Louisville City FC's Joshua Wynder has been selected in the United States squad for the FIFA Men's U-20 World Cup to be held in Argentina this month. | Photo courtesy Arocha / Louisville City FC
Louisville City FC starlet Joshua Wynder has been selected to the United States U-20 Men’s National Team squad for the 2023 FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup, part of a 21-player group that features a large collection of players who came through the USL Championship and League One in their careers in the squad named on Wednesday by Head Coach Mikey Varas.
A finalist for U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the year and the USL Championship’s Young Player of the Year award in 2022, Wynder is the first active Louisville City FC player to be selected to compete at the U-20 World Cup in club history. Since his debut in the 2021 season, the 18-year-old has made 41 appearances in the USL Championship’s regular season and playoffs, last year playing a key role in the side’s fourth Eastern Conference title and starting in the 2022 USL Championship Final, while also representing the club in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“It's always been a dream of mine to play in a World Cup,” said Wynder. “It's exciting to represent the United States – and the city of Louisville – on the global stage. This is another step in my journey, and I'm thankful for everyone who's helped me along the way.”
“We are extremely proud of Josh and this announcement for him,” added LouCity coach Danny Cruz. “This it is a testament to the work that he puts in day in and day out to continue his development and pursuit of being the best center back that he can be. As we continue to watch him develop as a player and as a young man, we are most proud of the person that Josh is and how he carries himself.”
Wynder is joined by former LouCity teammate Jonathan Gomez, who over two seasons in Louisville emerged as one of the top young talents in the United States. Voted the 2021 Championship Young Player of the Year, Gomez made his first senior appearance for the United States in December, 2021 prior to his transfer move to La Liga’s Real Sociedad the following January. Wynder followed in Gomez’s footsteps in April, earning his first call-up to the United States Men’s National Team for the side’s Continental Clasico clash with Mexico.
Louisville City FC's Joshua Wynder has made 41 appearances in the USL Championship for the club, and was nominated for USL Championship Young Player of the Year in 2022. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
Also named to the squad is former El Paso Locomotive FC star Diego Luna, who alongside Gomez was voted to the 2021 USL Championship All-League Team and was a finalist for the league’s Young Player of the Year award. Luna last year was transferred to Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer for what was at the time the largest transfer fee in Championship history and still stands as the largest domestic transfer agreement in the league’s history.
Another current USL Championship standout will also travel with the squad to Argentina, with Orange County SC forward Korede Osundina selected as one of three alternates that will be part of training prior to the tournament. The 19-year-old forward scored his first goal for Orange County this past weekend against San Diego Loyal SC and has been a mainstay in the United States U-19s and U-20s over the past year.
Other notable selections include current FC Dallas defender Justin Che, who was voted to the USL League One All-League First Team in 2020 while also garnering nominations for Defender and Young Player of the Year awards. Forward Cade Cowell also holds a notable piece of USL Championship history, with the current San Jose Earthquakes forward the youngest American player to have scored in the league when he bagged his first professional goal for Reno 1868 FC in the 2019 season.
Overall, the squad includes 14 players who have previously competed in the USL Championship or League One, with those players having logged 342 combined appearances and 23,598 minutes of play across the regular season and playoffs.
The United States will open the 2023 FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup on Saturday, May 20 when it plays Ecuador. The side will then face Fiji on Tuesday, May 23 and close the group stage against Slovakia on Friday, May 26. All three matches kick off at 2 p.m. ET and will be shown on FOX Sports and Telemundo platforms.
The U.S. will look to build on its history of success at this tournament as the only nation to reach the quarterfinals of the last three U-20 World Cups and one of three countries to qualify for the last five editions alongside New Zealand and Uruguay.