Cavan Sullivan breaks MLS record signing for 14-year-old youth player

May 13 – MLS club Philadelphia Union has signed a contract with 14-year-old attacking midfielder Cavan Sullivan that will see him earn an MLS record $500,000 annually, with a $5 million move to Manchester City when he turns 18.

Sullivan is the fifth youngest player to sign a pro contract in MLS history, and if he makes his MLS debut in a competitive game before July 29, 2024, will become the youngest player to play in the MLS.

Philadephia Union has established a reputation as a leading academy in the MLS. Last month the academy U17 team, with Sullivan starring, won a second consecutive Generation Adidas Cup against opposition including Flamengo (Brazil), HNK Hajduk Split (Croatia), Atlas (Mexico), and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (South Korea) along the way.

Sullivan could leave Philadelphia Union when he is 16, rather than 18 as per the deal with Man City. The extra years in the USA will give more first team opportunity than he would have at Man City and within what is already an academy overloaded with worldwide talent.

That, of course, assumes his meteroric development. Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin had no doubt that he will be in the MLS side soon.

“He’s going to work hard and get on the field on merit first and foremost. But I’ll just say it publicly- it is a lot closer than people may realize,” said Curtin.

Sullivan will now start training full-time with the Union first team, where he will join his 20-year-old older brother Quinn, who has already played 89 professional matches and 19 for the US U20 national team.

Sullivan first came to the attention of scouts globally at the U15 Generation Adidas Cup as a 13-year-old leading the US U15 national team to the Concacaf title and winning the player of the tournament accolade.

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