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Top draft pick Naomi Girma ready for pro journey with San Diego Wave FC

Stanford captain poised as her name was called first.

2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Naomi Girma made history on Saturday as the latest No. 1 overall pick in the NWSL Draft, and the San Diego Wave FC-bound player did not seem overwhelmed by the moment.

Already a U.S. international, the three-year Stanford University captain is accustomed to being in the spotlight, but this is the biggest spotlight to date for the player.

With San Diego vowing to keep the top pick ahead of the draft, head coach Casey Stoney appearing to fully endorse Girma’s selection to her squad ahead of time, Girma herself demurred on whether she knew she would be selected first overall in Saturday’s draft, but she told reporters she’s ready to learn as well as contribute.

“I’m excited to just come in as the younger player and learn from those that are already there. Really just give my all to the team and learn from the coaches. The staff and everyone,” Girma said on the draft broadcast after her selection.

While Girma may slot in alongside Abby Dahlkemper on San Diego’s backline in 2022, there is the possibility she could be moved to a new position in midfield if there is a need. She seemed to expect to be playing in defense, though said she’ll see what happens.

“Hopefully [I can contribute] as a top defender, yeah, just continuing to make plays and continuing to learn from the players that are already in the league. I think there are so many amazing players in the draft this year and and in the league already who I can learn from and just continue to develop with,” she said.

A Bay Area native, the NWSL may be coming to California but Girma will have to make the move downstate to SoCal. She laughed as she expressed positive feelings about the opportunity while still repping her NorCal roots.

“I’m looking forward to obviously the amazing weather,” Girma told reporters. “I’m a big NorCal fan as I’m from here, but I’m looking forward to the weather and just a soccer atmosphere. And SoCal, I feel like there’s a big following for women’s soccer and I’m excited to be part of it.”

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