of Just Women's Sports' 1v1 With Kelley O'Hara, San Diego Wave and USWNT star Jaedyn Shaw joins two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Kelley O'Hara for a one-on-one conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics.

We hear from the 19-year-old Wave FC phenom about her first impressions of new USWNT coach Emma Hayes, her experience with international competition at this point in her young career, and how she's preparing to take on the 2024 Summer Games.

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The 91st: Complete USWNT & Olympic Soccer Preview Featuring Jess McDonald

Logo for JWS USWNT Olympic show The 91st
The latest season of JWS' awarding-winning Olympics show 'The 91st' premieres today. (Just Women's Sports)

We're back! Hosts Jordan Angeli, Duda Pavao, and retired USWNT forward Jess McDonald deliver a full preview of this year's Olympic soccer tournament in Paris.

Watch for full analysis of USWNT manager Emma Hayes's coaching style, this team's shifting identity in this new USWNT era, and a projected starting XI for the team's group stage opener against Zambia. The 91st hosts also break down all three Olympic groups — including top players and teams to track throughout the tournament — plus give their predictions for the medal rounds and individual awards.

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