Axel Kei, 14, breaks Freddy Adu’s record as the youngest ever MLS signee.


Axel Kei, 14, breaks the record set by former prospect Freddy Adu by becoming the youngest ever MLS signee.

AXEL KEI, FOURTEEN YEARS OLD, has broken Freddy Adu’s record as the youngest player ever to sign with Major League Soccer.

At the age of 14 years and 15 days, the teen striker signed a two-year deal with Real Salt Lake.

By 153 days, he had surpassed former prodigy Adu as the league’s youngest player to sign a contract.

When Adu debuted in 2004, at the age of 18, he was tipped for greatness.

However, Real Salt Lake believe Kei is destined for greatness after the ‘next Pele’ Adu’s career fizzled out, with the ‘next Pele’ Adu last appearing for the Las Vegas Lights in 2018 and then signing with Swedish minnows Osterlen.

“Over the last year, Axel has proven to be one of the top attacking prospects in the country,” said general manager Elliot Fall.

“His proclivity for scoring in front of goal is far beyond his years.

“With his elite athleticism, he has the potential to become a goal-scoring force in our league in the coming years.”


In December 2007, Kei was born in the Ivory Coast and later moved to Brazil, where his father played football.

In 2017, the family relocated to San Diego, and the clinical forward joined a youth team affiliated with the Los Angeles Galaxy, before switching to Real Salt Lake in 2020.

The kid, who was still only 13 years and eight months old at the time, came on as a substitute for Real Monarchs, Real Salt Lake’s reserve team, in a USL Championship match last October.

As a result, he is the youngest athlete in the history of American team sports.

This week, four more Real Salt Lake academy players signed professional contracts with the club.

However, it is unclear whether Kei and the other players will be part of Pablo Mastroeni’s MLS plans in 2022.

For the latest rumours, gossip, and completed deals, visit our Transfer News Live blog.

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