The U.S. men's national team has often had a strong foreign contingent. Such players as 1998 World Cup captain Thomas Dooley and current teenage phenom Sergino Dest grew up overseas but, thanks to an American parent, were eligible to play for the U.S. — even though both hardly spoke English before joining.
The women's team hasn't needed to recruit players in the same way. But phenom Catarina Macario, who was just called up for her first national team camp, is aiming to flip the script — a foreign-born player who's here by choice, rather than because she wasn't getting the call from the national team in her own country.
Macario, Brazilian by birth, moved to the United States at the age of 12 for both a safer life and to pursue her soccer dreams. (The mind boggles at imagining a male Brazilian making a similar move, but Brazil has a history of ignoring women's soccer.) After landing at Stanford, she took college soccer by storm, winning the Hermann Trophy twice as the nation's standout player — just like her idol, Mia Hamm.
With 63 goals in 68 college games, Macario — recently naturalized as an American citizen — would bring both youth and firepower to a team where the best-known attackers are on the veteran side of 30.
• Five Americans played on Tuesday in the Champions League, setting a record. Dest, now at Barcelona, and goalkeeper Ethan Horvath at Belgium's Club Brugge joined Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), and Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), breaking the previous record of three.
• The first El Clásico of the season is Saturday, but it's hard to remember the last time Barcelona and Real Madrid were both stumbling so badly coming into the match. Madrid lost twice this week, to Cadiz in Spain and to Shaktar Donetsk in the Champions League. Barcelona lost last weekend to Getafe and remains in disarray after a tumultuous summer.
MLS: LA Galaxy at LAFC, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 5. Some LAFC fans hate the name "El Tráfico" for these games. This is because they are humorless and self-absorbed. "El Tráfico" is a great name for what's quickly becoming one of the league's best rivalries, and I will not let it drop. The Galaxy is in last place but has topped LAFC twice this season already.
Writer Jon Marthaler gives you a recap of recent events and previews the week ahead. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org