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2022 Player Profiles: Axel Kei

The 14-year-old striker set a decent foothold with Real Monarchs, but is he ready for the first team?

MLS: Leagues Cup Showcase-Atlas at Real Salt Lake Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

What’s next for Axel Kei?

Axel, who is currently 14 years old, signed his first professional contract in January 2022. That first team contract keeps him with the club through at least the 2023 season. One can only hope that 2023 brings Axel first-team minutes to show off what he can bring to the team, even at his young age.

Why Axel Kei should make his first-team debut in 2023

It seems that everyone is hyper focused on how young Axel is. I’ve already brought it up three times in this player profile. However, Axel looks to fit the part of a first team player.

From a physical standpoint, Kei is a towering presence on the pitch. This is incredibly clear when seeing the Monarchs play other MLS Next Pro sides throughout the season. On several occasions he made twenty-two year old players look to be younger than himself.

From a technical standpoint, Axel is able to create opportunities and draw pressure like a seasoned number 9. He’s incredibly comfortable in the 18-yard box and seems to have no hesitation taking a 2-on-1 in the attacking third. The only thing he really lacks at this point is finishing, but it’s some times hard to tell if that’s a matter of his ability to finish or a lack of service in an area where he can finish.

From an overall team standpoint, Axel almost has to see more minutes with the first team in 2023. A 14-year-old that is a constant starter on your second team absolutely has to be seeing first-team minutes. Especially when you look around the league at players like Paxten Aaronson, who is on his way to Europe at 19 years old. If you’re going to take the risk of signing such a young player, you need to be committed to fully developing that player to the first team.

2022 stats recap

Real Monarchs

  • Games Played: 13
  • Games Started: 12
  • Minutes: 1,075
  • Goals & Assists: 3, 1

Real Salt Lake

  • Games Played: 1 (friendly against Liga MX side Atlas)
  • Games Started: 0
  • Minutes: 45
  • Goals & Assists: 0, 0