San Diego Wave defender Naomi Girma is the 2022 NWSL Rookie of the Year and Defender of the Year.
She becomes the first rookie in league history to win two individual season awards, and she continues the Wave’s sweep of the NWSL end-of-season honors. Kailen Sheridan was named Goalkeeper of the Year, while Casey Stoney was named Coach of the Year.
Girma, Sheridan and Golden Boot winner Alex Morgan were all named to the NWSL’s Best XI, and Girma and Morgan are both nominated for league MVP, but the winner of that award has not been announced.
Behind Girma, Morgan, Sheridan and Stoney, the Wave became the first expansion club in NWSL history to reach the postseason.
The first rookie in @NWSL history to win two individual league awards.That's @naomi_girma‼️ pic.twitter.com/NcqRl5JJX8— San Diego Wave FC (@sandiegowavefc) October 27, 2022
The first rookie in @NWSL history to win two individual league awards.That's @naomi_girma‼️ pic.twitter.com/NcqRl5JJX8
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NWSL draft, Girma helped lead a Wave defense that averaged less than a goal against per game through 22 matches.
Through 20 games, Girma made 95 clearances, 24 interceptions and 20 tackles. She also registered 176 recoveries and led all defenders in possessions won. A two-time Rookie of the Month winner, she also was named to four out of five Best XI of the Month rosters and was named to the Best XI of the season.
North Carolina’s Diana Ordóñez finished second in voting, while Portland’s Sam Coffey took third.
Girma joins a prestigious list of previous ROY winners, including Trinity Rodman (2021) and Bethany Balcer (2019).