Real Salt Lake’s Axel Kei, 14, tops Freddy Adu mark as youngest MLS signing

Real Salt Lake has signed 14-year-old Axel Kei to a homegrown contract, making him the youngest player in Major League Soccer history.

At 14 years 15 days, Kei is 153 days younger than Freddy Adu when he signed with DC United after being selected for the MLS SuperDraft in 2004. The contract is for two years.

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“Over the past year, Axel has proven to be one of the best offensive prospects in the country,” Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall said in a statement.

“His aptitude for the goal extends well beyond his years, and combined with his elite athleticism, he expects to become a goalscorer in our league in the coming years.”

Kei was born in Ivory Coast before moving to Brazil, where his father played football professionally. The family moved to San Diego in 2017, where Kei played for a youth club affiliated with LA Galaxy.

In October, Kei came off the bench for Real Monarchs in a USL Championship game, becoming the youngest athlete to ever appear in the history of American team sports.

It is unclear how soon Kei will take into account the plans of the first team. Kei is the fifth RSL Academy product to sign with the club this week.


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