Thirteen-year-old Axel Kei makes history in US as he becomes youngest ever professional player

Axel Kei RSL AcademyMLS

Thirteen-year-old Axel Kei became the youngest player to feature for a professional sports team in the United States as he made his debut for Real Monarchs at the age of just 13.

The forward, who has been starring at youth level in the US, was introduced as a second-half substitute in a USL Championship fixture against Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Kei has been playing for the Real Salt Lake academy although was called up to the Monarchs squad for the fixture on October 8, with assistant head coach Cody Warden handing him a historic first professional appearance.

Who is Axel Kei?

Axel Kei is a member of the RSL academy in the United States and made history on October 8 as, at just 13 years old, he became the youngest player to feature for an American professional sports team.

Real Monarchs, who are MLS side Real Salt Lake's reserve team and play in the second division of American soccer, decided to call up Kei for the league meeting with Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

And after 61 minutes of the 0-0 draw at the Zions Bank Stadium, Cody Warden, who was stepping in to take charge of the team due to head coach Jamison Olave's absence, decided to bring on Kei for his debut in front of a crowd of 1497.

The forward was unable to get on the scoresheet, although his record at youth level in the US suggests there could be big things to follow in the future.

Indeed, Kei won the Golden Boot award at the MLS Next Cup back in July 2021, with his five goals helping RSL academy win the tournament at U-15 level for the first time in their history.

Who is the youngest MLS player?

The youngest player to play in MLS is former Benfica forward Freddy Adu.

Now 32, Adu made history when he appeared for D.C. United against San Jose Earthquakes back in 2004 at the age of just 14.

And a mere two weeks later he became the youngest scorer in America's top-flight league too, as he found the net against MetroStars in a game that D.C. would lose 3-2.

Who are the youngest players to play in Europe?

As for the youngest debutants in Europe's 'big-five' leagues, in the Premier League Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliott featured for Fulham against Wolves back in May 2019 at the age of 16 years and 30 days to break the record.

Bologna youngster Wisdom Amey made history in Serie A last season as he became the Italian top-flight's youngest debutant at 15 years and 274 days, while Kalman Gerencseri is Ligue 1's youngest ever player - a record that has been in place since 1960.

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The youngest player in La Liga history, meanwhile, is Argentine attacking midfielder Luka Romero, who appeared for Mallorca against Real Madrid back in June 2020 at 15 years and 219 days.

Youssoufa Moukoko is the record holder in Bundesliga, with the Dortmund forward replacing Erling Haaland in the second half of an away clash at Hertha Berlin in 2020, aged 16 years and one day.

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