Josh Wynder joins Benfica for record USL Championship transfer fee

Benfica has acquired U.S. under-20 national team defender Josh Wynder from Louisville City for the highest transfer fee ever commanded by a USL Championship player.

The 18-year-old Louisville native started for the USA at the 2023 Under-20 World Cup, where it reached the quarterfinals, and is eligible for the 2025 Under-20 World Cup.

ESPN reported that Benfica will pay Louisville City a transfer fee $1.2 million plus add-ons for Wynder, who is expected to start out at Benfica B in Liga Portugal 2.

Wynder was 16 when he debuted for LouCity's first team, following in the footsteps of older brother Elijah, who also turned pro after initially signing a USL Academy contract.

“I’m very grateful to Louisville City for everything the club has done for me,” Wynder said in a statement. “It’s a dream come true to sign with Benfica, and I can’t wait to get started there. Although my career’s taking me overseas, I’ll always be proud of where I’m from and represent Louisville to the best of my ability.”

Americans who have been at Benfica include Zach Thornton (2004), Freddy Adu (2007), Keaton Parks (2017-18) and John Brooks (2022) though they rarely played for the first team.

Benfica signed a pair of Americans from the Philadelphia Union academy, goalkeeper CJ dos Santos and forward Marcos Zambrano. Santos is now with Inter Miami, while Zambrano, 18, finished up his first season with Benfica's U-23s.

After being named the 2021 USL Championship's Young Player of the Year, Jonathan Gomez, originally signed from the FC Dallas academy, left Louisville City and signed with LaLiga's Real Sociedad though he has yet to play for the first team in league play. Gomez also played for the U.S. U-20s in Argentina.

Other young players who have moved to Europe from the USL Championship include San Antonio FC's Jose Gallegos and Orange County SC's Kobi Henry. Gallegos, 21, plays for SønderjyskE in the Danish second division. Henry spent his first season in France with Reims II in the fourth-tier National 2.

1 comment about "Josh Wynder joins Benfica for record USL Championship transfer fee".
  1. beautiful game, June 9, 2023 at 10:57 a.m.

    Good luck young man...reach for the stars.

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