History was made late in Sacramento Republic FC’s 2-0 win over the Las Vegas Lights in USL action. But the history in question had little to do with the scoreline. When Da’vian Kimbrough was subbed into the game in the 87th minute, it set a record for US professional soccer. Kimbrough became the youngest professional American soccer player ever to play in a competitive match in the United States.

The Sacramento area native and recent Mexico U-16 call-up, at the age of 13 years, 7 months, and 13 days, became the youngest professional athlete in American team sports history when he signed his contract back in August. Previously, Máximo Carizzo of NYCFC2 in MLS NEXT Pro held the record, when he debuted in 2022.

Da’vian Kimbrough, 13, youngest professional American soccer player ever

Kimbrough is the latest in a line of teenage professionals to hit the pitch in a US league. Just this season, Melanie Barcenas (15) and Chloe Ricketts (16) signed in the NWSL. They each became the youngest ever in the women’s league, surpassing Olivia Moultrie who in 2021 set the previous mark. Like Kimbrough, Moultrie turned pro at age 13. However, NWSL rules prevented her from signing a contract or playing in any official matches until age 18. After an antitrust lawsuit was filed, the NWSL amended its policy, allowing her (and the teenagers who followed) to play.

And of course, many will remember Freddy Adu, who signed with D.C. United in 2004 at age 14. Unfortunately the hype and excitement around “the next Pelé” never panned out.

Kimbrough will surely be hoping to make his mark with Sacramento and beyond. The forward was a standout at the Republic’s academy, scoring 27 goals in 81 appearances over two seasons.

Sacramento is currently sitting pretty in first place in the USL Championship’s Western Conference with just two regular season matches to go. If they can finish out strong, it will be the club’s second time atop the conference table to end a season (2016). The Republic were league champions in their first year in 2014, and of course, in 2022 had a Cinderella run to the U.S. Open Cup Final.

Photo: Sacramento Republic FC