San Diego Wave: Naomi Girma makes NWSL March/April team of the month

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Naomi Girma 2023 Wave
Credit: Nicole Noel/ EVT Sports

This Wednesday, May 4, the NWSL officially announced its first team of the month of the 2023 regular season. San Diego Wave centre-back Naomi Girma made the team, accompanying USWNT team captain Becky Sauerbrunn in the backline.

The rest of the team was made up of Phallon Tullis-Joyce (OL Reign), Emily Fox (North Carolina), Sam Staab (Washington), Debinha (Kansas City), Crystal Dunn (Portland), Jess Fishlock (OL Reign), Bethany Balcer (OL Reign), Sophia Smith (Portland) and Lynn Williams (Gotham).

Girma was the Defender of the Year in the 2022 NWSL season, and she has continued to be impressive at the start of the 2023 season. The 22-year-old defender has played all possible minutes for the Wave in 2023 regular season games and even wore the captain’s armband in San Diego’s last game against Orlando.

Girma has shown maturity beyond her age consistently and is one of the leaders on Casey Stoney’s team. The San Jose, Calif. native is averaging over four and a half clearances per game, along with an interception per game in the five regular season games that she has played.

The young center-back also excels in the passing game with an 88-percent pass accuracy, which improves to 92 percent in San Diego’s own half of the pitch. Girma also leads the league in winning defensive half-possession, having done so 35 times in the 2023 campaign.

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Girma is, without a doubt, one of the premier center-backs in the NWSL and has the potential to win another Defender of the Year honor. The 22-year-old is also a lock for the USWNT as this 2023 season has a high value for Girma and other international players, with the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup coming up in the summer.

The Wave begin a rough three-game road trip with a game against the Washington Spirit this Saturday, May 6. From the nation’s capital, San Diego will then travel to Kansas City and finally finish the road trip with a game against the Houston Dash.

Girma is a vital player for Casey Stoney and company, as she will need to have a strong performance against Washington and their very strong offense featuring Ashley Hatch, Ashley Sanchez, and Trinity Rodman.

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