PHOENIX, Ariz. (Tuesday, July 14) – Phoenix Rising FC has signed forward Ansu Kanneh as the sixth academy player in club history, the club announced today. The Glendale resident is eligible to play for the club this season.
Kanneh will register as a United Soccer League Academy Player, maintaining his amateur status. He becomes only the second 14-year-old to be signed to a club’s roster in USL Championship history. Orange County SC’s Francis Jacobs signed at 14 years, four months and 29 days old just last year. Kanneh is currently 14 years, eight months and 13 days old. Freddy Adu was 14 years, six months and 18 days old when he signed with MLS’s D.C. United in November 2003.
“The first thing we noticed about Ansu was his athleticism,” said Rising FC head coach Rick Schantz. “He’s very quick, very agile. When we brought him into training, he was very humble, very respectful. His family fought hard to come to America and gain citizenship. The way he behaves and fits right in… for a kid his age, it is very impressive.”
“We’ve done some exercises where players in small-sided games score a few goals, but his first day he scored five,” added Schantz. “To have a player at this age playing with Junior Flemmings and Soloman Asante – that’s the next step in our evolution as an organization, to use the experience of our top guys to help educate our youth payers.”
Kanneh joined Phoenix Rising FC’s academy team in mid-May after beginning his youth soccer career with Phoenix Rush. Ahead of the curve athletically and academically, Kanneh is entering his junior year of high school at the age of 14 after beginning his education early in Liberia. Kanneh scored 32 goals for the junior varsity team at North High School in Phoenix at the age of 12. He bagged another 15 goals last year while playing for the varsity team, at the age of 13.
“It’s exciting to be able to develop and learn from good players,” said Kanneh. “I’m really happy. All the professional players here are humble, and they work hard. I’m learning a lot from them. I’m working hard to get to the level they are at right now. My goal now is to make the top 18 for a match this season.”
Name: Ansu Kanneh
DOB: December 2, 2005 (14)
Hometown: Glendale, Arizona
Birthplace: Monrovia, Liberia