Earlier this year, Toronto FC signed Rush Canada academy player Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty to its First Team at the age of 15, seeing him become the youngest player in TFC history to sign a First Team contract.
“Jahkeele is the top player in his age group across Canada and the U.S, and he is among the top young players in all of North America. He is an incredibly talented young man. While he’s only 15 years old, he plays the game in a very mature way,” said Toronto FC General Manager Ali Curtis following the January signing. “He had interest from many top clubs in Europe. It’s important that we are both patient and aggressive with Jahkeele’s development, but he has the potential to be an incredible player moving forward. We’re also very proud of Jahkeele as he’s done a lot to get to this moment. Happy for Jahkeele, happy for his family, and we are excited about working with Jahkeele moving forward.”
On Oct. 24 in Major League Soccer regular season action, Marshall-Rutty made history again, making his MLS debut as a second-half substitute and becoming the youngest Toronto FC player to ever play meaningful minutes for the club. In the club’s loss to the Philadelphia Union, another Rush Soccer alumnus, the Union’s Mark McKenzie, also featured in the match and scored a goal.
Sixteen years young! Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty became the youngest player to make an appearance in club history.Posted by Toronto FC on Sunday, 25 October 2020
On Marshall-Rutty’s debut, Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney said, “I Jahk was spry, had himself a great opportunity (to score) – the best one that we had all game. He was busy and active. … It was nice for those guys to get a feel for it all. It’s unfortunate it was on a night like tonight where a lot of other things weren’t going well, but I’m happy for them to at least get a sniff.”
American international, World Cup veteran and Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley described Marshall-Rutty’s debut as well: “Let’s be honest, that’s far and away the best part of the night – that (a) young Toronto boy, who worked hard to sign a first team contract and push himself in this last stretch in training every single day, got the opportunity to make his debut. … And showed that he’s not going to be fazed one bit. Certainly, for all of us on the inside of the group, and hopefully for everybody connected to the club – the coaches in the academy that they’ve had along the way, their parents, their families – that should be a really proud moment.”
With a reputation for developing elite youth players through a distinct pathway to the heights of competition, Rush Soccer began in 1997 in Littleton, Colo., and now includes more than 100 partner clubs and a nationwide membership of more than 45,000 players and growing. Dozens of Rush alumni have soared to the heights of the game, including American internationals like Lindsey Horan (USWNT, Portland Thorns) and Christian Pulisic (USMNT, Chelsea FC), Mark McKenzie (USMNT, Philadelphia Union) and many others. Currently, there is a Rush Soccer club in almost every state across America and there are more than 40 International Rush Clubs based in Africa, North and South America, Asia and Europe.