The Orlando Pride announced the signing of attacking midfielder/forward Summer Yates to a two-year contract with a club option for the 2025 NWSL season. She was the first of the Pride’s two selections in the fourth round of the 2023 NWSL Draft, with Orlando picking her No. 39 overall out of Washington on Jan. 12.
Yates joins fellow 2023 draft selections Emily Madril and Messiah Bright on the 2023 Pride roster, with defender Tori Hansen and forward Kristen Scott still yet to be signed.
“Summer is a versatile, quality player who provides us the ability to play her in a few different positions. We’ve been very impressed with her play and are happy to sign her ahead of the season,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “She is a hard worker who will create a multitude of problems for defenders with her nose for goal, distribution, and finishing. We are excited to continue her development and for her to start her professional journey here in Orlando.”
“Playing professional soccer has always been a dream of mine and I am so grateful to be able to live out that dream here in Orlando,” Yates said in the Pride’s release. “This team and coaching staff is amazing, the amount of talent and experience they have has already allowed me to learn and grow so much on and off the field. I am honored to wear purple and I am ready to give it my all for this club and our fans!”
Yates took advantage of the COVID year and played five seasons with the Huskies, making 93 appearances (86 starts) from 2018 to 2022, logging a total of 6,653 minutes. The 5-foot-4 forward scored 27 goals and added 23 goals in her collegiate career, including nine game-winning goals, and went 3-for-5 from the penalty spot.
In her fifth season, Yates was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team after leading the Huskies in goals (7), assists (6), points (20), shots (55), and shots on goal (20). In 2021, she made the All-Pac-12 First Team and All-Region Second Team. As a junior, during the 2021 spring season, Yates was named a Second Team All-American and was on the All-Pac-12 First Team and All-Region First Team. She was on the All-Pac-12 Second Team in 2019 and the All-Pacific Region Second Team.
Internationally, she was a member of the United States 2020 U-20 Concacaf championship team.
Prior to her collegiate career, Yates was a two-time 4A All-State First Team selection, won a state championship with the PAC NW club team, and was named the Mid-Columbia Conference Player of the Year her senior season at Chiawana High School.
What It Means for Orlando
Many draft experts expected Yates to go much higher than where the Pride selected her. She has the ability to work in the middle to distribute wide to the wing players, put through balls past defenders to link with the striker, or chip in the occasional goal. A team can never have enough good players to deploy as the No. 10 and if she can make the jump to the pro game and develop in her position by learning from Marta, she could end up as the Pride’s smartest pick from the 2023 NWSL Draft.
Yates is the kind of player that can help the Pride control the ball and keep possession in the middle third — and create plays for others or score on her own in the final third. It’s an area the Pride have needed to improve. With her performance this preseason, she has obviously won over the coaching staff and her teammates. This is great news for the Pride, who have only two draft picks left on which to make a decision.
Here is a reminder of what Yates can do: