Olivia Moultrie: What is the story of the 15-year-old NWSL history maker?

Olivia Moultrie

Despite being just 15 years of age, Olivia Moultrie is already a trailblazer in American women's football.

After making history as the youngest ever player to sign a professional contract in the National Women's Soccer League, the starlet netted her first senior goal in spectacular fashion.

GiveMeSport Women runs through the timeline of her remarkable rise to the professional game and how she changed the game for young women everywhere.

Signing her first professional deal

After a long wait and some appearances in court, Moultrie finally signed the professional contract she had been desperate for.

The 15-year-old penned a three-year deal with Portland Thorns back in June, marking a huge milestone not just in her own career, but in the NWSL's timeline.

However, it's not been a smooth ride for Moultrie, whose bid to turn professional looked very much in doubt earlier this year. 

NWSL minimum age cap

Prior to signing her first professional deal, Moultrie was told she had to wait until she was 18 before she could become a full-time NWSL professional. The league was strict on its age rules, which would normally leave youngsters feeling deflated and above all, defeated. But Moultrie was determined to fight her corner.

The teen filed a federal antitrust lawsuit in April to appeal against the league's age restrictions. A month later, a court ruled in favour of Moultrie, stating the NWSL failed to persuasively offer "legitimate procompetitive justification for treating young women who want an opportunity to play professional soccer differently than young men."

Despite paperwork stating she only became a professional in July 2021, Moultrie has been carrying herself as a professional for years.

In 2019, when she was just 13, she signed a nine-year endorsement deal with Nike. She has also been training with the Portland Thorns first team in the lead up to her green light to actually compete in the NWSL.

Youngest NWSL professional

Moultrie's determination to land her senior contract has inspired so many football professionals and fans around the world. 

On June 30th, Portland Thorns announced the teen sensation as an official player on their roster, making her the NWSL's youngest ever professional player.

For Moultrie and everyone at Portland, this has been a long time coming.

Head coach Mark Parsons said of the deal: "This step is very important for Olivia. For this club to have the commitment and vision to sign a young, talented player that we really believe in is immense."

The support Moultrie has received has not been limited to just Thorns fans. Women's football fans, in general, are delighted to see the hard work of such a young, promising talent finally paying off.

First professional goal

Moultrie has featured in a number of games for the Thorns since she signed her contract, but none will have felt as sweet as her debut Women's International Champions Cup campaign.

The teen stepped up to take a free-kick for her side, putting enormous pressure onto her young shoulders as Portland trailed 2-1 to Houston Dash.

Her strike got the better of Amanda Dennis in the opposition goal and pulled the scoreline even as the ball curled into the bottom left corner.

The crowd erupted into celebration as Moultrie's teammates sprinted to the teenage star, almost unable to believe the goal she had just scored on such a big stage.

Olivia Moultrie and Portland Thorns

The youngster's equaliser inspired the Thorns to go on and win their semi-final clash on penalties, beating the Dash 3-1 in the shootout.

Thanks to Moultrie's stunning debut goal, Portland will face off against Lyon in the final of the WICC on Saturday as they vie for their first ever title in this tournament. 

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