Naomi Girma and Kailen Sheridan will each be playing in their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand. Girma has been part of the USWNT roster since her incredible rookie season with the San Diego Wave in 2022.
The Stanford Alumni has played with the USWNT in the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s Championship and the 2023 SheBelieves Cup, along with several friendly matches as well. Girma has started in 13 games for the U.S. and built a phenomenal center-back partnership with Becky Sauerbrunn. Unfortunately, Sauerbrunn is injured and will not be at the World Cup, as either Kelly O’Hara or Alana Cook will take her place in Vlatko Andonovski’s starting 11.
Girma has a starting role on lock for the global competition and has been fantastic for the San Diego Wave this season. Alex Morgan even joked with Girma when asked how she felt heading into the World Cup. “Well, I hope Nay is feeling good because she’s playing amazing; I feel happy for her,” Morgan said while laughing with Girma at the post-game press conference following the June 24 encounter against OL Reign.
Kailen Sheridan did not have the best farewell in that game against the Reign, as she received a very controversial red card given by VAR. Despite that incident, Sheridan has been one of the best players for the San Diego Wave this season, being absolutely vital to the team in just about every single game.
Sheridan is 27 years old and will turn 28 on July 16, and is yet to play in a World Cup for Canada but has played in 25 games for her country. The Wave goalkeeper has already represented Canada in several tournaments like the SheBelieves Cup, CONCACAF Women’s Championship, and even the 202o Olympics. This will be by far the most competitive and top-tier competition Sheridan has played in, but she has the talent to be successful in it.
— Francisco Velasco (@FranciscoEfV) June 25, 2023
Wave Head Coach Casey Stoney has called Sheridan the best goalkeeper in the world before and constantly also says Naomi Girma is one of the best defenders in women’s football. Stoney also sent a message to both Sheridan and Girma ahead of the World Cup.
“Having played and participated in a few World Cups myself, my message is yeah, be there and focus, but also enjoy the journey. It’s probably the one thing I didn’t do, is stop to enjoy World Cups; I took it too serious most of the time. Just live in it because it’s such a huge moment in your career. It’s the pinnacle of your career to represent your country at the World Cup. So yeah, I hope they go, and they’re both successful; although both can’t be, but I hope both are successful to a point. I hope they enjoy it and play confident; they’re one of the best center-backs and goalkeepers in the world”, Stoney said.
Stoney played in three World Cups, and 2011 was the one she received the most playing time, participating in all four of England’s games. Naomi Girma and Kailen Sheridan have high expectations at this World Cup, as it is set to be a highly competitive tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
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.