Axel Kei, a just 14-year-old American striker born in Ivory Coast, has become the youngest sportsman to sign a contract with a professional club in the United States, by committing to Real Salt Lake, announced Friday. the franchise playing in MLS.
Kei, trained at the Real Salt Lake academy, signed a two-year contract, a fortnight after celebrating his 14th birthday. The previous record was held by Freddy Adu, the Ghanaian-born striker who was 153 days older when he joined another MLS club, DC United, in 2004.
« Over the past year, Axel has proven himself to be one of the best prospects in the country, » Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall said. « His predisposition to excel in front of goal doesn’t take years’ worth and, with his elite-ready athleticism, he will quickly become a big attraction for our league in the years to come. »
Kei was raised in Brazil, where his father was a soccer player, and moved with his family to San Diego aged nine in 2017.
He started last October with the Real Monarchs, the development team of Real Salt Lake (in the second division), at the age of 13, already becoming the youngest player in the history of an American professional club. , all sports combined.
Real Salt Lake qualified for the MLS Western Conference Finals in the last play-offs. He will open his 2022 season in Houston on February 27.