Chloe Ricketts became the youngest signing in National Women’s Soccer League history on Friday, joining the Washington Spirit as a 15-year-old. Ricketts is a high school sophomore who trialed with the Spirit during preseason before signing a three-year deal with an option via the NWSL’s new under-18 entry mechanism.
Ricketts, a midfielder, signed with the team at 15 years, 283 days old — three days younger than Olivia Moultrie when she signed with the Portland Thorns in 2021. Moultrie’s signing was held up by a legal battle with the league. Ultimately, the settlement that allowed Moultrie to enter the NWSL opened the door for future teenagers to join the league.
The NWSL introduced new rules this offseason that allow teams to bring in two trialists under the age of 18, with the ability to sign them outside of the traditional draft method that was once required by the league. Washington and Angel City FC are among the teams the each added the maximum of two, under-18 trialists.
A common denominator between Moultrie joining the Thorns organization (originally as a 13-year-old training/youth player) and Ricketts in Washington, D.C.: Mark Parsons, who coached the Thorns then and is the new coach of the Spirit.
“This season, we remain very focused on building a roster that can help us succeed now while also investing in the future,” Parsons said. “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 is a Michigan native and will finish her education virtually, the team said. She will reside with a parent or legal guardian until she turns 18. She cannot be traded or waived without the consent of her parent or legal guardian, and she cannot be selected in expansion drafts.
“The opportunity to join the Washington Spirit on a professional contract is a dream come true,” Ricketts said in a statement while namechecking Parsons and new club head of performance Dawn Scott. “I’m looking forward to continuing my development as a player and individual with the great resources here in the District.”