Things to know about the Real Salt Lake record breaker


Real Salt Lakes academy forward Axel Kei recently made history as the youngest player ever to make a professional appearance for an American sports team.

Only 13 years, nine months and nine days old, Kei entered the field in the 61st minute by Real Monarchs (RSL’s USL affiliate) 0-0 draw against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, replacing US international striker Bobby Wood . A crowd of just over 1,500 was present at this historic moment.

“My dream was to play professionally as soon as possible, and now that I’ve done that, my goal is to prove myself at the highest level, stay there and then take me into the starting eleven,” Kei said of his debut.

Unbelievably, Kei has since broken another record. In January, 14 years and 15 days old, he received his first home-grown contract from Real Salt Lake, making him the youngest player in MLS history – a record previously held by Freddy Adu (14 years, 168 days).

So here are five things you should know about Kei before what could be a rapid rise in the game.

Presents the youngest Homegrown ever.

– Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) January 14, 2022

Kei was born in Côte d’Ivoire on December 30, 2007. Kei grew up in Brazil before finally arriving in the United States four years ago and moving to San Diego. Kei joined RSL as part of their 2020 residency academy.

Kei is the eldest of three siblings, with his sister 10 years old, while he also has a three-year-old brother. Kei is already on a massive 6’1, while his sister is 5’10.

Real Salt Lake described Kei’s entire family for 90 minutes as “super long”.

Little is generally known about Kei’s family where the young person keeps his private life private.

But RSL confirmed for 90 minutes that his father played football professionally in Brazil, so it’s easy to see where he gets his talent from.

On the pitch, Kei is best described as strong, frighteningly fast and extremely skilled. It therefore comes as no surprise that he names Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku and PSG star Kylian Mbappe as his favorite players.

Kei is seen as a mixture of the two playing styles and the inspiration he has taken from both is clear to see.

We told you to pay attention to Axel Kei?

This goal was the second of his hat trick for @RSLAcademy today

– MLS NEXT (@MLSNEXT) June 27, 2021

Kei quickly hit the ground after joining RSL and soon found himself playing among their U-17 and U-19 teams. But during the MLS NEXT Cup, he rejoined the U-15 and made a truly dominant performance, scoring five goals to win the Golden Boot when RSL emerged victorious in that age group.

Since then, Kei has been back with the U-17 where he has scored six goals in six games at the MLS NEXT level.

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