Real Salt Lake teenager makes MLS history with debut

Young players keep raising the bar in Major League Soccer and Real Salt Lake’s Axel Kei continued that trend against LA Galaxy.

The young forward came off the bench at Dignity Health Sports Park for a 10-minute spell and became the fourth-youngest player in league history at 15 years and 289 days old.

This isn’t the first time Kei has set a record in this category. Back in January 2022, the teenager became the youngest-ever player to sign a professional contract in MLS history at 14 years and 15 days.

However, New York City FC’s Maximo Carrizo later broke that record in February as he inked his first professional contract on his birthday at 14 years old. Both players were hailed as standout talents from their respective academies before signing for their first teams.

This record for Kei comes after Julian Hall became the second-youngest player in MLS history when he came off the bench in New York Red Bulls’ 1-0 loss to Chicago Fire at 15 years and 190 days just a couple weeks ago.

Freddy Adu, Hall and the electric Alphonso Davies are the top three youngest players in league history, while Matai Akinmboni rounds out the top five after Kei.

Real Salt Lake have high hopes for Kei after his solid campaigns with MLS NEXT Pro side Real Monarchs, where he’s notched four goals and dished out four assists in 19 appearances over the 2022 and 2023 campaigns.

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