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USWNT captain shouts out Naomi Girma for ‘incredible’ World Cup

Naomi Girma started in all four 2023 World Cup games for the USWNT.(Robin Alam/Getty Images for USSF)

The U.S. women’s national team likely will have a different feel when the 2024 Olympics kick off in Paris in 12 months. Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz already have announced the end of their international careers, and several more veterans will have to make decisions in the coming months.

One up-and-coming player almost certain to be on the roster for the Summer Games is Naomi Girma, who made her World Cup debut this year. USWNT co-captain Lindsey Horan was among those impressed by the 23-year-old center-back.

“Look at how incredible Naomi was this entire tournament,” Horan said. “First World Cup, and she’s one the best players on the team.”

A defender for the San Diego Wave, Girma debuted for the USWNT in April 2022 in an international friendly against Uzbekistan. She also earned a cap in the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship before cementing her spot on the World Cup team.

In the USWNT’s 3-0 win over Vietnam to open the World Cup group stage, Girma lobbed a ball into the box to Morgan, who then assisted on a goal for Sophia Smith. At center-back, Girma paired with Ertz to create the foundation of a backline that allowed just one shot on goal in the team’s defeat to Sweden in penalty kicks.

Girma started all four games at her first major tournament. And she is part of a core of young stars expected to lead the USWNT into its next phase.

“Nay plays like she’s 30,” Horan said. “I don’t understand, first World Cup and she’s one of the best players on the team.”