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Young Phenom Ignites Sacramento's Soccer Scene

Sacramento Republic, a team in the USL Championship, achieved a significant feat by signing 13-year-old talent, Da'vian Kimbrough, on Tuesday. This move not only marks a milestone in U.S. soccer history but also stands out as a remarkable achievement in the broader landscape of professional team sports in North America.

Kimbrough, at the tender age of 13 years, 5 months, and 13 days, now holds the distinction of being the youngest individual to enter the ranks of soccer professionals in the United States. Furthermore, he is believed to be the youngest professional athlete in major North American leagues, encompassing esteemed domains like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and WNBA.

The previous record was held by Maximo Carrizo, who inked a deal with New York City FC's senior team on his 14th birthday in February 2022. Da'vian Kimbrough, positioned as a forward, entered Sacramento's youth academy in 2021. His prominence surged in June when he participated in the Bassevelde U13 Cup, a tournament encompassing youth teams from Europe's elite clubs. He remarkably contributed as a guest player for the New York Red Bulls, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team.

Notably, his involvement played a crucial role in propelling the Red Bulls to secure victory in the tournament, an accomplishment that marked the first time an MLS team claimed this honor. His exceptional performance didn't go unnoticed; he was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) title for his outstanding contributions.

The Perception In Sacramento

"Dreams begin with Da'vian at Republic FC," remarked Sacramento's President and General Manager, Todd Dunivant. "His exceptional talent is just starting to unfold, as he fearlessly pursues his aspiration to ascend as an elite player. From engaging with older peers on the field and excelling in high-profile competitions, to stepping onto the first team's training grounds, Da'vian exhibits remarkable dedication."

"We are immensely honored by the decision of the Kimbrough family and Da'vian to entrust Republic FC with his journey towards a professional career. We eagerly anticipate progressing together," Dunivant added.

As part of his training regime, the Republic disclosed that Kimbrough will adhere to a "customized" schedule under the close supervision of the sports medicine team.

Simultaneously, Kimbrough will continue his education by enrolling at Elk Grove Charter School in Sacramento County.

Hailing from Woodland, California, the 5-foot-11 forward possesses dual nationality and maintains connections with Mexico. Pending clearance from the federation and league, Kimbrough could potentially mark his debut on Saturday, facing off against Birmingham Legion FC at 7:30 p.m. ET, with live streaming available on ESPN+.

As of now, Sacramento leads the Western Conference standings of the USL Championship, boasting a solid record of 12 wins, eight draws, and three losses.


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