Toronto FC II announced the signing of 14-year-old academy prospect Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty to a USL contract on Monday, setting a record for youngest player ever signed in USL League One, the new third-tier professional league set to debut in 2019.
Marshall-Rutty also appears to be the youngest pro player signed in the history of USL’s broader pyramid structure, which dates back more than a quarter of a century and includes multiple second- and third-tier iterations. Freddy Adu remains the youngest signing in MLS history, drafted by D.C. United at age 14 in 2004.
The leading scorer in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s Under-15 competition with 20 goals in his first 12 games of the 2018-19 season, Marshall-Rutty’s early signing puts him in elite company.
The USL Championship (second tier) record for youngest signing is highly-rated LA Galaxy starlet and Mexican youth international Efrain Alvarez, who was 15 years, one month and 14 days old when he signed with LA Galaxy II, the Galaxy’s USL Championship side, in August of 2017.
In doing so, Alvarez – who subsequently signed an MLS Homegrown deal – narrowly broke the record held by Alphonso Davies, the Vancouver Whitecaps Homegrown product sold to Bayern Munich for an MLS-record transfer fee earlier this year.
Marshall-Rutty is the 42nd TFC academy player to turn pro, and the youngest signing in the club’s history.