Portland Thorns Academy joins ECNL Girls

The NWSL's Portland Thorns have moved the Thorns Academy to ECNL Girls after it spent three years in the Girls Development Academy, which folded in April.

“We are committed to the Thorns Academy and believe entering into this partnership with the ECNL will be key in its growth and success,” said Gavin Wilkinson, the Thorns' general manager and president of soccer. “The ECNL is a proven national competition platform that will give our players the best opportunity to reach their full potential as we strive to develop players for youth national teams, top college programs and the first team.”

The Thorns Academy, a founding DA member, began play in four age groups (U-14, U-15, U-17 and U-19), added a fifth team at the U-16 level in 2019 and will enter a sixth age group in the ECNL with a team at the U-13 level for the first time.

The Thorns feature Olivia Moultrie, who signed with Nike at the age of 13 in 2019 and moved from Southern California to enter the Thorns Academy.

Moultrie, 14, appeared with the Thorns U-19 team in the 2019-20 Academy season and was the youngest player to participate in training camp with the U.S. U-17 women’s national team in January.

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