Transfer Tracker

Cavan Sullivan: Philadelphia Union sign 14-year-old homegrown star


The Philadelphia Union have signed midfielder Cavan Sullivan through 2028 to the largest homegrown player deal in MLS history, the club announced Thursday.

Sullivan, at 14 years and 224 days, is the fifth-youngest signing in MLS history. The United States youth international standout is the younger brother of fellow Union homegrown midfielder, Quinn Sullivan.

"Cavan is undeniably a rare and extraordinary talent. At just 14 years old his natural skill and vision are far beyond his years," Philadelphia sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a release.

"His advanced soccer IQ, paired with his ability to read plays, advance the ball, and score, show just how high his ceiling will be. We are incredibly pleased to have come to an agreement to have Cavan join the Union on his first professional contract and have no doubt about the impact he will make with the club."

Sullivan was named to the 2023 Generation adidas Cup Best XI after starring for the Union’s U-15s while just 13 years old, helping them reach the championship match. At the 2024 Generation adidas Cup, Sullivan played a pivotal role as Philadelphia’s U-17s repeated as tournament champions.

In March 2024, Sullivan made his MLS NEXT Pro debut for Philadelphia Union II and registered the game-winning assist. While representing the United States, Sullivan won the Golden Ball (given to the best player) at the 2023 Concacaf U-15 Championship – scoring four goals as they won the tournament.

"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,” said Sullivan, who joined the Union Academy in 2020.

"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."

Should Sullivan debut for the Union on or before July 29, 2024, he'd become the youngest debutant among the top North American professional sports leagues (MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, NWSL). That achievement would also make Sullivan the youngest debutant as compared to teams in the top five European soccer leagues.

Philadelphia are among the premier developers of youth talent in MLS, boasting a homegrown player list that includes US internationals Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie. The club won the 2020 Supporters' Shield, were MLS Cup 2022 runners-up and often compete in Concacaf Champions Cup.