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Backheeled’s American Soccer Awards: USMNT, USWNT player of the year, best young player & more

Welcome to the first annual edition of the BASAs!

5 min read
Design: Peyton Gallaher

Drum roll, please.

Introducing… Backheeled’s American Soccer Awards

To help close out 2023, we’re handing out awards to deserving players from around the American soccer landscape. From the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams, to MLS, the NWSL, and the USL, the BASAs (yes, that’s the super cool and original abbreviation we’ve been using behind the scenes that you can now use, too) are here to recognize a host of different folks at various levels of the game.

Who will end up with a BASA this year? Let’s get to the winners.

USWNT Player of the Year: Naomi Girma, San Diego Wave

It’s no secret that this summer’s World Cup was a rough one for the U.S. women’s national team. Falling in the Round of 16 after years of mismanagement and under-performing, few players covered themselves in glory.

Naomi Girma certainly did, though. Don’t believe me? Just ask NWSL midfielder Brianna Pinto, who analyzed Girma’s showing in Australia and New Zealand for Backheeled in August.

Girma’s performance this summer was the single best part of the team’s World Cup campaign, with the young center back filling Sauerbrunn’s center back shoes with ease… Whether you ask me or any of her other teammates, everyone knows what they’ll get from Girma: complete focus, defensive tenacity, composure on the ball, and a smile that lights up any room.

At just 23, Girma will be involved in the BASAs for years to come.

Player’s perspective: Naomi Girma is a bright spot from USWNT’s disappointing World Cup
Here’s what makes Girma so special, in the words of her former national team roommate.

Honorable mentions: Mallory Swanson, Julie Ertz

USMNT Player of the Year: Christian Pulisic, AC Milan

2023 wasn’t a banner year for the U.S. men’s national team or its players, but Christian Pulisic had some big moments for both club and country. 

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