Spirit makes 15-year-old Chloe Ricketts youngest signing in NWSL history


The Washington Spirit announced the signing of 15-year-old midfielder Chloe Ricketts on Friday, making the Michigan native the youngest contracted player in National Women’s Soccer League history.

A high school sophomore, Ricketts signed a three-year contract with an option for 2026 after training with the Spirit in preseason. She is three days younger than Olivia Moultrie was when the midfielder signed with the Portland Thorns in June 2021.

Ricketts joined the NWSL through the league’s under-18 entry mechanism, which was introduced this offseason after Moultrie filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NWSL in 2021. Per the mechanism’s guidelines, Ricketts cannot be waived or traded without her and her guardian’s consent until she turns 18. She also must live with a guardian until she is 18, and she cannot be selected in the expansion draft.

USWNT, looking the part of World Cup favorite, wins SheBelieves Cup

“This season, we remain very focused on building a roster that can help us succeed now while also investing in the future,” Spirit Coach Mark Parsons said in a statement. “Chloe has shown great quality with and without the ball and has an incredible intensity in everything she does. The vision and infrastructure of our club make this signing possible, and we are look forward to Chloe developing and becoming an important player and teammate for our team.”

Ricketts joined the Spirit for preseason camp in January, traveling to Florida and also training with the team at its facility in Leesburg. Washington similarly invited Jaedyn Shaw, then 17, to train with the team last preseason but was not allowed to sign the forward because the under-18 entry mechanism was not yet in place. Shaw eventually got an exemption to join the league before turning 18 but signed with the San Diego Wave through a discovery process that involved all 12 teams.

Ricketts last year became the youngest player, at 14, to sign with the developmental club AFC Ann Arbor, where her coach was former D.C. United forward Thabiso Khumalo. In 2021, she played with a boys’ team in Ann Arbor that won the Michigan State Cup.

“The opportunity to join the Washington Spirit on a professional contract is a dream come true,” said Ricketts, who plans to continue her education virtually. “I’m looking forward to continuing my development as a player and individual with the great resources here in the District.”

After finishing 11th in the NWSL with a 3-9-10 record last season, the Spirit brought back Parsons — the club’s coach from 2013 to 2015 — for a second stint. Washington also added Canadian defender Gabrielle Carle and French midfielder Inès Jaurena during the offseason but parted ways with U.S. national team defenders Emily Sonnett and Kelley O’Hara.

The Spirit opens the season against Seattle-based OL Reign on March 26 at Audi Field.

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *