When Camila went down in the Orlando Pride’s regular-season finale against the North Carolina Courage last season, she immediately knew something was wrong.
She was hurt in the 32nd minute of a match the Pride would go on to win 3-2. The victory clinched a third-place finish and a spot in the playoffs for the Pride.
For Camila, who was in her first season with the club, the thrill of the victory cut short by the knowledge her season was over. She was diagnosed with a torn ACL and MCL in her knee and ruled out indefinitely.
And she immediately set her mind on making a comeback.
“At the time, we were very happy because it was an important moment during the [season], but the day after, I just had my mind on getting better and just trying to improve again,” Camila said through a translator.
She had her surgery in the U.S. and started the long climb toward getting back to match fitness, doing a portion of her rehab in her home country of Brazil. She was a versatile player for the Pride last season, slotting in at defender, midfielder and forward at different times throughout the club’s successful campaign.
Camila, 23, had four goals and five assists in 22 starts in 2017.
“I was very sad,” she said. “At that time, I realized how important I was for the team. But at the same time, I try to take a look at the positive side of things. It happened. The time that it happened, it gave me more time to recuperate and get better and do physio for this upcoming season. Because of that, I’m not going to miss a lot of games.”
She’s expected back in June, according to team officials.
Camila was running around the pitch at the start of preseason training, about four and a half months from the time she suffered the injury.
Coach Tom Sermanni praised Camila as a “quick healer.”
“She’s done a fantastic job in her rehab so far,” Sermanni said at the start of preseason training. “Her focus on it and her dedication to it has been first class. She’s out there running now and eager to get back in the action.”
While rehabbing her injury, Camila has relied on teammates to make things easier. In particular, fellow Brazilians Monica and Marta have been huge contributors – not just to Camila’s physical rehabilitation, but to her mental state, as well.
Marta drove Camila to doctor’s appointments during the offseason and let the young playmaker stay at her house while she recovered from surgery.
“I feel very proud of her,” Marta said. “This is something that she really wants. She wants to have a good season. She wants to play for her national team. She wants to play in a World Cup. She wants to play in the Olympics. I’m very proud of her and I try to help her any way I can.”
Of course, staying with Marta meant random guitar concerts.
“There’s always that one time when you are at her house and she gets the guitar and she starts playing and you have to stop what you’re doing just to listen to her,” Camila said with a laugh. “That’s what she does.”
Camila, who has “family” tattooed on her arm, said her Pride teammates have made the difference in her recovery so far.
She said her club is like a family to her.
“They received me very well here and that’s why I had such a great season,” she said.
“When I had my surgery, I had my surgery the day before my birthday. The girls, they all showed me huge support. They had a surprise birthday party for me. For sure, this club feels like a family. Obviously they helped with the surgery – that’s what a club normally. But I feel something special about them.”
Pride acquire Ökvist from Dash
The Orlando Pride announced via a news release the club acquired Swedish defender Lotta Ökvist from the Houston Dash in exchange for the Pride’s natural third-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.
Ökvist was selected by the Dash with the 13th pick of the Dispersal Draft after the Boston Breakers folded in January. Because of this, she won’t count against the Pride’s salary cap for roster maximum for the upcoming season.
Harris, Morgan called up
The United State’s women’s national team on Wednesday announced its preliminary roster for the it’s upcoming friendlies against Mexico. Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and forward Alex Morgan were both called up, just as they were for the SheBelieves Cup.
Here’s the roster (club; caps/goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 2/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 14/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 27/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 17/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 4/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 4/0); Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 107/2), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC: 135/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 15/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 72/6), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 47/4), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 250/98), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 35/6), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 9/0)
FORWARDS (7): Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 60/23), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 1/0); Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC; 4/0), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 138/81), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 33/9), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 133/35), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 19/4)