Naomi Girma is sticking around in San Diego. The now 23-year-old — her birthday is June 14, 2000 — signed a three-year contract extension with San Diego Wave FC, with a club option for a fourth season.
The maximum contract length in the National Women’s Soccer League is a three-year deal, but San Diego elected to exercise the option for a fourth year immediately after the signing, ensuring Girma will remain with the Wave through the 2026 NWSL season.
Girma has enjoyed success in San Diego, racking up both the NWSL Rookie and Defender of the Year awards at the end of the 2022 NWSL season. In her first professional year, Girma started all 27 of her appearances, and played in every single minute for those matches.
“Naomi has been an integral piece of the Wave’s success on and off the field since she joined the club,” San Diego Wave FC General Manager Molly Downtain said. “She has proven that she is one of the top players in this league, and we are thrilled to have her continue to lead our club. Securing her long-term future was a priority for the club, and we are pleased that we were able to reach this agreement as we know Naomi will play a crucial role in the Wave for years to come.”
So far this season, she has started all 11 of her regular-season matches. In the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup, Girma has played in two matches, totaling 90 minutes as a substitute.
“The start to my professional journey has been so rewarding here in San Diego,” Girma said. “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 the trophies with my team. I can’t wait to play in front of the Sirens and fans for years to come.”
“Naomi is one of the best young defenders in the world, and we’re elated that she’ll continue her career with the Wave,” San Diego Wave FC Head Coach Casey Stoney said. “She 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.”
Girma has been a key figure for the U.S. women’s national team, earning 15 appearances with the side as she looks to punch her ticket to Australia and New Zealand for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The center back made her debut in April 2022, and was on the team’s roster for the Concacaf W Championship, which served as World Cup and Olympic qualification. She assisted a goal from Sophia Smith against Jamaica in the tournament. After the Concacaf Championship, she was named to the tournament’s Best XI.
In 2020, while representing the youth national teams, Girma was named the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year.
An native of San Jose, California, Girma attended Stanford University, where she was part of the 2019 NCAA Championship team that defeated North Carolina in a penalty shootout. She was named Pac-12 Defender of the Year twice. She forego her NCAA eligibility to declare for the 2022 NWSL Draft, where she was the Wave’s first-ever draft pick. She is still studying for a Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering.
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