NWSL Moves: Thorns sign 17-year-old Australian star Carpenter

The Portland Thorns FC signed 17-year-old Australian defender Ellie Carpenter, who made her debut with the Matildas at the age of 15 in 2016 and has earned 13 caps.

Carpenter is so young that FIFA rules prevent her from joining the NWSL champions until she turns 18 on April 28. She will arrive in Portland after the conclusion of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. The tournament, which serves as 2019 Women’s World Cup qualifying in Asia, will take place April 7-22. She is on the preliminary 25-player squad for Australia's trip next week to Portugal for the 2018 Algarve Cup.

“Ellie is regarded as one of the top young players in the world and we are delighted by the opportunity to further her development,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for Thorns FC. “She fits a positional need and we look forward to her joining the club after she turns 18.”

Carpenter began her career in the W-League with Western Sydney Wanderers in 2015 and joined Canberra United ahead of the 2017-18 season. She was the youngest Australian Olympian at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The signing came two days after the Thorns learned another Australian, Caitlin Foord, ruptured the lisfranc ligament in her foot and will undergo surgery.

Foord's rights were acquired this offseason in a trade that sent Thorns original Allie Long to Seattle. The injury took place while playing for Sydney FC against the Newcastle Jets in the W-League semifinals.

It's the same injury Sebastian Lletget suffered playing for the USA in World Cup qualifying last March. He missed the rest of the season with the LA Galaxy.

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