Just a few days after announcing the signing of Alex Morgan, San Diego Wave Fútbol Club continued with the acquisition of top talent by selecting defender Naomi Girma with the first overall pick in the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League Draft.
With the first overall pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft, Wave FC selects Naomi Girma, Defender from Stanford. Naomi was born and raised in the Bay Area, and we’re thrilled to have another Californian on the team. See you in San Diego, @naomi_girma! 🌊 pic.twitter.com/U2yv3LyjlF
— San Diego Wave FC (@sandiegowavefc) December 18, 2021
The Stanford University and U-20 USWNT standout was a three-time team captain for the Cardinal and helped lead them to a National Championship in 2019 (their second title in three years).
“I stay in touch with a lot of them, I was a sophomore then,” Girma said. “It’s really cool to have people who are already in the league who I can ask questions too. Sophia Smith, (Portland Thorns) who is one of my closest friends, was in my class.”
Girma finished with many collegiate achievements, like being named the Pac-12 Defender of the Year on two occasions and being a United Soccer Coaches All-America first team and MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist.
“She has a very bright future as a player with her outstanding technical ability and game understanding,” San Diego Wave head coach Casey Stoney said. “Her character, leadership, and professionalism will mean her transition into the professional game will be seamless.”
Girma also served as the U-20 Women’s National Team captain, where she was voted the 2020 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year—all while being talented at many sports growing up, including basketball and track.
“I think San Diego and all of SoCal has such a strong soccer culture, especially girls soccer and women’s soccer,” she added.
In terms of what awaits her new team for 2022 and beyond, considering that both the San Diego Wave and Angel City FC will be making their debut in the NWSL at the same time, the obvious rivalry factor is something that has not been overlooked.
“I’m sure there will be some rivalry, I feel there is always rivalry with the team that’s closest to you,” Girma said. “It would be cool if it turned into a proper rivalry, like who is going to be the best in SoCal.”