(CNN) — Soccer team Sacramento Republic announced on Wednesday that it had signed 13-year-old Da’vian Kimbrough to a professional contract, making him the youngest professional athlete in US team sports history.
Kimbrough signed the contract with the team in the USL Championship – the second-tier of US soccer – aged 13 years, five months and 13 days.
“Da’vian’s journey with Republic FC is just beginning. He is a remarkable talent who has committed to his dream of becoming an elite player, from competing with players in older age groups, thriving at top competitions, to stepping on to the first team training grounds,” Sacramento Republic’s president and general manager Todd Dunivant said in a press release.
“We are honored that the Kimbrough family and Da’vian have chosen Republic FC to support his professional pathway, and we look forward to taking the next steps together.”
Kimbrough joined the team’s academy set-up in 2021 aged 11, scoring 27 goals in 31 matches as he spearheaded a team constructed of players a year older than himself.
In his debut season in the team’s youth academy, he played a key role in the Republic’s under-13 team, earning a countrywide-best record of 30 wins and one loss, including 27 straight wins to begin the season.
With the under-14 team the following year, Kimbrough helped the squad to finish first in its MLS Next division – Major League Soccer’s youth league – as the Republic outscored opponents 148-22. He finished with 61 goals in 81 appearances in two seasons of MLS Next action.
“A young player’s path is never the same as the person seated next to them. Da’vian has shown tremendous focus, commitment and dedication, as well as a willingness to embrace the challenging road ahead of him,” Republic head coach Mark Briggs said.
“Over the last two years, he has demonstrated his tremendous potential, and our goal is to continue to support and help him grow as a player and person.”
The team announced that Kimbrough will be added to the first team squad and will be eligible for Sacramento team games in the USL Championship immediately, while also continuing “his development as one of the team’s high potential players in the academy.”
This means that Kimbrough could make his debut on Saturday against the Birmingham Legion.
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