U.S. Soccer announed today that Naomi Girma had been voted as the 2023 Female Player of the Year and Olivia Moultrie had been voted as the 2023 Chipotle Young Female Player of the Year.
Girma, who was also named the NWSL’s Defender of the Year and helped San Diego Wave FC to the 2023 NWSL Shield, becomes the first defender in the histroy of the award. Apart from Hope Solo in 2009 and Julie Ertz in 2017, no other non-attacking midfielder or forward has won the award until now.
Naomi Girma was the best player for the USWNT at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, her first ever World Cup, and also was a steady and consistent force for San Diego since her debut, three seasons ago. Girma earned 61.6% of the overall tabulated votes, followed by Lindsey Horan who finished in second with 23.2%.
In the press release, Girma had this to say. “I’m honored and grateful to be the first defender and second Black player to win this award, but it’s really a testament to all the hard work put in by our goalkeepers, the back line and our whole team to achieve an historic year for our defense. We are all very connected, work hard on the field, watch a lot of film to get better and really take pride in stopping teams from scoring. I always want to thank my friends and family, because they’ve been with me on every step of this journey. My coaches and teammates for club and country are the people who have helped shape me into the person and player I am today, so I’m very thankful to all of them. I’m super excited for what’s to come and can’t wait to get started here in 2024.”
Olivia Moultrie, who has been a revelation for Portland Thorns FC, earned 38.3% of the vote for the Young Female Player of the Year, finishing ahead of Alyssa Thompson who had 31.5%. Moultrie’s performances also earned her callup to the USWNT and got her first cap in December 2023.
Moultrie also had a statement in the press release, stating the following, “I’m just super exited and thankful to everyone who voted for me for this award, it’s really special. To see the list of those players who have won it before, and what they’ve gone on to accomplish in their careers, is inspiring and motivating for me. It was a hard year but a fun year and I’m so appreciative of all the older players on the Thorns and the National Team who embraced me and helped me along the way. To grow as a person and a player, you really need your teammates, your coaches and your family, so thanks to all of them. It was a big year of growth for me, and I just hope it’s a step in the right direction. I promise I’m going to work even harder in the coming years.”
Votes for U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year and Young Female Player of the Year awards are collected from respective National Team coaches, National Team players who earned a cap in 2023, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, National Women’s Soccer League head coaches and select media members and administrators.