A 14-year-old soccer player became the youngest male athlete to sign a professional contract in the U.S. on Monday.
Francis Jacobs, a midfielder, signed a deal with Orange County SC of the United Soccer League Championship, which is a Division II Professional League. Major League Soccer is considered to be Division I.
“Francis is a special Orange County talent and has shown a maturity on the field way beyond his years,” Oliver Wyss, the club’s president of soccer operations and general manager, said in a news release.
“He is the perfect model of player to develop in our pathway to professional program that we have established here in Orange County. The entire organization is committed to providing him with guidance, training and support as he begins the first step in what we believe will be a long professional soccer career,” he continued.
“Francis has a bright future ahead and we are proud to have him and his family as part of Orange County SC,” he concluded.
Jacobs, who is from Laguna Beach, Calif., was 14 years, four months and 29 days old when he agreed to the contract with Orange County SC last month. It’s less than a month younger than Freddy Adu when he signed with DC United of Major League Soccer in November 2003.
The teen said he was excited to start playing.
Jacobs has been training with the club since May and has previously trained with Bayer Leverkusen and Köln in Germany.
He is eligible to play in his first professional match Aug. 17 against the Las Vegas Lights FC.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.