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A Pro at 15

Chloe Ricketts is the youngest person ever to sign with the National Women’s Soccer League.

Chloe Ricketts kicking a ball on a soccer field in a match with other teens

US Youth Soccer National League

Chloe Ricketts (center) will play for the Washington Spirit.

Chloe Ricketts just became a professional soccer player…and she’s only 15. On March 3, Ricketts became the youngest person ever to sign a contract with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the United States. 

Ricketts signed a three-year deal with the Washington Spirit, after participating in the Spirit’s winter training program at the team’s invitation. Spirit leaders were impressed with Rickett’s ability to keep up with veteran players on a team that won the NWSL Championship in 2021.

“The opportunity to join the Washington Spirit on a professional contract is a dream come true,” Ricketts said in a statement on the Spirit’s website. “Now, let’s go win another championship!”

Because of her age, Ricketts will attend school virtually as part of her contract. She follows in the footsteps of Olivia Moultrie, who was three days older than Ricketts when she signed with the Portland Thorns in Portland, Oregon, in 2021. 

Ricketts had big goals at an early age. In 2022, she was the youngest person ever to sign with AFC Ann Arbor, which is part of a semi-professional league called USL League Two. At the time, she said she wanted to play for the U.S. women’s national soccer team, which plays national teams worldwide and is currently the best women’s soccer team in the world.  

“It’s a really high [aspiration], but I would like to be the best [player] in the world someday,” Ricketts told MLive in 2022. “Play on the national team, go overseas and play someday.”

At 15, she has plenty of time to make that happen.

Fun Fact

Sphere with one half a soccer ball and the other half a globe

© Ronniechua/, © michal-rojek—iStock/Getty Images; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Soccer (or association football) is the most popular sport in the world. It’s played in almost every country. In the year 2000, there were an estimated 1.3 billion soccer fans!

Wide Words of Sports

What do sports give us? Exercise and entertainment, for sure. But have you ever thought about all the expressions that come from the world of sports? See if you recognize these sports idioms.


Get your head in the game

What it means:

concentrate; pay attention


Play to win

What it means:

be serious about winning


Keep your eye on the ball

What it means:

remember your goal


That’s par for the course

What it means:

that’s normal


A level playing field

What it means:

fair or even


The ball is in your court

What it means:

it’s your turn to act or make a move

The Goal-Getter

© Jerry Coli/

Mia Hamm was only 15 years old when she signed with the U.S. women’s national soccer team. Hamm’s record-smashing ability to score goals helped the team earn World Cup victories in 1991 and 1999 and Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004.

You can read more about Mia Hamm at Britannica School!






(always used before a noun)

: having the greatest number of wins : most successful

Definitions provided by
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Word Search

See if you can find all the spring sports.


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