Naomi Girma Voted 2023 U.S. Soccer Female Player Of The Year; Olivia Moultrie Voted 2023 Chipotle U.S. Soccer Young Female Player Of The Year

Girma Played Every Minute at 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to Lead a Defense That Allowed One Goal and Two Shots on Goal, Was the NWSL Defender of the Year and NWSL Best XI First Team; Moultrie Played in 22 NWSL Games as an 18-Year-Old and Earned First USWNT Caps in 2023

CHICAGO (Jan. 11, 2024) – In a year in which she was one of the USA’s best players at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and was the National Women’s Soccer League Defender of the Year, helping San Diego Wave FC win the NWSL Shield as regular season champions, defender Naomi Girma has been voted the 2023 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.

Girma is the first pure defender to win the award in the 39 years it has been given out. Goalkeeper Hope Solo won in 2009 and defensive midfielder Julie Ertz won in 2017 and 2019, but all the other winners have been attacking-minded midfielders or forwards.

This is the first U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award for Girma. She becomes the 20th different player to win the award in its 39-year history. Girma also becomes just the sixth player to win both U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year (which she won in 2020) and U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, joining Sophia Smith, Lindsey Horan, Julie Ertz, Tobin Heath and Lauren Cheney Holiday.

The 23-year-old Girma is heading into just her third professional season and third year on the full National Team. At the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, her first world championship at the senior level, she was one of the USA’s best and most consistent players, marshalling a defense that allowed just one goal and a total of two shots on goal over the four matches. She finished the year third on the USWNT in minutes played and started all 16 games she played, helping lead the U.S. defense to its lowest ever goals against average (0.17 goals allowed per game) in a calendar year (minimum 10 games played).

“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,” said Girma. “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.”

Fans can celebrate the 2023 U.S. Female Player of the Year by purchasing this commemorative Naomi Girma t-shirt at the U.S. Soccer Store.

Capping off a year in which she made her international debut for the U.S. Women’s National Team and set personal bests at the club level for Portland Thorns FC, midfielder Olivia Moultrie has been voted as 2023 Chipotle Young Female Player of the Year Award.

One of the USA’s top players at the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, the 18-year-old Moultrie joins a long line of talented players to win the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year Award, which was first awarded in 1998 to current U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone.

“I’m just super exited and thankful to everyone who voted for me for this award, it’s really special,” said Moultrie. “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.”

One of the top players for the U.S. at last year’s FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, Moultrie kicked off 2023 in a January training camp with the Under-18/Under-19 Women’s Youth National Teams and closed out the year making two appearances for the senior National Team. Moultrie earned her first USWNT cap on Dec. 2, 2023, coming on in the second half of the USA’s win over China PR in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. At 18 years and 76 days of age, she became the 72nd teenager all-time to earn a cap for the USWNT. She also played the final 22 minutes of the USA’s Dec. 5 win in Frisco, Texas.

Having now completed her third season of professional soccer with Portland Thorns FC, Moultrie more than doubled her NWSL starts from each of the previous two seasons while showing savvy and professionalism beyond her years, appearing in all 22 regular season matches for Portland while making 12 starts and logging over 1,200 minutes of action. She tallied two goals and three assists during the regular season, helping Portland finish second in the NWSL standings, and also made six appearances – five of which were starts - during the NWSL Challenge Cup while tallying one assist.

Moultrie is the fifth-youngest player to win the award after Sophia Smith, Mallory Pugh (now Swanson), Ashley Sanchez, Kristie Mewis and last year’s winner Jaedyn Shaw.

For the second time, fans were able to vote for the U.S. Soccer Player and Young Player of the Year Awards with those votes weighted at 15% of the total. Of the five finalists for the Female Player of the Year Award, Girma garnered 61.6 percent of the overall tabulated votes followed by midfielder Lindsey Horan (23.2%).

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.

Moultrie earned 38.3 percent of the overall vote for the Young Female Player of the Year, just ahead of forward Alyssa Thompson (31.5%), who was the youngest player on the USA’s roster at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Twenty-three of the 26 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year winners have earned caps with the full USWNT and 15 of them have gone on to play in a FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year has been awarded since 1985, when midfielder Sharon Remer earned the first Female Player of the Year honor. Abby Wambach won it six times, the most of any player. Mia Hamm won it five times.

The all-time winners for both awards are below.


Year Female Player of the Year Year Young Female Player of the Year
1985 Sharon Remer 1998 Cindy Parlow
1986 April Heinrichs 1999 Lorrie Fair
1987 Carin Jennings 2000 Aly Wagner
1988 Joy Biefeld 2001 Aleisha Cramer
1989 April Heinrichs 2002 Lindsay Tarpley
1990 Michelle Akers 2003 Cat Reddick
1991 Michelle Akers 2004 Heather O'Reilly
1992 Carin Gabarra 2005 Lori Chalupny
1993 Kristine Lilly 2006 Danesha Adams
1994 Mia Hamm 2007 Lauren Cheney
1995 Mia Hamm 2008 Kristie Mewis
1996 Mia Hamm 2009 Tobin Health
1997 Mia Hamm 2010 Bianca Henninger
1998 Mia Hamm 2011 Sydney Leroux
1999 Michelle Akers 2012 Julie Johnston
2000 Tiffeny Milbrett 2013 Lindsey Horan
2001 Tiffeny Milbrett 2014 Morgan Brian
2002 Shannon MacMillan   2015 Mallory Pugh
2003 Abby Wambach 2016 Ashley Sanchez
2004 Abby Wambach 2017 Sophia Smith
2005 Kristine Lilly 2018 Tierna Davidson
2006 Kristine Lilly 2019 Brianna Pinto
2007 Abby Wambach 2020 Naomi Girma
2008 Carli Lloyd 2021 Trinity Rodman
2009 Hope Solo 2022 Jaedyn Shaw
2010 Abby Wambach 2023 Olivia Moultrie
2011 Abby Wambach
2012 Alex Morgan
2013 Abby Wambach
2014 Lauren Holiday
2015 Carli Lloyd
2016 Tobin Heath
2017 Julie Ertz
2018 Alex Morgan
2019 Julie Ertz
2020 Samanta Mewis
2021 Lindsey Horan
2022 Sophia Smith
2023 Naomi Girma