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Philadelphia Union sign 14-year-old rising star Cavan Sullivan to homegrown deal

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Ahead of an expected move to Manchester City when he turns 18, 14-year-old Cavan Sullivan of the Philadelphia Union has signed a homegrown deal with the MLS club. According to The Athletic, it’s also a record-breaking deal where Sullivan will earn more than $500,000 per season. This is just slightly ahead of Freddy Adu’s deal when he signed for D.C. United in 2003.

Sullivan will follow in the footsteps of his older brother Quinn Sullivan, who also signed a homegrown deal with the Union and is enjoying a breakout season as a starter at the age of 20. Both are midfielders who have pushed each other during their careers to date but with Cavan being scouted by teams such as Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, it was City who appear to have won the race for his signature moving forward, per reports. Sullivan has made appearances for the Philadelphia Union’s MLS Next Pro side but this is a deal that will now pave the way for him to make appearances for the first team as long as they’re in accordance with Pennsylvania labor laws.

“The Union means almost everything to me, it’s my club,” Sullivan said. “Watching Quinn in the first team — being at the club since I was a little kid. This is my home.”

One of the biggest youth talents in the world, Sullivan will join a path that has seen Brenden and Paxten Aaronson move to Europe along with Mark McKenzie. The academy has also seen talents like Auston Trusty move to Europe as well although not directly like the former trio. 

Sullivan is now one of the youngest signings in MLS history and if he debuts before July 29th, he can become the youngest player to ever debut in a top American sports league surpassing Adu who debuted at 14 years and 306 days old.

“We’re not afraid to put Cavan on the field at any time when he’s ready,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “He’ll get on the field on merit, first and foremost, but I’ll say it publicly: [His debut] is a lot closer than people may realize.”

With MLS teams joining the Leagues Cup in July, that could be an opportunity for Sullivan to play a game early enough in the day to make his debut, while breaking the record since school would be out of session, but that will come down to multiple factors as the Union host Charlotte FC to kick off the group stage on July 28. It’s a historic day in Philadephia as Sullivan will be a player to watch in the American talent pool for years to come with his pro debut coming sooner rather than later.

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