A federal judge ruled that 15-year-old soccer star Olivia Moultrie should have the same opportunity as men to sign for a national women’s soccer league team, even though she is under the age of 18.
US District Judge Karin Immergut on Monday Issued an injunction blocking the NWSL’s age rule and allowing 15-year-old Moultrie to seek a place on a professional team. The young football extraordinary has been training, playing and taking part in preparatory games with the Portland Thorns since she was 13 The Oregonian.
Earlier this month, Moultrie and her family filed a lawsuit against the NWSL for allegedly violating antitrust laws by not allowing Moultrie to be signed by a team, The Oregonian reported. The lawsuit reportedly alleged that the age rule caused Moultrie’s career to be “irreparably damaged” because a ban on signing a professional team would delay their chances of being invited to the Olympics or the US women’s national team could.
Moultrie’s legal department also cited that players under the age of 18 have been signed to major league soccer men’s teams and that soccer teams around the world allow players of any age to sign.
“[The NWSL] have not provided a legitimate competitive justification for treating young women who wish to have the opportunity to play professional football differently from young men. ” Judge Immergut wrote in her judgment. She added that “offering girls equal opportunities as boys in the US” is in the public interest.
The injunction is valid for 14 days, unless the court extends it. Leonard Simon, one of Moultrie’s attorneys, told The Oregonian that they were “very, very pleased with the court’s decision.”
Moultrie tweeted last week: “The only combination of gender and country in the world that I can’t play professional football in is a woman in the US. Just one thing to note. “
A spokesman for the NWSL said multiple sockets The league’s current collective agreement with the NWSL Players’ Association would deal with “Conditions of Employment, including the Age Rule”.
“We continue to believe this is the appropriate place for a decision on this issue and are currently reviewing our options regarding the district court order,” the spokesman continued.
Moultrie’s impressive resume as a soccer player includes recruitment by the University of North Carolina soccer team at age 11 and a nine-year endorsement deal with Nike.
The young soccer star received support from professional soccer players like Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan: