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USWNT roster: Meet Olivia Moultrie, the NWSL’s groundbreaking teen

(Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)

Olivia Moultrie has gotten her first call to the U.S. women’s national team.

The 18-year-old midfielder has featured in the U.S. Soccer system before, having played for the U-20 team at the 2022 U-20 FIFA World Cup. She is one of three players on the October training camp roster from that tournament, joining Jaedyn Shaw and Alyssa Thompson.

“It’s really important that we create a pathway for them to integrate into the environment and learn from it, so that they can take advantage of their time when they’re in the environment but also when they’re in their home markets,” interim head coach Twila Kilgore said of the USWNT’s youth movement.

The road to the USWNT has been a long one for Moultrie despite her youth. In 2021, she became the youngest player to take the field in the NWSL at 15 years old. While that record has since been usurped amid a wave of youth talent, Moultrie blazed the trail by fighting the league’s age requirement.

Since then, Moultrie has come into her own as a member of the Portland Thorns. She came up big at several points this season, recording two goals and three assists. Her five points rank fifth on a stacked Thorns team that includes Sophia Smith, Crystal Dunn and Morgan Weaver.

“If you look at the impact (Olivia) has had the last two games, it’s impressive by any standard,” Thorns head coach Mike Norris said of Moultrie in May. “As a younger player, she’s pushing and challenging for a start. … Given the impact that she’s had the last two games, I couldn’t really ask any more of any player coming off the bench.”

Moultrie started in 11 of 21 games this season for Portland, which is indicative of the success she has found. And receiving your first USWNT call-up one month after your 18th birthday is a great way to celebrate.