13-Year-Old Player Debuts With Celtic Under-20 Team, Easily Holds His Own


Talk about starting them while they’re young.

Karamoko Dembele, a 13-year-old soccer prodigy, made his debut with the Celtic Under-20s development team on Tuesday night, playing alongside players five to seven years older than him—and more than holding his own—in the final 10 minutes of the 3-1 win against Hearts.


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Not to add any extra pressure, but Dembele has already been called “similar to Lionel Messi” by a former coach. These moves show why:


“We were all delighted to see Karamoko make his debut for the Development Squad last night against Hearts in what proved to be an entertaining game,” Chris McCart, Celtic’s Head of Youth, said on the team website. “The fact that he was playing against other players seven years his senior gives an indication of the quality this young boy possesses.”

Still, McCart wanted to keep expectations reasonable.

“Karamoko is still a young boy and has a lot of growing to do, both physically and mentally,” he said. “The coaches at our Under 13 and 14 levels have been fantastic in nurturing his potential but it is crucial that we do not push him too far, too soon.”

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