This Wednesday, June 14, the San Diego Wave officially announced that the club had extended Naomi Girma to a new contract through the 2026 season.
Girma was the first overall pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft and has been one of the key players on the team since then.
Abby Dahlkemper’s injury was a big concern for the Wave that season, but Girma stepped in and made the most of her opportunities to become the key player she is today. The San Jose, Calif. native started 27 games in her impressive rookie campaign, won the Rookie of the Year Award and Defender of the Year honors, and was named a finalist for league MVP.
The 23-year-old has also become a consistent starter for the USWNT, playing in 14 games for the USWNT, including five games in 2023 ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Girma is expected to be a key player for the U.S. at the global competition alongside veteran Becky Sauerbrunn.
In the 2023 NWSL season, Girma has started all 11 regular season NWSL league games and has played all possible minutes in those games. The Wave have kept five clean sheets in league play this season, and the young center-back has been one of the key players that has contributed to that feat.
San Diego has only allowed 11 goals this season, which is one more than the leading teams in the NWSL. Wave Head Coach Casey Stoney described Girma as “one of the best young defenders in the world.” Stoney also talked about the importance of Girma for her team. “She (Girma) has been a key contributor to this club and the success the Wave has had, and I look forward to continuing to watch her grow here in San Diego,” Stoney said.
Girma talked about her career so far in San Diego and what is to come after the contract. “The start to my professional journey has been so rewarding here in San Diego. Since being drafted, everyone at the Wave has made San Diego feel like home. My goal has always been to win championships for this city and raise trophies with my team. I can’t wait to play in front of the sirens and fans for years to come”, said Girma.
The 23-year-old signed this contract on her birthday, and it is very exciting to see what the near future brings for the defender this season and at the World Cup. This is a huge NWSL season for all players involved with their respective national teams, and it is set to be a monumental summer for Naomi Girma.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.