When Da’vian Kimbrough says he has soccer practice, know that the 13-year-old means with his team of pro athletes.
Kimbrough became the youngest pro player in U.S. soccer history on Tuesday (Aug. 8) when the Sacramento Republic Football Club signed him. The team’s website also states he’s the “youngest professional athlete in American team sports.” Da’vian plays forward.
Welcome to the first team, Da’vian 💪 pic.twitter.com/iAePxtpeSO
— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) August 8, 2023
Republic FC is part of the USL Championship– a division II league in the U.S. and second tier to the Major League Soccer (MLS). Kimbrough’s contract terms will remain under wraps, per their policy.
Da’vian Will Have A “Modified Training Schedule” And Continue His Educational Studies, Team Says
Before signing him, the Republic FC amplified the 13-year-old’s soccer-playing talents through their team academy. He joined in 2021 at age 11, playing in the 12-year-old division.
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During his first academy season, he scored 27 goals in 31 matches, per the Sacramento Republic. At age 12, he played with the best U13 team in the U.S. He had 61 goals by the end of his second season.
“A young player’s path is never the same as the person seated next to them. Da’vian has shown tremendous focus, commitment, and dedication, as well as a willingness to embrace the challenging road ahead of him,” Head Coach Mark Briggs said “Over the last two years, he has demonstrated his tremendous potential, and our goal is to continue to support and help him grow as a player and person.”
Republic FC plans to add Da’vian Kimbrough to their first-team roster after the USL and United States Soccer Federation.
Once added, the 5’11, 150 lbs. teen will be eligible to play in USL Championship matches. However, the team is considering his age with a modified training schedule and careful monitoring by the club’s sports medicine staff.
His training will be a mixed regimen combining his Academy teachings with what he needs to compete with professional players.
As for his schooling, Republic FC assured fans he will “continue his studies.” The team didn’t specify how but said he’ll be able to join Elk Grove Charter School “in the future.” The school serves as the team’s educational partner.
Da’vian Kimbrough Is The Academy’s Sixth Player To Sign With Republic FC
Academy Director Eder Quintanilla spoke about his skills and personal journey leading to this historic feat.
“With each player that comes through our academy, our approach is unique and tailored to help the individual find their best journey,” the academy director said. “Da’vian is a special player who has thrived in difficult and challenging environments. We’re excited to be a part of the next step in his development and to continue to support his professional dream.”
And Kimbrough isn’t the only alum that has professionally benefited from the academy’s approach. He’s the sixth player to be signed to the academy’s club team. As for overall pro athlete contracts, he’s the 25th from the academy.
The Woodland, California native previously played with the Woodland Soccer Club and North Bay Elite FC. His nationality is Mexican-American, per Republic FC’s website.
Kimbrough’s new title means a bittersweet end to Freddy Adu‘s 19-year run as the youngest pro athlete in U.S. soccer history. Fans of the sport might remember the talented teen earned the title after United D.C. signed him in 2004 at age 14.
Speaking on CBS Sports‘ “Morning Footy” show, Adu chronicled his “stints” with 15 different teams since his United D.C. signing. He admitted that bad habits as a younger athlete affected his athleticism over time. Adu reportedly suffered from back problems throughout his stints.
“Sometimes, you have all the talent in the world and it’s not enough. You’ve got to work your butt off to maximize that talent and guys who aren’t as talented as you, if they work their a**es off, they’re going to surpass you,” he said on the morning sports show. “And it happened in my case. There were a few guys that obviously weren’t as talented, but they put in the work and they had more success.”
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