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Catarina Macario expected to return to training with French club Lyon

(Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Ciancaphoto Studio/Getty Images)

Catarina Macario could be one step closer to making her return to the U.S. women’s national team after tearing her ACL last June. 

The 23-year-old is expected to return to practice with Olympique Lyonnais on Monday. She injured her knee in the final match of the 2021-22 Division 1 Féminine season with Lyon. 

While she was expected to return in February or March, her return was delayed, which kept her from Lyon’s run to the Champions League quarterfinals, which ended Thursday in a loss to Chelsea on penalties.

“Her return to Lyon was a little delayed, but she is doing quite well,” Lyon manager Sonia Bompastor confirmed to French news outlets.

Whether or not she sees game action is another story. Lyon still has some matches left in its domestic season, but Macario’s contract will be up with the club after that. Negotiations for a new contract are still ongoing.

“At the moment, I don’t yet have enough information to say if she will play with us again by then,” Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said. “We will take advantage of the international break to take stock with her.”

The club wants to see where Macario is, physically and mentally, as they make their plans moving forward, Aulas said.

In terms of Macario’s future, Barcelona and Bayern have both shown interest if she does not get a deal done with Lyon.

As for Macario’s return to the USWNT, she was not named to the roster for the team’s April friendlies against Ireland. That means the soonest she could play for the U.S. would be in the World Cup.

“I would say all of them are in return to play protocol,” Vlatko Andonovski said of Macario, Christen Press and Tobin Heath ahead of the friendlies, noting that all are in “a different stage” of their return to play. “I would say Catarina is a little bit ahead of Christen and Tobin, and she’s supposed to be on the field sometime beginning of next month.”

Still, any player wanting to make the World Cup will “have to be able to play in 90 minutes or play significant minutes in a professional environment,” he added. So Macario may have to make a return for Lyon this season if she wants a shot at the USWNT World Cup roster.