In a career which has taken her from Brazil to the United States, then France and now London, Catarina Macario tells the story of her journey from bricks for goalposts to wearing Chelsea’s No9 shirt.

Born in Brazil, where the 24-year-old spent her early years, Macario made the daunting move away from everything she knew with the USA her destination, where she would lay the foundations for becoming one of the most exciting young prospects on the world stage.

Reflecting on her journey so far, the American international took us back to where it all began, including a pact with her father, while paying tribute to the unwavering support of her family and revealing more about the person behind the footballer.

Macario looked back to when she was a young girl growing up in Brazil, watching her brother train and making an agreement with her father, who encouraged her to be disciplined and committed in pursuit of her dreams.

‘I got into football at the age of four because I wanted to follow in my older brother’s footsteps,' explained Macario. 'I liked watching him train and I was running around chasing a football. My earliest memories are my Dad making a deal with me when I told him I wanted to play football. He knew that not many girls played soccer in Brazil at the time.

‘He wanted to make sure it was something I wanted to do, so he said you have to eat beans for a year because I hated eating vegetables! He made me do that for a whole year to make sure I was committed and it was something I wanted to do. I was playing with boys, playing at recess, playing futsal, having fun on the street with bricks for goalposts and playing on the beach with my family.’

Before settling on the forward position, the art of goalkeeping appealed to Macario. However, her father saw strengths in her that were destined for the attacking line and after some deliberation, she decided to pursue her striker’s instincts.

‘I liked the thought of being a goalkeeper. When I see drills you have to be super agile to jump to the top corner and it looks really fun! My Dad said you are crazy and he shut that down pretty quickly!

‘He noticed that I had a very powerful shot and as a parent you say anything to please your child. Eventually, I thought he’s right and I should probably be wherever is closer to goal, so forward it is!’

Family is hugely important to Macario, who discussed how important their continuous support has been throughout her career, and alluded to the role they have played in helping her climb to the heights she has aspired to.

‘Both of my parents have made enormous sacrifices in order for me to get to where I am today. At the time, seeing a girl playing amongst the boys was not common. They always supported me and were never against me doing that, even though they received negative comments about letting their daughter play.

‘They made a lot of sacrifices that I could never repay them for. Their whole lives have been focused on allowing me and my brother to have a better life. The mere fact I moved to the United States to pursue my dream of playing football, I’m grateful for them always pushing me and they are the reason I do what I do.’

Away from the world of football, there is more to life for Macario. She expressed her affection for movies, theatre and food as well as spending valuable time with friends and family amid the hectic schedule that comes with the day job.

‘I like to watch movies and shows, probably a comedy or a thriller. I’m a big foody, I’m trying to figure out the good restaurants around London and it’s been good to get people’s input. I like to play video games when I have the time, go on walks, spend time with my dad and my friends.

‘I like theatre shows so London is a good place to be for that, I loved Hamilton. Of course, I do enjoy watching football too!’