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Melanie Barcenas youngest player ever to sign with NWSL team

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Posted at 10:40 AM, Mar 21, 2023

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Wave have signed 15-year-old Melanie Barcenas, the youngest player ever to reach a deal with a National Women's Soccer League team.

The San Diego native is the first local youth player to sign with the league and the first signed by the Wave through the NWSL's under-18 entry rules.

At 15 years and 138 days, Barcenas is younger than Chloe Ricketts, who was 15 years and 283 days old when she signed with the Washington Spirit earlier this month. Olivia Moultrie was 15 years and 286 days when she signed with the Portland Thorns in June 2021.

Barcenas played for the San Diego Surf youth club and was also called up by the U.S. national under-17 team for a pair of exhibition matches against England in February.

“It’s been a dream of mine to not just play in the NWSL but to have the opportunity to represent this city since the announcement of the Wave last year," Barcenas said in a statement. "I know I am young, but the team and coaching staff have been amazing, and I look forward to learning from them every day as I continue to develop.”