Olivia Moultrie made history Saturday night when she became the youngest player to appear in an NWSL match. The 15-year-old Portland Thorns midfielder came on as a late sub in Louisville just three days after signing a professional contract with the club.
Wearing the No. 42 jersey, Moultrie was an 83rd-minute replacement for Angela Salem. The previous youngest player in NWSL history was 18.
Born Sept. 17, 2005, Moultrie signed with Portland only after winning a legal battle against the NWSL for the right to sign a pro contract.
A federal judge ruled in June that the NWSL’s age restriction preventing players under 18 from signing for league clubs was unenforceable.
“For this club to have the commitment and vision to sign a young, talented player that we really believe in is immense,” Thorns head coach Mark Parsons said in a club statement announcing the signing.
Moultrie, a native of Wilsonville, Ore., has been part of the Thorns’ setup since 2019, playing for the academy and training with the first team. She also has featured in preseason competition with the senior side.
She also plays for the U.S. Under-15 and Under-17 teams.
In her 11 minutes on the field Saturday, including four minutes of stoppage time, Moultrie played in the attacking midfield position. She made a few challenges, caused a turnover in the attacking half and connected on a pass near the opposition area.
She came into the match with the Thorns leading 2-0. That scoreline held as the final result.