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Creating better pathways for young female football players in USA: Olivia Moultrie v NWSL

Female Footballer Standing on Pitch
Wednesday, 06 October 2021 By Sarah Hartley

In recent years, women’s soccer has gained momentum and popularity in the United States.  The success of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) and its fight for equal pay have garnered significant media attention, and have accelerated the growth of an already significant crop of young women athletes choosing to focus on soccer. 

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the third effort at a women’s professional soccer league in the United States, was established in 2013 and has seen growth in its popularity and fan base, though it lags far behind other popular sports in America.  To be a professional female soccer player in America is still not a lucrative pathway, but it is the primary, if not only, stepping stone from youth or collegiate soccer to a chance at the USWNT, whose prominence has inspired a new generation of promising young players.

The NWSL has an age rule which stipulates that the players paid to play in the NWSL must be of a minimum age of 18 years old. One of the most prominent of the rising stars in US women’s soccer is Olivia Moultrie, who recently sued the NWSL to obtain the right to play professional women’s soccer at the age of 15 years.

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Sarah Hartley

Sarah Hartley

Sarah Hartley is a Partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's Boulder office practicing in the Commercial Litigation and Antitrust groups. She is the head of the firm’s Outdoor Industry team and a member of the Sports and Entertainment Group.

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