Youngest MLS Player Timeline
|In the past few years, MLS has embraced younger players, and teenagers have become a common sight, thanks to the P-40 (sorry, Adidas Elite) program. Obviously, Freddy Adu is the youngest player in league history. But I wanted to find out who previously held that title, and here are the results:|
1) Victor Mella, San Jose
Opening day for MLS saw San Jose beat DC United 1-0 on an Eric Wynalda goal, and at 21, Mella was the youngest man on the field. A forward, he was on loan from Chile's Colo Colo (link) . I didn't follow the league back then, and I really don't know much about him. He would only hold the record for a week.
2) Welton, New England Revolution
Unlike Mella, Welton had a pretty good MLS career. The Brazilian would go on to star for Los Angeles and Miami, scoring 43 goals along the way.
3) Ramiro Corrales, San Jose
The youngest player by far in 1996; almost two years younger than Welton, he was the first teenager in MLS history. Remained in the league until this year, departing for Norway.
4) Nino da Silva, Kansas City Wizards
Another Brazilian, the forward only played in 13 games over four years, scoring no goals. His one sub appearance in 1997 allowed him to make this list, and he held the title for 2.5 years. Now plays for the Chicago Storm in the MISL.
What's interesting, is that in researching this, Jamar Beasley is often referred to as the youngest MLS player ever. Jamar debuted a year after da Silva, and was about a half year older. I'm not sure if that was laziness on MLS' part, or what. Hmm...
5) DaMarcus Beasley, Chicago Fire
Following his brother's footsteps in signing as a teen, he was the first 17 year old. Damarcus easily has achieved the most success of the guys on this list. Although, it took a couple years until he put it together.
6) Bobby Convey, DC United
Only a week after DaMarcus, Convey made his debut. He was a full year younger. Now with Reading, he's been a pro for five years already.
7) Santino Quaranta, DC United
Santino set the bar high, at only 16.5 years old. Still going strong with DC, although he hasn't lived up to his potential thanks to injuries. Held the record for three years, longer than anyone else.
8) Freddy Adu, DC United
No one will ever match Freddy, at least in this category. A full 632 days younger than Quaranta. Probably wasn't ready for the pros, but has had moments of brilliance. He'll be a ten year pro at the age of 24, simply amazing.