The U. S. Women’s National Team is in town hosting their January training camp, which will conclude with a pair of friendlies against Colombia on Jan. 18 (7 p.m. ET, FS1) and Jan. 22 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Where you may ask? At our home, Exploria Stadium. Lucky us!
I could write one million reasons as to why fans should look forward to watching the World Cup champs before the SheBelieves Cup (also happening at Exploria Stadium), but I narrowed it down to only three. You’re welcome.
Here are my Top 3 reasons as to why you should look forward to the friendly games against Colombia:
It’s simple: Catarina Macario
Please excuse me as I wipe down the tears off my face and start with what hurts the most. My fellow Brazilian-American is now cleared by FIFA to represent the U.S. Women’s National Team in international play. Why the tears? I’m just thinking about the Feb. 21 Brazil vs. USA game where she could definitely give us (the Brazilians) some trouble to defend.
Macario has been called up to training by U.S. WNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski three times despite not being able to play an official match. However, it’s time to get your cameras ready because with the clearance from FIFA, the friendlies against Colombia may be the first time that we will get to see Catarina Macario wearing the red, white and blue jersey at the senior level.
Can she play for both national teams at the same time? Asking for a friend…
A Shot of Nitro Please
Imagine being an elite soccer player and having to train and pass the ball for months against a wall. No fun. Following the lockdown, the U.S. WNT only got one game in — a 2-0 win at the Netherlands on Nov. 27 — and some players were overseas or playing in the NWSL but let’s be real, there’s something special about being able to consistently step on the pitch to represent your country. Especially against a fierce opponent like Colombia, where the last time they faced each other ended in a 2-2 draw during the 2016 Olympics in Manaus (my hometown!), Brazil.
We can expect all of them to go from 0 to 100 real quick.
It’s Just a Friendly
HA, fooled you. Every single game counts. All 27 players on the January Camp roster are currently fighting for a spot on the Olympic roster that is capped at 18 so that means every day is a chance to make that decision difficult for Andonovski.
Friendly matches are also a great opportunity to see what the next generation of the U.S. WNT will look like because all players have an honest chance of stepping onto the field, especially the youngsters.
The level of competition between this group is through the roof, which makes things even more exciting for us when we get to see that competition on the field. Every training session and every game counts for the players who want to prove why they deserve to be in Tokyo this summer.
While both matches will be aired nationally, US Soccer has made a limited amount of tickets available for fans. More information on ticketing and safety protocols for the friendlies can be found here.