Philadelphia Soccer Team Signs 14-Year-Old, Establishing European Pipeline That Could Change American Soccer Forever

The Philadelphia Union signed 14-year-old phenom Cavan Sullivan to a four-year deal, making him the youngest homegrown signee in Major League Soccer history, the team announced Thursday.

Sullivan signed with the team’s youth academy in 2020 when he was just 10 years old. The signing makes him the fifth youngest player to sign a first-team contract in MLS history, according to the team’s statement.

“Cavan is undeniably a rare and extraordinary talent. At just 14 years old, his natural skill and vision are far beyond his years,” the team’s Sporting Director Ernst Tanner said, according to the statement. “His advanced soccer IQ, paired with his ability to read plays, advance the ball, and score, show just how high his ceiling will be. We are incredibly pleased to have come to an agreement to have Cavan join the Union on his first professional contract and have no doubt on the impact he will make with the club.”

His brother, 20-year-old Quinn Sullivan, also plays for the Union. (RELATED: Megan Rapinoe Gets Mega-Triggered After USWNT Player Reposts Christian Sermon On Why ‘Feeling Transgender’ Is Wrong)

The deal reportedly has a collaborative transfer agreement with the reigning three-time Premier League Champions, Manchester City, according to NBC Philadelphia. Sullivan won’t be able to play for them until he turns 18, according to NBC Philadelphia.

It’s an unusual deal that could lend a larger air of credibility to Major League Soccer, which is typically seen by global soccer fans as far less prestigious and competitive than the European leagues. But Sullivan’s signing may signal a changing of the guard in professional soccer. After global superstar Lionel Messi snubbed the big-money Saudi Arabian league to play for the MLS’s Inter Miami CF, the league continues to add feathers to its cap to help brandish its reputation as a legitimate platform for competitive pro soccer.

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