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NWSL Oct 27, 2022

Naomi Girma honored as NWSL Rookie and Defender of the Year

NEW YORK – The National Women’s Soccer League announced that San Diego Wave FC centerback Naomi Girma has been named the 2022 NWSL Rookie of the Year. In addition to the top first-year honor, Girma was also named the 2022 NWSL Defender of the Year, becoming the only NWSL player to secure two individual end-of-year awards in a rookie season.

Appearing in more than 1,800 minutes of play throughout the regular season, Girma’s impressive first NWSL campaign helped Wave FC post a defensive effort that averaged less than a goal against per game in 22 matches.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, Girma was a steady presence on the Wave FC backline, finishing the regular season with 95 clearances, 24 interceptions and 20 tackles in 20 games. The San Jose, California native also registered 176 recoveries and led all league defenders in possession won in the defensive half.

Girma enjoyed a more than 90 percent passing accuracy, the best clip among San Diego defenders and a top-10 percentage in the league. She also boasted a 71 percent duel success rate, a league best among backs who played at least 14 games.

Throughout the regular season, Girma’s stellar performance earned her spots on four of the league’s five Best XI of Month rosters as well as two Rookie of the Month selections.

In addition to the award, Girma will also receive a cash bonus from Ally to celebrate her accomplishments from her first season in the NWSL.

North Carolina Courage forward Diana Ordóñez and Portland Thorns FC midfielder Sam Coffey finished second and third in rookie voting this year. The list of finalists was decided after a preliminary round of voting by owners, general managers, coaches, players and media. The finalists were then voted on by fans, owners, general managers, coaches, players and media.

Voting Breakdown 
Preliminary Round: Players (50%), Owners/GMs/Coaches (25%) and Media (25%)
Final Round: Players (50%), Owners/GMs/Coaches (20%), Media (20%) and Fans (10%)

Full list of NWSL Rookies of the Year 
2013: Erika Tymrak, FC Kansas City
2014: Julie Ertz (Johnston), Chicago Red Stars
2015: Danielle Colaprico, Chicago Red Stars
2016: Raquel Rodriguez, NJ/NY Gotham FC
2017: Ashley Hatch, North Carolina Courage
2018: Imani Dorsey, NJ/NY Gotham FC
2019: Bethany Balcer, OL Reign
2021: Trinity Rodman, Washington Spirit
2022: Naomi Girma, San Diego Wave FC

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