Olivia Moultrie is finally, officially, a professional footballer — and the youngest NWSL player ever too.
Moultrie, 15, moved to Portland at the age of 13 from California to begin training with the Portland Thorns of the NWSL, which had a strict age requirement of 18. After suing the National Women’s Soccer League over age restrictions, she’s been given a chance to sign a professional contract with the Thorns, agreeing to a three-year deal, the max allowable in NWSL.
Olivia Moultrie is a ThornThe 15-year-old midfielder signed a three-year contract with the club today.
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) June 30, 2021
“We are pleased to have Olivia join our team,” Gavin Wilkinson, Thorns FC general manager and president of soccer, said in a news release. “She has been part of this club since early 2019 and there have been many Thorns staff fully invested in her development.”
Despite Moultrie’s long link to the Thorns, Portland had to obtain her rights from OL Reign by trading away a third-round draft pick in 2022.
Incredibly proud and humble to sign my first professional contract today! Too many people to thank in a tweet, but @ThornsFC is where my ❤️ is at. My goals are bigger than this, but can’t wait for this step! pic.twitter.com/bZzX3s5dYk— Olivia Moultrie (@olivia_moultrie) June 30, 2021
Moultrie, who was offered a scholarship by North Carolina at age 11, has had to fight for her chance to play in the NWSL, which has a strict age limit requiring players to be at least 18 years old. Moultrie already has a six-figure endorsement with Nike and argued that any other league or country would allow her to play. MLS regularly features players under the age of 18.
Ultimately, a judge ruled in her favor, though the NWSL is reportedly appealing that decision.
...or if I were a boy. The only gender and country combination in the entire world where I can’t play professional soccer is as a female in the United States. Just something to consider. https://t.co/R9aERjuq1X— Olivia Moultrie (@olivia_moultrie) May 21, 2021
Just to be clear, Olivia is a pro in all but matchdays. She should be able to play in the @NWSL and we should be nurturing young talent—allowing them to develop by playing against the best. Let her play. https://t.co/61poKXp7an— Becky Sauerbrunn (@beckysauerbrunn) April 14, 2021
In other NWSL news on Wednesday, Angel City FC unveiled its stunning logo.
Los detalles.Our values & mission are found in every detail. This is our identity, our crest. #WeAreAngelCity pic.twitter.com/oAluxYF4D0
— Angel City FC (@weareangelcity) June 30, 2021