When the Orlando Pride acquired defender/midfielder Camila Martins Pereira on Dec. 19, 2016, it was unclear to many what they were getting. This was a player that had been waived by the Houston Dash after 12 NWSL appearances, but she was still quite young at just 22 years of age.
However, Tom Sermanni knew exactly what he was getting, when he said:
“Camila is exactly the type of player we are looking to bring to the Pride,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said in a club press release. “She is a young, dynamic and versatile player who we believe will be a valuable asset to our team. We’re excited to bring someone with her skill and potential to the club.”
How prophetic Sermanni was. Camila brought all of that to the team — dynamism, versatility, skill, and potential — in 2017.
Camila appeared in all 24 regular-season matches with the Pride this season. Of her 22 starts, four were at left back, three at forward, and 15 in the midfield. She was one of only two Pride players who appeared in all 24 games and she played a total of 1,900 minutes — the fifth most on the club (behind Ali Krieger, Alanna Kennedy, Steph Catley, and Marta). She scored four goals on the season — tied for third on the team — and added five assists, which place her second on Orlando and tied for sixth in the league.
She created 23 chances, placing her among the league’s best in setting up her teammates with scoring opportunities. Her 51 shot attempts were tied for 13th in the NWSL, and she got 18 of those on target (35%). Adept at getting position on her opponents, Camila won 51 fouls during the 2017 season, leading all of the NWSL in drawing free kicks. She passed at an 80% clip, attempted 24 crosses, made nine clearances on defense, won 78% of her tackles, and was offside only twice all season. She committed 32 fouls and drew four yellow cards — both team highs.
Camila won NWSL Goal of the Week twice, in Week 3 and 9, and was one of the league’s brightest emerging stars up until a severe knee injury sidelined her in the final regular-season game, forcing her to miss Orlando’s first playoff match.
The native of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, had perhaps as many outstanding matches as anyone on the team and you could point to any of them and not be wrong. I’m going with the 5-0 beatdown of Sky Blue FC at home on Aug. 12. Camila didn’t even score a goal in that game but she played so well it didn’t matter. In that match, Camila was accurate on 97% of her 33 passes, fired two shots, finished with one tackle and picked up an assist on the one chance she created.
That one chance created was an easy finish for Dani Weatherholt after Camila’s jaw-dropping footwork, dancing through multiple Sky Blue defenders before making the perfect cross to set up the second Pride goal.
2017 Final Grade
The Mane Land staff gave Camila a 7.5 composite grade for the season. The Brazilian did so many things right that this rating might seem a bit low. There were very few criticisms of her game, but she did concede too many free kicks in dangerous spots, attempted too many audacious shots that wrecked promising buildup play which could have created much better scoring opportunities, and sometimes disappeared in the second halves of games. She got her shots on target for the most part, but if she didn’t catch all of it they tended to dribble in on goal weakly. At her age (having just turned 23 in October), there is still plenty of room for development, provided she bounces back from her knee injury.
Following the 2017 season, the Pride picked up Camila’s contract option. The Brazilian international will be back with Orlando in 2018, but it may be mid-season before she’s fit enough to play and it could be well into late summer before she is back to 100%. As soon as she’s healthy, expect her to slot back into the Pride midfield, and, depending on how the club addresses the right back position, she could continue to make occasional appearances on the back line in that spot. The sky is the limit for Camila as a player, and should she continue to learn from mentor Marta — and regain full fitness — there’s no reason to think Camila couldn’t become a cornerstone player in the Pride’s future for years to come.
Previous 2017 Player Season in Review Posts (Date Published)
- Dani Weatherholt (11/17).
- Nickolette Driesse (11/18).
- Ashlyn Harris (11/19).
- Aubrey Bledsoe (11/20).
- Monica (11/21).
- Ali Krieger (11/22).
- Jamia Fields (11/23).
- Toni Pressley (11/24).
- Kristen Edmonds (11/25).
- Jasmyne Spencer (11/26).
- Steph Catley (11/27).
- Danica Evans (11/28).
- Chioma Ubogagu (11/28).
- Rachel Hill (11/29).
- Alanna Kennedy (11/30).