The Orlando Pride drafted Chelsee Washington with the third pick of the fourth round and the 30th pick overall of the 2020 NWSL College Draft. The Carrollton, TX native played her college career at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. All told, she scored 21 goals and recorded 23 assists in 85 appearances for the Falcons.
A fourth-round pick shouldn’t be expected to have a big impact on a club with as many big stars as the Pride, and to be fair, she didn’t. That’s not to say she didn’t do her part. Let’s take a look at her on-field contributions.
Washington appeared as a substitute in the Pride’s 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup match against the Washington Spirit, though it was only for about one minute of stoppage time. She made 10 appearances during the regular season for a total of 206 minutes. In six of those matches she came off the bench for less than 10 minutes of time. She played 20 minutes against Gotham FC on June 20; 45 minutes against the Houston Dash on June 26; and 22 minutes against Racing Louisville on July 9. Her only full match was against Kansas City on June 23.
As an attacking midfielder, she registered one shot and one assist on the season. She completed 66.7% of her 51 total passes with 61% in the opponent’s half, and 81.8% accuracy in her own half. Washington made two clearances and one interception in her time on the field, and won 34.8% of her duels.
Washington’s best match was undoubtedly the Pride’s 3-1 win over Kansas City on June 23. She went the full 90 minutes, and almost opened the scoring in the third minute when she headed a Courtney Petersen cross into the post. Not only did she have a shot in the match, but she notched her only assist on the season, putting a lovely through ball into the area for Sydney Leroux, and the first goal of the match.
It was also in this match that Washington made her only interception on the season, and also committed three fouls.
2021 Final Grade
Washington barely qualified under the minimum requirements for a season grade. She gets a grade of 5 from The Mane Land staff as she had limited time to show what she can do. However, despite not getting very much playing time, Washington did get an assist and take a shot, which is what you want from an attacking midfielder.
The 23-year-old’s time with the Pride will continue as the club exercised her 2022 option when she was loaned to Canberra United in Australia’s W-League. The hope is that Washington will continue to develop down under, and bring what she learns back to the Pride next season. Washington is a low-risk, quality depth type of player that the Pride can take another season to evaluate.