Chloe Ricketts is only 15 years old, but she’s already signed a professional contract with the Washington Spirit soccer (football) team. That makes her the youngest player ever to sign with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
The NWSL is the top women’s professional soccer league in the United States. The league was started about 10 years ago and now has 12 teams.
Last Friday, the Washington Spirit team, which plays in Washington, DC, announced that it had signed Chloe Ricketts to a 3-year contract. At the time, Chloe was just 15 years, 283 days old, making her the youngest person to ever sign a contract with the NWSL.
Mark Parsons, who coaches Spirit, said, “Chloe has shown great quality with and without the ball and has an incredible intensity in everything she does.”
Chloe began working out with the Washington Spirit team in January. She trained with the team in Florida and Virginia. During training, Chloe impressed the team’s managers with her ability to compete with the other pro players. That led the team to offer her the contract.
For her part, Chloe says the chance to play for the Washington Spirit is “a dream come true”.
Chloe is from Dexter, Michigan. She started playing soccer when she was seven. She claims that at the time, she was the “worst on the team”. She says she improved through hard work, extra training, and staying late after practice.
It didn’t take her long to begin moving up in the soccer world.
In 2021, she played on a girls team, which went to the national finals of the Elite Clubs National League. She also played on a boys team, the 2007 Boys Ann Arbor Tigers, which won the Michigan State Cup that year.
In January of 2022, Chloe signed with AFC Ann Arbor – a team that’s part of USL League Two. USL League Two helps develop players for the NWSL. When she joined AFC Ann Arbor, Chloe was just 14 – the youngest player ever to join the club.
Now, as she joins Washington Spirit, Chloe is in the 10th grade. While she is playing with the team, Chloe will continue to go to school online.
But Chloe isn’t the first 15-year-old to play for the NWSL. The NWSL used to have a rule saying that no one under the age of 18 could join its teams. But in 2021, another 15-year-old, Olivia Moultrie, took the league to court.
Olivia won her case, and the NWSL made special rules that allowed players younger than 18 to join. The new rules are mainly designed to protect young players, and require that the players live with a parent. They also protect young players from being traded to another team unless both the player and the parents agree.
Olivia Moultrie now plays with the Portland Thorns. At the time, she was the youngest player to join the NWSL, at age 15 years, 286 days. When Chloe signed up with the Washington Spirit, she was 15 years, 283 days old, beating Olivia’s record by three days.
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