2018 USL Championship All-League selection Josh Cohen is set to compete in the UEFA Champions League group stage after helping Maccabi Haifa advance from the final qualifying round on Tuesday night. | Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
One of the USL Championship’s top European transfers is heading to the UEFA Champions League group stage.
2018 Championship All-League selection Josh Cohen and Israeli Premier League champions Maccabi Haifa advanced to the group stage for the first time since 2009 on Tuesday night after advancing 5-4 on aggregate against Serbian club FK Crvena Zvezda. Haifa grabbed a 2-2 draw in Belgrade to advance after former USL League Two standout Frantzdy Pierrot scored twice for the side in a 3-2 victory in the first leg a week ago.
A former League Two player at Burlingame Dragons FC before joining the professional ranks in the Championship with Orange County SC midway through the 2015 season, Cohen made 91 appearances in the league over the course of four seasons. After joining Phoenix Rising FC for the 2017 campaign, Cohen shone in the 2018 season for Sacramento after an offseason move, earning All-League honors as he recorded an individual single-season best 12 shutouts and 117 saves in 34 appearances.
Cohen was transferred by Sacramento to Maccabi Haifa midway through the 2019 campaign, and over the past two seasons he has led the side to consecutive Israeli Premier League titles. In the 2020-21 season, the 30-year-old California native was voted the league’s Player of the Year and will now get the chance to play in one of the most prestigious club competitions in the world as Haifa ended a 13-year absence from the UCL group stage.
The draw for the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League group stage will be held on Thursday, where Haifa will be placed in Pot 4.