Why play high school soccer when you can go pro? That's precisely what 14-year-old midfielder Francis Jacobs is doing. He just became the youngest male player ever to sign a professional soccer contract in the United States, inking a deal to play for Orange County SC, which plays in the USL--one step down from Major League Soccer. (Freddy Adu, whose pro career turned out to be a major disappointment, was about a month older than Jacobs.) The 5'11" prodigy had offers to play professionally abroad, but his parents wanted him close to his Laguna Beach, California, home, so he can continue his education by attending private school in the afternoon. "As a 14-year-old, he's already more mature than most of the teenagers that we come across who play for us," OCSC general manager Oliver Wyss told ESPN. "I think that has a dramatic impact because his coachability, his smarts, his intelligence, are very, very high for a young man.