Jaylen Slade Signs With adidas, Becomes Latest To Turn Pro

Jaylen Slade on Thursday became the third high schooler this year to make the leap into the professional track and field ranks. 

The rising high school senior, 17, signed a 5-year deal with adidas that will cover the next two World Championships, the 2024 Olympics and another World Championships, said Dwight Thomas, who coaches Slade at the high school level in Sarasota, Florida with IMG Academy. 

"They really want to work with someone of his talent," Thomas said. "He's young and he's an athlete where he has so much more potential to grow." 

Slade is the third athlete in 2021 to sign with adidas, following the likes of Erriyon Knighton, who also signed with adidas in January; and Hobbs Kessler, who went with the three stripes in June ahead of the U.S. Olympic Trials. 

The last four high school athletes to turn pro have all signed with adidas. 

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Thomas said Slade and his family were in talks with adidas before the Trials as well, but the deal got over the line recently. The company will pay for Slade to continue his education past high school. 

He will train out of the Sarasota campus with Thomas, who is three-time Olympian for Jamaica and a World Championship gold medalist. 

Slade produced a wind-legal 100m time of 10.09 this season and two other wind-assisted performances of 10.03 and 10.04. He also ran the fourth-fastest 200m performance in high school history at 20.20 and reached the U.S. Olympic Trials in both events. 

"It's the same concept Jaylen is looking to achieve," Thomas said. "Train hard, work hard and the sky is the limit. He's the full package. He has everything. He's gifted. We just have to nurture his talent in the right way so he can grow and develop in the right direction. 

Slade will turn 18 in October.