25 May Olivia Moultrie: 15-year-old soccer player should be allowed to play in US professional women’s league, judge rules
Such restrictions do not exist in the US men’s professional league, the MLS, or in European Women’s Leagues, according to the order.
Following the decision, Len Simon, an attorney representing Moultrie, expressed delight, telling CNN in an email, “We are very pleased with the court’s ruling.”
CNN has reached out to NWSL for comment but has not yet heard back.
Moultrie feels not being on team is delaying improvement
The application for a restraining order was filed on May 4 and sought to stop NWSL from enforcing its rule that players must be 18 or older.
Moultrie is quoted as saying the age restriction “will continually slow her development, delay her improvement, and more generally impede her career as a soccer player.”
“Plaintiff has shown that the ten teams that make up the NWSL have agreed to impose the NWSL’s age restriction which excludes female competitors from the only available professional soccer opportunity in the United States because they are under 18, regardless of talent, maturity, strength, and ability,” the ruling states.
The approved restraining order will expire in two weeks and a preliminary injunction hearing may be scheduled in the case, according to the ruling.
The judge said her decision served the public interest because it promotes gender equality.
“This Court notes that the NWSL’s comparable men’s league in the United States, MLS, has no age limit and employs players under 18,” Immergut stated, noting that “more than half of MLS teams allegedly had one or more players on their roster under the age of 18.”
“In other words, the only thing currently standing between Plaintiff and her aspiration to be a professional soccer player in this country is her gender,” Immergut concluded. “Promoting gender equity in athletics is clearly in the public interest.”
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