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From LouCity’s opening game to S.L. Benfica, here’s Joshua Wynder’s pathway

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/08/23, 8:55AM EDT


Find out the key dates in the rise of one of American soccer’s brightest young talents

17-year-old Louisville City FC standout Joshua Wynder has gone from competing for the club's Academy in 2020 to his first United States National Team call-up this month. | Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC

The incredible journey of Louisville City FC’s Joshua Wynder continued Wednesday when he was selected to the United States Men’s National Team to face Mexico in the Allstate Continental Clásico on Wednesday, April 19 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

As Wynder gets his first opportunity to represent the United States at the senior level, here’s a look at the key dates that paved the way to this landmark in the 17-year-old’s career.

March 28, 2015 – As a nine-year-old, Joshua Wynder attends the first game in Louisville City FC’s USL Championship history against Saint Louis FC at Slugger Field.

United States Men's National Team call-up Joshua Wynder aged nine years old at the first game in Louisville City FC's history in 2015.

February 14, 2020 – A local standout, Wynder makes his first appearance in Louisville City FC colors aged 14 years old against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at the 2020 USL Academy Eastern Conference Showcase, a precursor to the current USL Academy Cup.

February 21, 2021 – Wynder is among seven players to sign USL Academy contracts ahead of the 2021 USL Championship season with Louisville City FC. Joining him among the seven are current LouCity Academy graduates and professional signings Owen Damm, Sebastian Sanchez and Carlos Moguel Jr.

June 3, 2021 – Wynder signs his first professional contract with Louisville City FC. He becomes the second player to sign professionally from the LouCity Academy, joining elder brother Elijah Wynder. The brothers have since made 10 appearances side-by-side in the USL Championship’s regular season and playoffs.

Brothers Joshua (left) and Elijah Wynder have made 10 appearances alongside each other in the USL Championship since becoming the first two professional signings from the club's Academy program. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

July 14, 2021 – Wynder makes his USL Championship debut for Louisville City FC as a second-half substitute against OKC Energy FC aged 16 years, 73 days old. He becomes the youngest player in LouCity history, a distinction he still holds.

April 22, 2022 – Wynder earns his first call-up to a United States Youth National Team when he is selected to the U.S. U-19s squad for a training camp in California. At the end of the year, Wynder is nominated for U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year award after leading the U-19s to an undefeated calendar year.

December 5, 2022 – After being nominated for the USL Championship’s 2022 Young Player of the Year award, Wynder’s valuation from website rises to $1 million. The rise – and a subsequent training stint with historic Portuguese club Benfica in January – fuels speculation regarding a potential move to Europe after his 18th birthday in May.

Joshua Wynder (4) captained the United States U-19 Men's National Team twice in five appearances during an undefeated calendar year for the squad in 2022. | Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer

April 12, 2023 – Wynder earns his first call-up to the United States Men’s National Team as he joins the squad ahead of its exhibition against Mexico on April 19 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. He becomes the third active USL Championship player to receive a USMNT call-up, following former LouCity teammate Jonathan Gomez and Orange County SC’s Kobi Henry in 2021.

Joshua Wynder earned his first call-up to the United States Men's National Team in April, 2023 for the side's contest against Mexico in Glendale, Ariz. | Photo courtesy Arocha / Louisville City FC

June 8, 2023 - Louisville City FC announces the transfer of Joshua Wynder to legendary Portuguese club S.L. Benfica in a USL Championship-record deal. The 18-year-old becomes the first player to command a seven-figure transfer fee in league history as he joins one of the most historic clubs in Europe to make the next step in his burgeoining career.

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