Olivia Moultrie wins another round in court fight with NWSL

Olivia Moultrie, the 15-year-old player who took the National Women's Soccer League to court over its age rule, won another battle in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, when the court granted her request for a preliminary injunction.

The ruling prevents the league from enforcing its policy of not allowing players younger than 18 to sign pro contracts.

It followed a 14-day temporary restraining order issued on May 24.

U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut wrote that her conclusion was still the same -- the NWSL and its teams agreed to exclude female athletes from playing in the only pro women's league in the United States in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act  and Moultrie met the criteria for a preliminary injunction:

-- The merits favor Moultrie's position (she has a good chance of winning);
-- She would be irreparably harmed if there was no preliminary injunction in place; and
-- It's in the public interest that girls have the same opportunities in the NWSL as boys have in MLS.

Moultrie moved from California to Oregon two years ago to train with the Portland Thorns. They recently acquired Moultrie's rights in a trade with the Thorns' rival, OL Reign, which had put in a discovery claim on Moultrie.

What makes the issue timely for Moultrie is that she would likely get a chance to play over the next 6-8 weeks because several Thorns players will be unavailable due to their participation in the Olympics.

4 comments about "Olivia Moultrie wins another round in court fight with NWSL".
  1. Bob Ashpole, June 19, 2021 at 3:43 a.m.

    Three cheers for the judge. 

  2. Tom Swan replied, June 19, 2021 at 9:15 a.m.

    Hear, Hear!

  3. R2 Dad, June 19, 2021 at 9:25 a.m.

    As an aside, I find it interesting OL Reign and by extension Lyon did not find her worth keeping and traded her away. Why might that be? I've watched her clips and have my suspicions.

  4. Jen Cooper, June 20, 2021 at 1:01 a.m.

    OL Reign put in a discovery claim knowing that she'd been training with Portland for the last two years. They have no roster space but by claiming Moultrie they forced Portland to trade for her, and acquired an extra draft pick.

    Reign's parent club Lyon can not, per FIFA regulations, do anything with Moultrie or her rights until she turns 18. That's the gist of her suit against NWSL. Since she's not 18, she cannot play in any other country, and NWSL is prevented her from playing in the one country she can. And note that if Reign did keep her NWSL rights, that would not prevent her (at age 18) from pursuing a contract with any foreign club. NWSL rights don't extend beyond NWSL.

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