April 19, 2024
Naomi Girma. Photograph credit score: Courtesy, San Diego Wave FC

San Diego Wave FC‘s star defender Naomi Girma has been voted the 2023 U.S. Soccer Feminine Participant of the Yr. 

Throughout the final yr, she was one of many USA’s finest gamers on the FIFA Ladies’s World Cup and was the Nationwide Ladies’s Soccer League Defender of the Yr, serving to the Wave win the NWSL Protect as common season champions,

Girma is the primary pure defender to win the award in its 39-year historical past. Goalkeeper Hope Solo gained in 2009 and defensive midfielder Julie Ertz gained in 2017 and 2019, however all the opposite winners have been attacking-minded midfielders or forwards.

That is the primary U.S. Soccer Feminine Participant of the Yr award for Girma, 23. She turns into the twentieth completely different participant to win the award.

She additionally turns into simply the sixth participant to win each U.S. Soccer Younger Feminine Participant of the Yr (2020) and U.S. Soccer Feminine Participant of the Yr, becoming a member of Sophia Smith, Lindsey Horan, Ertz, Tobin Heath and Lauren Cheney Vacation. 

Girma is heading into her third skilled season and third yr on the total Nationwide Group. On the Ladies’s World Cup, her first world championship on the senior stage, she was one of many USA’s finest and most constant gamers, marshaling a protection that allowed only one aim and a complete of two pictures on aim over the 4 matches.

She completed the yr third on the USWNT in minutes performed and began all 16 video games she performed, serving to lead the U.S. protection to its lowest-ever targets towards common (0.17 targets allowed per recreation) in a calendar yr (minimal 10 video games performed).

“I’m honored and grateful to be the primary defender and second Black participant to win this award, but it surely’s actually a testomony to all of the exhausting work put in by our goalkeepers, the again line and our entire group to realize an historic yr for our protection,” Girma mentioned. “We’re all very related, work exhausting on the sphere, watch a whole lot of movie to get higher and actually take satisfaction in stopping groups from scoring.”

For San Diego, Girma took house the Defender of the Yr honor for the second-straight season. Solidifying her tempo as an anchor for the Wave backline, Girma was among the many high 5 gamers within the NWSL in passes accomplished (948) and passing accuracy (88.68%). 

Followers can have fun the 2023 U.S. Feminine Participant of the Yr by buying a commemorative Girma tee on the U.S. Soccer Retailer.