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.
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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.”