Major League Soccer

Axel Kei breaks record for youngest MLS player 2021

Kei, who recently joined the RSL, broke the previous record held by Freddy Adu at 14 years and 360 days.

Kei, who recently joined the RSL, broke the previous record held by Freddy Adu at 14 years and 360 days.

Real Salt Lake has just signed Alex Kei, who broke the record for the youngest player in MLS 2021, a mark previously held by Freddy Adu at 14 years and 360 days. 

The Ivory Coast-born striker was formed precisely in the Real Salt Lake Academy, although he previously had a stint with LA Galaxy with San Diego Youth Soccer Club.

It was at the RSL Academy that Axel Kei became a key player for the U-15 team, which won its first MLS Next Cup

Not only that, Kei won the Golden Boot for being the tournament's top scorer, which convinced Major League Soccer announced Friday that it had signed Kei to a two-year contract.

After winning the MLS NEXT Cup, the player remained at the Real Salt Lake Academy competing with his U-17 national team, where he has scored six goals in six games

How old is Alex Kei, the youngest player in MLS?

The player signed with Real Salt Lake with an age of only 14 years and 15 days, ending the previous record held by Freddy Adu

And his signing sparked reactions from all sides, especially from Real Salt Lake General Manager Elliot Fall, who said of the player:

"Over the past year, Axel has proven to be one of the best-attacking prospects in the country. His propensity for goaltending is well beyond his age, and coupled with his elite athleticism, he projects to become a scoring force in our league for years to come," Fall said. 

Axel Kei, a player accustomed to making history

This is not the first time that the player has had the spotlight on him, as he has a record behind him that would be the envy of many professional players older than him. 

Kei was the driving force behind the Real Salt Lake Academy U15 team that propelled them to win their first MLS NEXT Cup, scoring five goals in five games, including a hat trick against Total Futbol Academy of Southern California.

Not only that, but the player also earned the Golden Boot for the most goals scored in the tournament.

Another great moment in his young life in which he made history was when on October 8, 2021, the player came on as a substitute during a Real Monarchs game.

At just 13 years, 8 months, and 9 days at the time of the game, he is the youngest professional athlete in U.S. team sports history.

So this making history is something the young player from the Ivory Coast is already used to. 

Real Salt Lake Academy, a hotbed of athletes

The RSL Academy has been slowly emerging as a hotbed of young talent that could eventually establish itself in Major League Soccer.

Kei is the fifth Homegrown Player to sign with Real Salt Lake this week. He joins a group of 13 other young talents coming out of the school.

The other players from this academy are Julio Benitez, Gavin Beavers, Andrew Brody, Bode Davis, Jeff Dewsnup, Zackery Farnsworth, Justen Glad, Chris Garcia, Aaron Herrera, Erik Holt, David Ochoa, Jaziel Orozco, and Jude Wellings.

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