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Soccer player Da’vian Kimbrough makes historic debut at age 13

By Ben Morse, CNN

(CNN) — Soccer player Da’vian Kimbrough made his debut for the Sacramento Republic on Sunday at the age of 13, marking a historic moment for US sports.

Kimbrough was brought on as a substitute in the 87th minute of Sacramento’s 2-0 victory against Las Vegas Lights, making him the youngest professional athlete in American team sports. The match was played in front of a capacity crowd at Heart Health Park, according to the Sacramento Republic website.

Aged 13 years, seven months, and 13 days, Kimbrough also became the youngest professional soccer player to make their debut in a competitive match.

The previous record was held by Axel Kei who made his debut aged 13 years, nine months, and nine days on October 8, 2021 for the Real Monarchs against Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

The record for the youngest professional athlete in American team sports was previously held by New York City FC 2’s Maximo Carizzo, a landmark set in in 2022, said the Sacramento club.

Sacramento Republic plays in the USL Championship, the second-tier of US soccer.

With the victory, Sacramento remains in first place in the Western Conference.

Kimbrough signed with Sacramento in August, making him the youngest professional athlete in US team sports history.

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, which earned 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.

Sacramento has one more regular season game, before playing its Western Conference quarterfinal match on October 21. With results from the weekend, Sacramento will have home field advantage for that quarterfinal, according to the club’s website.

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