Real Salt Lake signed Axel Kei from the RSL Academy on a two-year deal. He is only 14 years and 15 days old. Kei is the youngest player to ever sign with a team in MLS history, surpassing Freddy Adu’s 18-year record. Adu was 153 days older than Kei when he became a pro.

Alex Kei
14-year-old Axel Kei is now the youngest player to ever sign a pro contract in the MLS. (Image:

“Over the last year, Axel has proven to be one of the top attacking prospects in the country,” Real Salt Lake General Manager Elliot Fall explained. “His propensity in front of goal is well beyond his years, and coupled with his elite athleticism, he projects to become a goal-scoring force in our league in the years to come,” the official added.

In October 2021, Kei came on from the bench during a Real Monarchs seniors’ match, making history as the youngest pro athlete in American team sports history to feature at a competitive level. He was 13 years, 8 months, and 9 days old. That was his only appearance at the USL level for the Monarchs.

Kei is the 32nd homegrown player in RSL history. Even though he isn’t expected to play too much in the MLS next season, Kei is surely a player to keep an eye on.

The forward wasn’t even born in 2004, when Freddy Adu signed with DC United. He hopes to have a different trajectory from that of Adu, who has never reached the level he was expected to. Now 32, Adu hasn’t played at the pro-level since 2020, when he left Swedish amateur league side Osterlen FF.

Real Salt Lake at +5000 to win the MLS Cup

Despite their unexpected playoff run last season, the bookies don’t rate Salt Lake among the favorites to triumph in the MLS Cup this year. They are at +5000 to lift the trophy, and are currently 18th on the favorites list. In 2021, Salt Lake played the Western Conference final, which they lost to Portland.

LAFC, New England, and Seattle are all at +700, while defending champions NYCFC sit at +1000.

Real Salt Lake is the 2009 MLS Cup winner and the 2013 runners-up.