Only 16! Charlotte FC's Nimfasha Berchimas makes MLS history


Just two days after turning 16 years old, Charlotte FC homegrown attacker Nimfasha Berchimas entered the record books during MLS is Back weekend.

The winger made his senior debut in the latter stages of Charlotte's 1-0, season-opening win over New York City FC on Saturday evening – entering the match as an 84th-minute substitute for Kerwin Vargas.

In the process, Berchimas became the ninth-youngest player to debut in MLS. It's just the latest milestone for the US youth international, who scored three goals in four matches at the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

"I felt confident," Berchimas said post-match. "I didn’t feel nervous. I was calm. It felt like a normal game."

Saturday's lone goal at Bank of America Stadium came courtesy of Adilson Malanda's eighth-minute tally, which got the Dean Smith era off to a winning start in Charlotte.

"If they're ready, it doesn't matter what age they are," Smith said. "If the young lads are ready, then I'll give them the opportunity. They're ready at the moment."

Top 10 youngest debuts in MLS history
1. Freddy Adu
D.C. United
14 years, 306 days
2. Julian Hall
New York Red Bulls
15 years, 190 days
3. Alphonso Davies
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
15 years, 257 days
4. Axel Kei
Real Salt Lake
15 years, 288 days
5. Matai Akinmboni
D.C. United
15 years, 328 days
6. Obed Vargas
Seattle Sounders FC
15 years, 351 days
T-7. Erik Duenas
15 years, 362 days
T-7. Stiven Jimenez
FC Cincinnati
15 years, 362 days
9. Nimfasha Berchimas
Charlotte FC
16 years, 2 days
10. Danny Leyva
Seattle Sounders FC
16 years, 31 days