The Orlando Pride acquired fullback Celia Jimenez Delgado (commonly known simply as Celia) from the OL Reign in a trade on Dec. 18, 2021, along with Leah Pruitt, the 10th overall pick in 2022 (which became Caitlin Cosme), and the Reign’s natural 2023 second-round pick, in exchange for defender Phoebe McClernon.
The fullback made her Pride debut in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup on April 3 against the Washington Spirit and became a regular for Orlando for much of the year, playing on the right side of the Pride’s back line.
Let’s look back at her first season in Orlando.
After beginning the season injured, Celia played in the Pride’s final three matches in the NWSL Challenge Cup, starting two and playing 176 minutes. The native of Andalusia, Spain did not score a goal or assist on one and attempted just one shot, which was off target. She passed at a 62.7% success rate and was accurate on 58.3% of her long balls. She completed two of her five crosses and contributed two key passes in the tournament. Defensively, she tallied five clearances, four interceptions, and a block, winning three of her five tackle attempts, 81.8% of her 11 duels, and all three of her aerial duels. She committed two fouls without drawing any and did not get booked in the competition.
In the regular season, Celia appeared in 18 of the Pride’s 22 games, starting 17 and going the full 90 just seven times, playing a total of 1,287 minutes. She tied for second on the team in goals, which sounds impressive until you get to the total, which was two — still, not bad at all for a fullback. She attempted just five shots that weren’t blocked, got three of them on target, and scored on two of those for a 66.7% conversion rate. Despite recording seven key passes, Celia did not register an assist in her first season with the Pride, and was successful on only five of 24 cross attempts. She passed at a 71.4% success rate, but went just 29.4% on her long passes. Defensively, she finished the season with 41 clearances, 26 interceptions, and four blocks. She also won 60% of her 35 tackle attempts, 52.8% of her 108 duels, and 61.5% of her 13 aerial duels. She conceded 23 fouls, won just seven, and picked up one yellow card on the year.
I’m going to go with Celia’s 57-minute performance in the Pride’s 2-1 win at NJ/NY Gotham FC on Aug. 20. The fullback put Orlando on the board first with her goal early in the second half. She actually made two nice plays in the box on the goal. The first was a header at the back post to set up a chance for Julie Doyle, who missed the ball. It deflected off of a defender and found its way back to Celia’s side and she quickly attacked the ball. This time she swept it in herself to put the Pride ahead.
The team went on to build a two-goal lead before Gotham pulled one back to set up a nervy finish, but the Pride held on to win. In addition to scoring her goal, Celia attempted two of her five shots on the season in this match and recorded one of her three shots on target. She also put in a fairly solid shift in her own half without conceding a foul in the game.
2022 Final Grade
The Mane Land staff gives Celia a composite rating of 6 out of 10 for her 2022 season. Her ball skills helped the team build attacks up the right side, and while not spectacular, the Spaniard was generally a solid attacking piece. She could stand to be a little more secure in defending. Her crossing from the outside could use some work but she’s adept at cutting inside and picking out shorter passes to combine with other players in the attacking third.
Celia’s contract expired at the end of the 2022 season. The Pride will need to come to terms with the right back to keep her in Orlando. The Pride have a couple of fullbacks already signed for 2023 with the late-season addition of Haley Hanson — and her subsequent new two-year contract — as well as Kylie Strom still being under contract. Celia showed she can be a useful squad player, but it remains to be seen how Orlando will fill out the outside back position in the off-season. At 27, Celia should have plenty of games left in her at this level. While her defending is sometimes chaotic, she was hardly alone in that aspect this past season. She was able to provide a little help offensively. We think she’d be a useful player to keep around at least for depth or for when the team is chasing the game.
Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)
- Kaylie Collins (10/11/22)
- Parker Roberts (10/13/22)
- Haley Bugeja (10/14/22)
- Anna Moorhouse (10/15/22)
- Thais Reiss (10/15/22)
- Marta (10/16/22)
- Chelsee Washington (10/18/22)
- Ally Watt (10/18/22)
- Haley Hanson (10/19/22)
- Jordyn Listro (10/20/22)
- Leah Pruitt (10/21/22)
- Carrie Lawrence (10/22/22)
- Erika Tymrak (10/23/22)
- Julie Doyle (10/24/22)
- Darian Jenkins (10/25/22)
- Viviana Villacorta (10/26/22)
- Toni Pressley (10/27/22)