Soccer Player Settles Antitrust Suit Over Minimum Age

The National Women’s Soccer League has reached a settlement with the 15-year-old athletic prodigy who brought an antitrust challenge to its minimum playing age, after preliminary rulings cleared the way for her to sign a contract in June, according to a federal court filing Wednesday in Oregon.

The teen phenom, Olivia Moultrie, has agreed to drop her claims against the NWSL and its affiliates, while the league will stop opposing her bid to play professionally, the two sides said in a joint filing in the US District Court for the District of Oregon.

Moultrie made headlines in May when she filed an antitrust suit challenging the NWSL and its rule of prohibiting players under 18. The lawsuit had argued that the league’s age rule violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and also hindered Moultrie’s career development and chances of reaching the US national team.

The NWSL stated that the age issue should be part of the ongoing collective bargaining agreement (CBA) talks with the NWSL Players Association. US District Judge Karin J. Immergut granted a preliminary injunction earlier this month, which prohibited the NWSL from enforcing the age rule and cleared a path for Moultrie to sign with a team.

“Every coach has always told me there’s a lot you can do in training, but where you really grow and mature as a player is in games,” Moultrie said. “And for that to finally be here, for me to take that next step and just continue to grow as a player, like I said multiple times it’s just very exciting and I know this is where I’ll be able to grow the most.”

“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.”

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