Melanie Barcenas officially became the youngest player in National Women’s Soccer League history when she signed with the San Diego Wave on a three-year deal on Tuesday.
Barcenas is 15 years and 138 days old, making her 100 days younger than Chloe Ricketts, who was the youngest player in NWSL history when she signed with the Washington Spirit a few weeks ago. This means there are now two 15-year-old players in the league.
The midfielder is a San Diego native and grew up playing in the women’s national team structure, most recently playing for the United States under-17 team.
“I’m very excited to sign my first professional contract with my hometown team, San Diego Wave,” Barcenas said, via CBS Sports. “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. 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.”
The 15-year-old was able to sign with the Wave due to an NWSL rule passed in November that allows each team to have two under-18 players as long as their parent or guardian approves the signing, along with various other rules outlined by the league here.
The Wave begin their 2023 season on Saturday, March 25 against the Chicago Red Stars. This will be the team’s second season in the league.