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The Portland Thorns signed 15-year-old midfielder Olivia Moultrie to a three-year contract Wednesday, making her the youngest player in the history of the National Women's Soccer League.
Moultrie filed a lawsuit against the NWSL in early May seeking to overturn the league's rule that players must be at least 18 years old, on the grounds that the rule violated antitrust law. The U.S. District judge in the case granted a preliminary injunction in the case two weeks ago.
Moultrie, a native of Wilsonville, Ore., has trained with the Thorns since 2019. She has played for their Academy under-16 and under-18 squads and appeared in a preseason invitational for the main club.
Still, her NWSL rights technically belonged to OL Reign. The Thorns traded a 2022 third-round draft pick to the Reign in exchange for the rights to Moultrie.
"This step is very important for Olivia," Thorns FC coach Mark Parsons told the team's website. "For this club to have the commitment and vision to sign a young, talented player that we really believe in is immense. Olivia has continued to grow and push forward throughout her time here and has taken every challenge and turned it into an opportunity."
Called a phenom by the soccer media, Moultrie signed a sponsorship agreement with Nike when she was 13 and has competed above her age level within the U.S. national team program.
It's still unknown when Moultrie will make her debut for the Thorns, whose next game is Saturday at Racing Louisville.
--Field Level Media