After ruling that the league couldn’t enforce its age requirement that players must be at least 18, Olivia Moultrie (15-year-old Soccer player) was allowed to sign with the NWSL club.
Moultrie has now signed a contract for three years with Portland Thorns FC. The team announced Wednesday. She can play immediately.
Moultrie stated in a press release that “This is a dream come to life and I can’t WAIT to officially join my Thorns colleagues in competition.” “I am grateful to my legal team for helping me get this done. They were nothing short of extraordinary.”
According to a press release by the Thorns, Portland has acquired Moultrie’s rights from OL Reign (the NWSL club), who had her rights as the first team in the NWSL discovery priority lists. OL Reign will be given a third-round selection in the 2022 NWSL draft.
Moultrie started training with Thorns FC in the 2019 season. She has also participated in preseason competitions in the last three seasons.
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Mark Parsons, Thorns’ head coach, stated that Olivia is extremely important. It is a huge feat for this club to be able to sign a talented, young player we believe in. Olivia has been constantly growing and pushing forward during her time here. She has taken every challenge and made it a learning experience.
“We are happy to have Olivia join us,” Gavin Wilkinson (Thorns FC’s general manager and president of soccer) said. “She’s been a member of the club since early 2019, and many Thorns staff have fully invested in her growth.”
Moultrie was granted a preliminary order by Karin J. Immergut, US District Court Judge. Moultrie’s father claimed that the NWSL’s ban on players younger than 18 signing with a team is a violation of federal antitrust laws.
Immergut’s order reveals that Major League Soccer’s men’s equivalent to the NWSL has no minimum age and that “more than half” of MLS teams allegedly had one player under 18.