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LouCity’s Joshua Wynder confident of success for United States Men’s U-20s

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/31/23, 10:55AM EDT


Top USL Championship center back spoke to ESPN’s Futbol Americas following Round of 16 victory vs. New Zealand

Louisville City FC standout Joshua Wynder (4) and the United States U-20 Men's National Team celebrate during their 4-0 victory against New Zealand on Tuesday at the FIFA Men's U-20 World Cup.

There’s been no shortage of confidence among the United States U-20 Men’s National Team as to what it might accomplish at the current FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup in Argentina.

Count Louisville City FC standout Joshua Wynder among that group.

“We’re confident, and we have confidence in our team and coaching staff,” Wynder told ESPN’s Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez on Futbol Americas on Tuesday night. “It doesn’t matter who we play. We’re just going to take it game by game and then hopefully we just keep doing our thing and win the whole thing.”

Wynder made his third start of the tournament on Tuesday as the United States reached the Quarterfinals with a 4-0 victory against New Zealand. The U.S. comfortably earned a fourth consecutive trip to the final eight of the tournament as former USL Championship All-League selection Diego Luna recorded a pair of assists and the side posted its fourth consecutive shutout of the tournament.

A finalist for U.S Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year in 2022, Wynder has been one of the pillars in the side’s defensive success, with goalkeeper Gaga Slonina and fellow center backs Brandan Craig and Justin Che – a 2020 USL League One All-League First Team selection with North Texas SC – also leading the way in the defensive third.

The 18-year-old’s selection to the squad for the tournament is the continuation of a remarkable year in which he previously received his first senior United States Men’s National Team call-up in April and continued to shine in the USL Championship for hometown club Louisville City FC. Since making his debut for LouCity in July 2021 as a 16-year-old, Wynder has recorded 41 appearances across the USL Championship’s regular season and playoffs, last year being nominated for the league’s Young Player of the Year award.

While one of the growing trends in the Championship has seen young players elect to join the professional ranks with Championship clubs – including examples such as Matthew Corcoran at Birmingham Legion FC, or Fidel Barajas at the Charleston Battery – Wynder is showing the pathway for players who grew up supporting the club they now compete for professionally all the way to the senior national level.

“I’m from Louisville,” said Wynder, “so having my family and friends every game definitely helped me a lot and it’s just a perfect pathway for a player like me who’s young. They’ve given me a lot of minutes, they’ve given me attention, which is going to help me move on to the next step, whatever that is.

“My goal has been Europe ever since I was young, so just to go into Louisville playing, getting me minutes, getting me experience, that will help me move on.”

Louisville native Joshua Wynder has made 41 appearances in the USL Championship for Louisville City FC since his debut as a 16-year-old in the 2021 regular season. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

Wynder and the United States will face either Uruguay or Gambia, who square off on Thursday, in the Quarterfinals on Sunday with the chance to become the first United States U-20s squad to reach the Semifinals since 1989.

From there, it could be a meeting with Brazil in the Semifinals and the chance for the side to reach the Men’s U-20 World Cup Final for the first time in the program’s history.

For this group, that’s the aim as they try to create a new story for American soccer fans to follow.

“I think we’ve been believing from beginning,” said Wynder. “I mean, we have a great group. We’ve shown it so far in this tournament, and we just have to keep doing what we’re doing, and we’ll see how far it takes us. But we definitely believe here, we hope that people continue to believe at home.”

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