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14-year-old Cavan Sullivan signs with Philadelphia Union, 5th-youngest signing in MLS history

14-year-old prodigy Cavan Sullivan signs with Philadelphia Union
14-year-old prodigy Cavan Sullivan signs with Philadelphia Union 03:32

CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) -- You don't have to be an adult to know ball. And the Philadelphia Union's latest signing of Cavan Sullivan proves it.

The 14-year-old is now the youngest player in team history to be added to the Union's first-team roster. He's also the fifth-youngest signing in Major League Soccer history, the team said in a news release.

Sullivan will wear No. 6, the Union announced on social media.

Born Sept. 28, 2009, and calling Norristown home, Sullivan joined the Union Academy in 2020 - at age 10.

Now he's signed with the Union through 2028.

"I've been watching my home team, the Union, for as long as I remember and hoped that one day I'd get the chance to play for my city in front of my family, friends, and fans," Sullivan said in a news release. "Being able to not only play for the Union but to be able to play with my brother is a dream come true. I will give everything I have to this club and hope to help bring home some hardware. I'm thankful for the opportunity and hope to make Philadelphia proud."

Philadelphia Union

If Cavan Sullivan makes his debut before July 29, 2024, he will be the youngest player to make his debut among the top North American pro sports leagues and the youngest to debut among the top five European soccer leagues.

Sullivan was initially reported to be signing with Manchester City, where he would not be allowed to play until turning 18 in 2027.

With Sullivan being one of the most-highly touted soccer prospects in modern history, the expectations would be daunting for anyone, but he said he's ready to block out the noise. 

"Despite all the noise, whether it's positive or negative, I'm focused on my game and my development," he said. 

Signing with the Union also comes with a built-in family advantage. Cavan's brother, Quinn, is a midfielder with the club. 

14-year-old Cavan Sullivan signs with Philadelphia Union | Full press conference 28:34

Brendan Sullivan, Cavan's father, said his son signing with the Union on Thursday was the "culmination of a lot of hard work."

"He's worked really hard. He's listened to his coaches. He's trained with his brothers," Cavan's father said. 

Head coach Jim Curtin has known the family for decades and played under Cavin Sullivan's grandfather Larry at Villanova. It also keeps his family close by as an extra layer of support.

"I think as a parent, your job is to help form your kids," Heike Sullivan, Cavan's mother, said. "And now we have the opportunity to keep him a little longer and make sure he's on the right path."

Union coaches said being a kid will be part of Cavan Sullivan's development. When asked when we may see him on the pitch, Curtin said they'll know when it's time

Mom and dad said they'll make sure he's a 14-year-old at home.

"And do laundry, trash, wash, empty the dishwasher, pay rent now! Yes, chores don't stop," Heike Sullivan said. 

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