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San Diego Wave players and coaches win several postseason awards

All in all the team had three people take home four postseason awards.
Credit: CBS 8

SAN DIEGO — San Diego Wave FC recently completed their landmark inaugural season in America’s Finest City. The club made history as the first expansion team to make the playoffs in the NWSL. In addition to the success on the field the team also broke both the NWSL Playoff attendance record and the NWSL regular-season record, with 26,215 and 32,000 fans at Snapdragon Stadium.

The accolades don’t stop there. Three members of the team were recently recognized with postseason awards.

Wave FC’s Kailen Sheridan was voted as 2022 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year.

After joining Wave FC in an offseason trade with NJ/NY Gotham FC in 2021, Sheridan anchored San Diego’s defense in 18 regular season matches, registering an 8-5-5 record. Thanks to Sheridan’s stout goalkeeping, the club ranked second in team defense among the league and became the first expansion side to earn a playoff berth in its inaugural season.

Sheridan registered a 75 percent save percentage and recorded eight clean sheets. Stopping 56 shots throughout the regular season for a 0.95 goals against average, the Whitby, Ontario native also enjoyed her second-straight regular season with an average under 1.00.

According to the team, Sheridan kept notably calm under pressure during the 2022 campaign, stopping three of four penalty-kick attempts, good for the most saved shots from the spot this season.

Wave FC’s Naomi Girma was voted 2022 NWSL Rookie of the Year and Defender of the Year.

Girma becomes the only NWSL player to secure two individual end-of-year awards in a rookie season.

Appearing in more than 1,800 minutes of play throughout the regular season, Girma’s impressive first NWSL campaign helped Wave FC post a defensive effort that averaged less than a goal against per game in 22 matches.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, Girma was a steady presence on the Wave FC backline, finishing the regular season with 95 clearances, 24 interceptions and 20 tackles in 20 games. The San Jose, California native also registered 176 recoveries and led all league defenders in possession won in the defensive half.

Girma enjoyed a more than 90 percent passing accuracy, the best clip among San Diego defenders and a top-10 percentage in the league. She also boasted a 71 percent duel success rate, a league best among backs who played at least 14 games.

Throughout the regular season, Girma’s performance earned her spots on four of the league’s five Best XI of Month rosters as well as two Rookie of the Month selections.

Postseason awards were not only for players. San Diego Wave FC head coach Casey Stoney was named 2022 NWSL Coach of the Year.

After becoming the expansion side’s first head coach ahead of the 2022 season, Stoney quickly established Wave FC as one of the top teams in the league, leading the club to a 4-1-0 record in its opening five matches. Under Stoney, the team continued to find success, rounding out the regular season with a top-3 finish and a 10-6-6 record.

Stoney led Wave FC to one of the top-ranked defenses during the regular season, allowing just 21 goals in 22 matches, and outscoring opponents 32-20. On September 22, Stoney helped cement Wave FC in the history books as the first expansion side to reach the NWSL Playoffs in its inaugural season.

The second woman to win the NWSL’s top coaching award, Stoney is also one of two head coaches to record 10 regular season wins in their first full season with the league since 2014.

A former player and captain for the English National Team, Stoney joined the NWSL as San Diego’s first head coach in 2021 after serving as head coach of Manchester United in the Women’s Super League.

San Diego Wave advances to semifinals after defeating Chicago Red Stars at Snapdragon Stadium

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