The Portland Thorns have broken another barrier, signing the youngest player in NWSL history.
On Wednesday the club officially announced the signing of 15-year-old midfielder Olivia Moultrie.
According to the team, Moultrie signed a 3-year deal.
Portland acquired the rights to Moultrie from OL Reign earlier this year in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft.
“We are pleased to have Olivia join our team,” Thorns FC general manager and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson said in the team's press release. “She has been part of this club since early 2019 and there have been many Thorns staff fully invested in her development.”
Moultrie started training with the Thorns when she was just 13-years-old and made appearances in preseason games with the team each of the last three seasons.
At the time, players under 18 could play in preseason games but could not sign with them. That all changed when Moultrie sued the league.
Moultrie’s lawyers challenged the notion and arguing that the NWSL’s requirement “violates antitrust law, harms her development as a soccer player and delays the likelihood of her being invited to play on the U.S. Women’s National Team or an Olympic team.”
“Ms. Moultrie does not seek an order from this Court awarding her a contract or a roster slot,” her lawyers wrote in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on Tuesday. “Rather, she seeks removal of an unlawful barrier to her participation.”
On June 18th a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction that allowed Moultrie to sign with the NWSL, and the Thorns took advantage.
“This step is very important for Olivia,” said Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons. “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.”
Following the news of the signing, Moultrie took to social media to show her appreciation.