On Sunday, at the age of 13 years, seven months and 13 days, Sacramento forward Da’vian Kimbrough became the youngest North American soccer player to make their professional debut. The teenager came off the bench in his team’s 2-0 win against the Las Vegas Lights in the USL Championship.
In August, Kimbrough became the youngest American to sign a professional first-team contract, and has been named to the team’s game-day squad once previously.
A 5ft 11in forward from California, Kimbrough has dual nationality. He is eligible to play for Mexico and the United States and recently took part in a Mexico under-16s training camp. “If he’s good enough, he’s old enough,” Todd Dunivant, Sacramento’s president, told The Athletic in August.
Kimbrough joined Sacramento’s academy in 2021 at the age of 11. Despite playing with older children in the under-13 team, he scored 27 goals in 31 games.
Alex Kei was the previous youngest player to appear in the USL Championship, at 13 years, nine months and nine days, playing for Real Salt Lake’s second team the Real Monarchs. The USL Championship is one tier below the MLS. Freddy Adu, perhaps US soccer’s most famous prodigy, made his professional debut for DC United at the age of 14 years, 10 months and one day in 2004.
Sacramento are first in the USL Western Conference standings, three points ahead of San Antonio FC.