San Diego has made waves in its first season in the NWSL, something which has been encapsulated by the team’s nominees for the league’s season awards.
The Wave had four finalists through all major award categories, with Naomi Girma leading the way with three nominations to bring the Wave’s total to five nominations.
A 22-year-old rookie, Girma is nominated for Most Valuable Player, Defender of the Year and Rookie of the Year – all of the possible categories she could have been nominated for.
can we take a moment please.Naomi Girma is 22 in her first pro season and was just named a finalist for:▪️ League MVP▪️ Defender of the Year▪️ Rookie of the Year— San Diego Wave FC (@sandiegowavefc) October 14, 2022
can we take a moment please.Naomi Girma is 22 in her first pro season and was just named a finalist for:▪️ League MVP▪️ Defender of the Year▪️ Rookie of the Year
The No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft out of Stanford University, Girma has lived up to the hype. She’s also earned her first USWNT call-ups this year, notching eight appearances – which included a recent start against England.
Twice she’s been named to the NWSL’s Best XI of the Month and she was once named Rookie of the Month.
Girma is Just Women’s Sports’ pick for Rookie of the Year, after she also wore the captain’s armband this season and has passed with 83 percent accuracy, won 68 percent of her duels and made 85 clearances, 12 blocks and 24 interceptions.
For their first year in the league, San Diego has led the way. In addition to Girma, Alex Morgan was also nominated for MVP after winning the Golden Boot with a league-leading 15 goals. Kailen Sheridan is nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year while head coach Casey Stoney is up for Coach of the Year.
It’s an admirable feat for a team that will also make its postseason debut on Sunday.
OL Reign also has four nominees, but just four nominations since Girma has multiple. Laura Harvey is up for Coach of the Year while Phallon Tullis-Joyce is nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year and Sofia Huerta and Alana Cook are each nominated for Defender of the Year.
Sophia Smith (MVP), Sam Coffey (Rookie) and Becky Sauerbrunn (Defender) all represent for Portland. Debinha (MVP), Carson Pickett (Defender) and Diana Ordóñez (Rookie) help North Carolina to tie Portland.
Mallory Pugh (MVP) is the lone Chicago player nominated while Matt Potter (Coach) represents Kansas City.