Axel Kei is the youngest player to sign in MLS


Axel Kai becomes the youngest player to sign with the MLS team. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Freddy Adu is officially ancient history. Axel Kei, 14, signed for 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.

Adu signed with DC United in 2004. He was 14. Adu set some age-related records with the team. He became the youngest player to appear in an MLS game and the youngest player to score during an MLS game. Adu set both records at the age of 14.

Real Salt Lake expects great things from Axel Kai

Kei, a 6-4 forward, will be looking to break both records with Real Salt Lake. The club have high expectations of Kei. Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall said he believes with time Kei will be one of the top scorers in the league.

“Axel has proven to be one of the top attackers in the country over the last year. His propensity in front of goal transcends his age and coupled with his elite athleticism, he plans to become a scoring force in our league for years to come.”

Born in Ivory Coast and raised in Brazil, Kei knows Real Salt Lake. He appeared in the team’s Academy U15 roster. Kei helped guide that team to their first-ever MLS Next Cup championship last July.

Kei is already used to setting age-related records. In October, Kei appeared as a substitute with the Real Monarchs. In doing so, he became “the youngest professional athlete in the history of American team sports” Real Salt Lake. Kei was 13 years old at the time of this appearance.

Oh, and in case you’re not feeling old, Adu, now 32, signed with DC United three years before Kei was born.

Real Salt Lake will open their season against Houston on February 27th.

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