Home Soccer Soccer phenom Olivia Moultrie, 16, becomes NWSL’s youngest scorer

Soccer phenom Olivia Moultrie, 16, becomes NWSL’s youngest scorer

Soccer phenom Olivia Moultrie, 16, becomes NWSL’s youngest scorer

Sixteen-year-old Oliva Moultrie became the youngest scorer in the history of the National Women’s Soccer league when she beat goalkeeper Jane Campbell in the second half of a Portland Thorns win over the Houston Dash.

Moultrie found the net in the 74th minute of the 4-0 victory Sunday at PNC Stadium in Houston. She also logged an assist in the shutout win.

Former Thorns defender Ellie Carpenter held the previous record as the league’s youngest scorer. She was 18-years-old when she set the previous mark in 2018.

Moultrie found out she was a starter after Canadian star striker Christine Sinclair was ruled out after warmups.

“Everyone was super encouraging,” Moultrie told Fox 12 on Sunday in a postgame interview. “They were like ‘you’ve got this, you’ve done this a million times. You are ready for this.’

“Them all having my back made it much easier to step in.”

Moultrie started at forward alongside Sophia Smith. The Thorns took a 1-0 lead on an own goal from defender Katie Naughton about 40 seconds into the game. Smith doubled the advantage with a penalty kick in the 23rd minute, and the Thorns carried the 2-0 lead into halftime.

Moultrie then made history about midway through the second half. Another Naughton error led to that score. The Dash center back attempted to clear the ball, but instead tapped the ball directly to smith in the right side of the box.

Smith did a quick dribble move on Naughton to create space. She then sent a short pass to her left, which found Moultrie. The young striker used her first touch to fire a shot on the net. Campbell deflected the shot, but the ball still found the inside of the far post for a 3-0 lead.

Moultrie assisted Smith for the final score in the 82nd minute. Moultrie’s initial attempt was blocked during that sequence. She recovered the rebound and found Smith on her right. Smith sidestepped a defender and placed a slow roller just past the goal line for the final blow.

In 2019, Moultrie signed an endorsement deal with Nike at just 13 and opted to forgo a collegiate career at North Carolina. The Tar Heels offered her a scholarship when she was 11.
She signed with the Thorns last June — when she was 15 — to become the youngest player in NWSL history. She made her on-field debut July 3.
Previous NWSL rules prohibited players younger than 18 from participation, but Moultrie sued the league for the right to become professional. The league announced in July that it reached a settlement in the antitrust lawsuit, which cleared her path to play.
Moultrie made nine appearances last season and appeared four times in 2022.
The Thorns will host the Orlando Pride at 3 p.m. EDT Sunday at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. They totaled three wins, four draws and one loss through eight games this season.
The Thorns sit in third place in the 12-team league, behind San Diego Wave FC and the Chicago Red Stars.


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