Image: Photonews via Het Laatste Nieuws
Bryce Brites is only 20 months old and can’t even properly utter the words “ball” or “goal” but he just became the youngest professional football player on the planet.
This past week, Bryce signed with Belgian club FC Racing Boxberg, based near his home city of Genk, after impressing coaches with his “highly unusual” talent and “incredible” ball control. The precocious toddler was invited to train with the club’s Under-5 team and was signed and issued his very own Belgian FA membership card the very same day.
Amazingly, Bryce misses out on the all-time record for youngest-ever professional by two months. That record apparently belongs to Dutch footballer Baerke van der Meij, who signed a 10-year deal with VVV-Venlo when he was 18 months old.
Racing Boxberg club secretary Dany Vodnik raved about the young prodigy, who is still in diapers, to Dutch newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws:
“Bryce kicks a ball in a way you do not even see when playing drills with four or five-year-olds. His ball control is incredible for his age. The way he dribbles with the ball at his feet between the cones, he can give a pass to the left or right.
“You ask him to kick a ball three or five meters and he does so, but he may not play with the five and six-year-old boys yet. We must remain cautious.“
Given Belgium’s embarrassment of riches in footballing talent recently, Bryce might just live up to the hype in about 15 years or so. But for the meantime, he will likely enjoy instant celebrity status on his neighborhood playgrounds.