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Da’vian Kimbrough, born in 2010, makes history with professional debut in USL

Da’vian Kimbrough, born in 2010, makes history with professional debut in USL

Sacramento Republic handed Kimbrough his much-anticipated debut in their clash against Las Vegas Lights FC.

It's a news story that is guaranteed to make you feel old. Da’vian Kimbrough, the highly-rated Sacramento Republic FC forward, made his professional debut in their USL Championship match against Las Vegas Lights on Sunday.

But it wasn't just any debut. At the age of 13 years, five months and 13 days old, Kimbrough became the youngest professional soccer player to play in a competitive match in the United States, when he came on as an 87th-minute substitute.

That's right. With his side leading 2-0 against Isidro Sanchez's men, the California-born striker made history when he beat the record previously held by Axel Kei, who debuted for Real Monarchs SLC on a USL Academy contract at age 13 months, nine months and nine days.

“We’ve got to continue to drive our local talent, continue to develop our local talent, and Da’vian is obviously a special one that we’re fortunate to have for a long time,” said Sacramento Republic manager Mark Briggs after Sunday's full-time whistle.

“And I think you saw in glimpses today the ability the kid has. He’s a special talent and we look forward to developing him.”

As you can see from the fan footage above, Kimbrough understandably looked a tad nervous before coming on in the 87th minute.

In fact, he confirmed his pre-game feelings during his post-match interview, saying: “I was a bit nervous at first before I got subbed on but once I got on the field, at the end of the day it’s just soccer. So I was just doing what I love.

"My main goal when I got in was to touch the ball a little bit, pass, move. Hopefully next time I can score.”

It has been a whirlwind few months for the talented Kimbrough, who penned a professional contract with Sacramento on August 9, which made him the youngest senior professional soccer player in United States history.

Sacramento's club president Todd Dunivant, meanwhile, is keen to steady expectations after seeing what happened to former United States prodigy Freddy Adu.

Speaking to The Athletic in August, he said: "There’s no need to heap that kind of pressure on him.

"This is not somebody we’ll be leaning upon to start games when he’s 13 and a half or 14 — it’ll be when he’s ready. We will ramp it up in the right way that makes sense. The pressure (Adu was under) is not fair to anyone at that age, and we won’t put that on Da’vian.

"He is going to go at his pace, and it’s our job as a club to set him up for that through a development plan that continues to challenge him in the right way and puts him in positions to succeed."

Dunivant added: “There’s always going to be setbacks, and we have to be cognizant of all of it. He’ll be one of the guys, and after getting his feet wet, it’s about understanding that he’s there to do a job. It’s not just the young kid. If he’s good enough, he’s old enough.”

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@SacRepublicFC

Topics: United States, USA, MLS