Olivia Moultrie becomes the youngest NWSL shooter

Olivia Moultrie becomes the youngest NWSL shooter

On Sunday night, Olivia Moultrie made history by becoming the youngest goal scorer in the history of the National Women’s Soccer League. In a 4-0 demolition of the Houston Dash at BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas, the 16-year-old scored the third goal for the Portland Thorns in the 74th minute. Sophia Smith took advantage of a Houston fumble in their own final third and squared the ball for Moultrie, who scored her first career goal. “Obviously, I’m ecstatic to be able to score my first goal,” Moultrie said afterward, “but more importantly, just how huge of a win that was for us as a team and what we’ve been working on.” “It’s just a very exciting time all around.”

She plays well beyond her years,” Thorns coach Rhian Wilkinson said. “She’s had frustrating moments where she just wants to play. She’s a young player who just wants opportunity, and obviously with the last-minute change in the lineup, she got it. Just professional right from the start. Did the work defensively, made some very important tackles for us on the ball, kept it, kept finding the opposite side, and then got in the box and what an unselfish play by Sophia Smith [on the goal].”

The teenager, who was a late addition to the starting lineup after captain Christine Sinclair felt tightness in a muscle during warmups, eclipsed a NWSL record previously held by Ellie Carpenter, who had just turned 18 when she scored for the Thorns in a 2018 match.

Moultrie, who made headlines by turning professional and signing a deal with Nike when she was 13, filed a lawsuit against the NWSL last year asserting that she should be able to play despite a rule prohibiting players under 18.

The suit alleged that the league’s age rule violated antitrust law and hindered Moultrie’s career development and chances of reaching the US national team. US district judge Karin J Immergut granted a preliminary injunction allowing her to play in June 2021, and Moultrie eventually reached a settlement with the league.

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