18-year-old defender Kobi Henry became the latest player to make the move to Europe from the USL Championship’s Orange County SC on Tuesday, with the center back’s transfer to Ligue 1 club Stade de Reims coming via a record fee in United Soccer League history.
Following the moves of goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes to Rangers FC in Scotland and forward Ronaldo Damus to GIF Sundsvall in Sweden in the past 20 months, Henry will join a top-flight European club as he begins the next chapter of his career.
Here are the key moments that led to this moment for the precocious young talent.
June 18, 2020 – Kobi Henry signs professionally with Orange County SC after stints at the Orlando City SC and Inter Miami CF academy programs.
August 22, 2020 – Henry makes his USL Championship debut for Orange County as a late substitute against the LA Galaxy II in a 2-1 victory for the side at Dignity Health Sports Park. Three days later he makes his first professional start against Las Vegas Lights FC and ends the season with four appearances.
May 28, 2021 – Henry starts Orange County SC U-17s first game at the 2021 USL Academy Cup against Tampa Bay United. He appears in all four contests for the side at the event alongside fellow professional signing Francis Jacobs
Kobi Henry in action for Orange County SC at the USL Academy Cup in Tampa, Fla. during May, 2021. | Photo courtesy United Soccer League
June 19, 2021 – Henry makes his first appearance in the 2021 season for Orange County and plays the full 90 minutes in a 3-1 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC at Cashman Field.
July 31, 2021 – Henry scores his first professional goal, glancing home a header off a free kick for the first tally in a 3-0 victory for OCSC against Oakland Roots SC at Las Positas College.
November 6, 2021 – The day following his first call-up to the United States U-20 Men’s National Team, Henry makes his USL Championship Playoffs debut, coming on as a first-half substitute following a red card to teammate Rob Kiernan. Henry helps Orange County earn a shutout in a 1-0 win against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC despite being down a player.
Kobi Henry in action during his USL Championship Playoffs debut for Orange County SC in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2021 postseason. | Photo courtesy Liza Rosales / Orange County SC
November 28, 2021 – Henry and his Orange County SC teammates claim the first USL Championship title in club history, taking a 3-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium.
December 3, 2021 – Henry is named by Head Coach Gregg Berhalter in the United States Men’s National Team squad for an exhibition against Bosnia and Herzegovina. He joins then-Louisville City FC defender Jonathan Gomez in being the first two active USL Championship players selected in a senior USMNT squad.
Kobi Henry at training with the United States Men's National Team last December prior to the side's exhibition against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
June 14, 2022 – Henry is transferred to Ligue 1 club Stade de Reims ahead of the 2022-23 season for a USL Championship-record transfer fee. The 18-year-old has made 30 appearances across the Championship regular season and playoffs for Orange County.