Axel Key made history Friday night at the USL Championship, United States Second Division. The thirteen-year-old (!) striker made his debut as a substitute for the Real Monarchs of Utah in the game against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. He became the youngest ever professional athlete in an American sport.
Key came in an hour later to replace US international Bobby Wood, who is more than twice his age. The young substitute player, aged exactly 13 years, 9 months and 9 days old, at the time of his debut, had the opportunity to score the only goal of the match five minutes before the end of the match. However, the Colorado Springs defender stopped it, leaving it 0-0 in Herriman, Utah.
Key was born in Ivory Coast, but his family moved to California when he was young and now plays in the youth ranks for the major league soccer team Real Salt Lake; Real Monarchs is the reserve team of this club. He was called up to a US youth training camp in February 2019. In the summer he helped his team as the top scorer in the MLS Next Cup for U-15 teams. Despite his age, Kei is already 1.85 meters tall.
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