SOCCER

Portland Thorns sign teenage phenom Moultrie after legal fight with NWSL


A judge granted the teenager a preliminary injunction earlier this month that paved the way for her to sign a pro contract

The Portland Thorns have signed midfielder Olivia Moultrie, 15, after a protracted legal battle with the National Women’s Soccer League. 

The NWSL attempted to prevent Moultrie from signing a professional deal, citing the league’s minimum age of 18. 

After suing the league, Moultrie and her legal team were granted a preliminary injunction earlier this month that allowed her to sign a three-year deal with the Thorns.

What was said?

“We are pleased to have Olivia join our team,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Thorns general manager and president of soccer. “She has been part of this club since early 2019 and there have been many Thorns staff fully invested in her development.”

“This step is very important for Olivia,” added Thorns 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.”

On Twitter, Moultrie added: “Incredibly proud and humble to sign my first professional contract today! Too many people to thank in a tweet, but Thorns FC is where my heart is at. My goals are bigger than this, but can’t wait for this step!”

Moultrie’s journey

Moultrie made headlines in 2019 when she turned professional at age 13, becoming the youngest female soccer player to ever do so.

She has been training with the Thorns since 2019 but, due to the league’s age restriction, has only been able to play with the team in non-official matches. 

On the international stage, Moultrie has represented the United States at the U-15 and U-17 levels. 

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