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Olivia Moultrie wins preliminary injunction in NWSL lawsuit

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Olivia Moultrie continues to win in the courtroom.

A judge granted the 15-year-old a preliminary injunction Thursday in her lawsuit against the NWSL’s age rule, which requires players to be 18 years of age to play.

The ruling prohibits the NWSL from enforcing its age rule in preventing Moultrie from signing a contract. It’s expected that Moultrie will sign a contract with the Portland Thorns soon and be eligible to play immediately. 

Judge Karin J. Immergut ruled against the NWSL’s single entity argument in regards to antitrust. According to the ruling, under the league’s operating agreement, teams function as their own entities, making it a single LLC. 

Additionally, the NWSL’s argument that no teams took action on the age rule was struck down. Judge Immergut pointed out that after the initial TRO ruling, five teams put in discovery claims on Moultrie, effectively proving that prior to the ruling, teams were enforcing the league’s restriction. 

She also ruled that the argument that Moultrie is not harmed by the barrier because those before her were also subject to the rule is “nonsensical.”

“The public interest strongly favor affording girls in the United States the same opportunities as boys,” she wrote.

The league does have the ability to appeal the decision and ask for a stay on the injunction.