Real Salt Lake signs 14-year-old to history-making MLS deal

The teenager signed a two-year deal with Real Salt Lake, and he’ll be with the club through the 2023 季节. Kei’s agreement makes him the youngest player to ever sign in MLS, breaking Freddy Adu’s mark.

Kei is 153 days younger than Adu was. Adu was 14 年和 168 days old when he joined MLS in 2004.

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Jerry Naylor of Salt Lake City sports a mask as he waves a flag in the stands before a game between Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium Sept. 2, 2020, in Sandy, 犹他州.

Jerry Naylor of Salt Lake City sports a mask as he waves a flag in the stands before a game between Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium Sept. 2, 2020, in Sandy, 犹他州. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Over the last year, Axel has proven to be one of the top attacking prospects in the country,” Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall said in a 声明. “His propensity in front of goal is well beyond his years, and coupled with his elite athleticism, he projects to become a goal-scoring force in our league in the years to come.

A flag flies during a game between Real Salt Lake and DC United Sept. 1, 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, 犹他州.

A flag flies during a game between Real Salt Lake and DC United Sept. 1, 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, 犹他州. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Kei had five goals in five games to help Real Salt Lake’s U-15 team win the MLS NEXT Pro Championship in 2021. He initially debuted with the Real Monarchs at 13 年份, 8 几个月和 9 天大, which made him the youngest pro athlete in American team sports history, according to MLS Soccer.

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Kei was born in the Ivory Coast and raised in Brazil, where his father was playing at the time. He moved to San Diego in 2017 and played for the LA Galaxy’s San Diego Youth Soccer Club before joining Real Salt Lake’s organization.

Real Salt Lake players celebrate after a win over Sporting Kansas City in the conference semifinals of the 2021 MLS playoffs at Children's Mercy Park in November 2021.

Real Salt Lake players celebrate after a win over Sporting Kansas City in the conference semifinals of the 2021 MLS playoffs at Children’s Mercy Park in November 2021. (Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)

Real Salt Lake finished seventh in the Western Conference last season with a 14-14-6 记录. The club lost to the Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup conference finals.

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