Orlando Pride

2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Summer Yates

Summer Yates took advantage of her playing time during her rookie season.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Despite being projected as a high pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft, former University of Washington midfielder Summer Yates slipped down to the fourth round where the Orlando Pride selected her with the 39th overall pick. It was seen as potentially the steal of the draft and, while Yates didn’t play much this season, she showed her promise at times. She was signed on March 7 to a two-year deal with an option for a third.

Let’s take a look at Yates’ rookie season.

Statistical Breakdown

The 23-year-old rookie made 10 NWSL regular-season appearances this year, recording 108 minutes and coming on as a substitute each time. She took three shots, all of which were off target, and didn’t have any goals or assists. She completed 17 of her 29 passes (58.6%) and 34.5% of those passes were forward. Her passing was more accurate in her own half (80%) than in the opposing half (43.5%), and she completed one of two long balls.

On the defensive end, Yates won five of her six tackles (83.3%), 16 of her 39 duels (41%), and two of her five aerial duels (40%). She won four fouls and conceded two during her first professional season.

Yates had more of an impact during the 2023 Challenge Cup, playing in all six games and starting two for a total of 259 minutes of action. She took three shots, putting one on target, but did not score. She tallied her first two professional assists in the competition with nine key passes. The rookie completed 42 of her 62 passes (67.7%) in the competition with 43.5% going forward and was more accurate, completing 85% in the defensive half and 57.1% in the attacking half. She also completed two of her six long balls.

Defensively, Yates won two of her four tackles (50%), 19 of her 39 duels (48.7%), and four of her five aerial duels (80%). She also had a block and an interception. The midfielder won two fouls in the six Challenge Cup games and conceded three without being booked.

Best Game

Yates’ best game came on April 19 against the North Carolina Courage at Exploria Stadium, the team’s first of the competition. Starting in the midfield, the rookie played all 90 minutes and recorded one of her two assists of the season. The play came in the 56th minute when a free kick was sent long by goalkeeper Carly Nelson into the North Carolina half. Yates did well to bring the ball down with a defender on her back and sent Ally Watt through. The striker’s shot was off the hands of Casey Murphy and in for the opening goal.

The rookie took one of her three shots during the competition in this game, but it was off target. She completed 11 of her 20 pass attempts, including her assist, and had four successful dribbles, with three coming in the opposing half and two entering the North Carolina box. Yates also helped out on the defensive end with one interception and five recoveries. If not for an equalizer in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time, it would’ve been a winning first career start, but ended in a 1-1 draw.

2023 Final Grade

Yates received a final grade of 5.5 out of 10 from The Mane Land staff for the 2023 NWSL season. The rookie showed promise in her time on the field, but wasn’t clinical enough in front of goal. However, she did create chances for her team with a pair of assists, an essential part of her likely future position in the midfield.

2024 Outlook

Given that Yates is on a two-year contract with an option for a third, the midfielder will definitely be back next season if not selected in the NWSL Expansion Draft. It will likely be the final year of Marta’s career and Yates could be seen as a potential replacement in the midfield upon her retirement. She showed growth this season, indicating that she can play at this level. Next season, she’ll continue to come off the bench, but might see more time than during her rookie campaign.


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