San Diego Wave and the National Women’s Soccer League today announced the finalists for the 2023 NWSL Awards featuring the Most Valuable Player, presented by Bud Light, Defender of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year, presented by Ally, and Coach of the Year. The 2023 NWSL Awards are voted upon in two rounds with fans having the opportunity to participate in the final round of the voting process.
Naomi Girma, a finalist for both MVP and Defender of the Year, has been a stalwart on the Wave’s backline in her sophomore campaign. The 23-year-old central defender has appeared in 19 games (19 starts) for the club, while helping the club earn a league-leading nine clean sheets. She is the reigning NWSL Defender and Rookie of the Year.
Kailen Sheridan, 28, is the reigning NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year and is up for the same award this season. The Canadian international has played in 19 matches (19 starts) for the Wave this season and finished the regular season with a career-high and league-leading nine clean sheets.
Head Coach Casey Stoney earned Coach of the Year honors last season as San Diego was the first-ever expansion side to make playoffs. To follow up the club’s inaugural season records, Stoney led the Wave to the NWSL Shield in 2023, while earning the most wins in league play (11) this season.
In the preliminary round of voting, players, owners, general managers, coaches and the media voted on individual awards to determine the finalists. The preliminary round used a weighted scale, broken down by players (50%), owners/GMs/coaches (25%) and media (25%).
The finalists for 2023 NWSL Awards are below.
Most Valuable Player, presented by Bud Light: Sam Coffey (POR), Debinha (KCC), Naomi Girma (SD), Kerolin (NCC), Sophia Smith (POR)
Defender of the Year: Naomi Girma (SD), Sarah Gorden (LA), Ali Krieger (NJNY), Kaleigh Kurtz (NCC), Sam Staab (WAS)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Jane Campbell (HOU), Katie Lund (LOU), Kailen Sheridan (SD)
Rookie of the Year, presented by Ally: Messiah Bright (ORL), Jenna Nighswonger (NJNY), Alyssa Thompson (LA)
Coach of the Year: Juan Carlos Amorós (NJNY), Casey Stoney (SD), Becki Tweed (LA)
Additional awards to be voted on in the final round include:
Best XI, presented by Mastercard, honoring a first and second team representing the top 22 players in the league.
Fans wishing to vote on the individual award winners, Best XI and Best XI Second Team can access the voting ballot here. All votes must be submitted by Friday, October 27 at 12 p.m. ET. The final round of voting uses a weighted scale of players (40%), owners/GMs/coaches (25%), media (25%) and fans (10%).
Award winners will be announced in the days surrounding the 2023 NWSL Championship match, which is set to kick off Saturday, November 11 at 8 p.m. ET at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California. The contest will air live on CBS Television Network and stream on Paramount+ and internationally on Watch.NWSLSoccer.com.
In addition to the awards listed above, the winner of the third annual Nationwide Community Impact Award will be announced and honored at halftime of the Championship match. For more details on the Nationwide Community Impact Award, please click here. The league will also announce the Championship MVP, presented by Bud Light, during the on-field post-match presentation.
Tickets for the 2023 NWSL Championship, presented by Bud Light, are available here.