1. Kai Fifield, 8, Soccer
Kai Fifield was playing pick-up outside Barcelona’s famed Camp Nou stadium when a Barca official, watching from the side, took a liking to his game. He got a tryout with Barcelona before he and his dad headed back to England.
2. Jack Robinson, Surfing, 14
Straight out of western Australia, Jack Robinson has established himself as surfing observers’ unanimous pick for the best young surfer on the planet. He regularly competes against 20-year-olds and won the King of the Groms, a major competition for under-16 athletes. It helps that he started riding various kinds of boards when he was two years old.
3. Ariel Antigua, Baseball, 7
Sports Illustrated called Ariel Antigua, “The New York Yankees’ top prekindergarten prospect.” If you could’ve hit an 85-mph fastball at five years old, you would’ve been, too. He started playing baseball when he was six months old, and hopefully he keeps it up.
4. Oliver Wahlstrom, Hockey, 11
Oliver Wahlstrom has made a name for himself with gravity-defying lacrosse-style goals, and he’s good enough to provoke discussion over lowering the NHL’s age bar. His dad was a former Swedish pro player, so the legacy is certainly there.
5. David Sills, Football, 15
David Sills committed to USC as a quarterback at 13 years old. He was in SEVENTH GRADE. Now a freshman in high school, Sills completed 66% of his passes as the starting varsity signal-caller, and he’s training with Steve Clarkson, who mentored fellow USC QB Matt Barkley.
6. Nicole Fye, Swimming, 13
Nicole Fye was the youngest swimmer at the Speedo Champion Series in March, and she had the chance to qualify for the Olympic Trials — as a 13-year-old. Although she didn’t make it, she did the swim the nation’s fastest 400 meter freestyle and 1,500 meter freestyle among her age. Her 1,500 time was the 23rd fastest time of any woman in the country this year, and was 20 seconds faster than the next best 13-year-old.
7. Guan Tian-Lang, Golf, 13
The world junior champion became the youngest golfer to ever play in a European Tour event last month, and though he missed the cut, he’s now going to try and qualify for the U.S. Open. Guan began playing at age four and won his most recent junior crown by a ridiculous 11 shots.
8. Cody Jordan, Basketball, 5
Even though the ball’s basically half his size, Cody Jordan has absolutely preposterous handles. At his young age, he’s basically just a YouTube star — it’s hard to get a real sense of how good a kid’ll be at basketball when he’s less than four feet tall — but the potential with his quickness and dribbling is huge.
9. Austin Olsen, Curling, 7
CURLING PRODIGY. Austin Olsen’s been slinging rocks since he was two years old; the son of “recreational curlers” — I wish I was a recreational curler — he got into the sport by sweeping his toys across the kitchen floor with a broom. He’s also an avid fan of televised curling, and hopes to be a pro somewhere down the road. Not sure exactly how the professional curling system works, but it sounds awesome.
10. Brooke Harris, Cricket, 14
To be perfectly honest, I really couldn’t tell you what Brooke Harris has accomplished, because I don’t understand the rules of cricket even a little bit. But the Weekly Times Messenger says she “became the youngest player to hit a century for Grade Cricket club West Torrens in senior cricket.” So!
11. Tom Schaar, Skateboarding, 12
At 12 years old, Tom Schaar did something no skateboarder has ever done before: he landed a 1080. Although the fact that he used what’s called a “megaramp” differentiates his achievement from, say, Tony Hawk landing a 900 on a half-pipe, it’s still incredibly badass. And seriously: how many pre-teens can say they’ve done something nobody else has done before?
12. Josue Vargas, Boxing, 14
Boxing’s a weird sport to be a prodigy in, for the pure nature of what it is: kids beating the shit out of each other is a little unsettling. But as far as young fighters go, Josue Vargas is one of the top dogs; he’s already a multi-time Junior Olympics champion, and he’s barely into his teens.