Freddy Adu is officially ancient history. Axel Kei, 14, signed with Real Salt Lake on Friday, becoming the youngest player to sign with an MLS team.
Kei, who turned 14 in December, broke Adu’s record by 153 days.
Real Salt Lake announces signing of forward Axel Kei, who, at 14 years and 15 days, is youngest to sign in MLS, surpassing 18-year record held by @FreddyAdu by 153 days.
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) January 14, 2022
Adu signed with D.C. United in 2004. He was 14. Adu set a few age-related records with the team. He became the youngest player to appear in an MLS game and the younger player to score a goal during an MLS game. Adu set both records as a 14-year-old.
Real Salt Lake expects big things from Axel Kai
Kei, a 6-4 forward, will look to break both records with Real Salt Lake. The club has high expectations for Kei, with Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall saying he believes Kei will be one of the league’s top scorers in time.
“Over the last year Axel has proven to be one of the top attacking prospects in the country. 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.”
Kei, who was born in the Ivory Coast and raised in Brazil, is familiar with Real Salt Lake. He appeared on the team’s Academy U15 squad. Kei helped lead that team to its first-ever MLS Next Cup Championship last July.
Kei is already used to setting age-related records. In October, Kei appaered as a substitute with the Real Monarchs. In doing so, he became “the youngest professional athlete in American team sports history.” per Real Salt Lake. Kei was 13 at the time of that appearance.
Oh, and in case you don’t feel old yet, Adu, now 32, signed his contract with D.C. United three years before Kei was born.
Real Salt Lake will open its season against Houston on Feb. 27.