The long-speculated transfer to Benfica has been made official. Following in the footsteps of his former teammate, Jonathan Gomez, 18-year-old Joshua Wynder, is off to Europe to further his development and hopefully earn his spot in future USMNT rosters. Josh becomes the first Louisville City Academy player to test his mettle across the Atlantic. Wynder is expected to ease into his new surroundings playing for Benfica B, the club’s reserve squad in the second division Liga Portugal 2. Benfica paid an undisclosed seven-figure transfer fee for his services and can be formally registered as a Benfica player on July 1st when the transfer window opens.
“I’m very grateful to Louisville City for everything the club has done for me,” Wynder said. “It’s a dream come true to sign with Benfica, and I can’t wait to get started there. Although my career’s taking me overseas, I’ll always be proud of where I’m from and represent Louisville to the best of my ability.”
“This is a proud moment for Louisville City, our youth academy, and our community,” said head coach Danny Cruz. “We are going to miss seeing Josh in the locker room each day, but I could not be more proud of the path that he is on in his career. The type of person he is continues to stand out to me, and we look forward to watching him reach new heights to also become the best player he can be.”
“We are really proud of Josh and how much he has developed over the last few years,” said Mike Gartlan, Wynder’s agent and partner at ProSport Management. “The priority for Josh’s next step was always to find a club that would help him to continue to develop as a person and player. It was a pleasure working with a like-minded club in Louisville to find a good fit for his next move. Benfica came with a great plan and their experience in developing young talent is second to none. Josh’s future is bright, and we are excited to see where he goes from here.”
Josh is the younger brother of LouCity’s first academy signing, Elijah. Josh signed an academy deal in early 2021 and made his pro debut in July of that same year. He has since become a regular fixture of the Louisville back line as well as various levels of the US Youth National Team (as well as a senior team camp invite).
“This transfer is a testament to the work that Joshua Wynder and Louisville City FC have put in over several years, and it shows what the USL’s developmental pathway can achieve,” said USL Championship President Jeremy Alumbaugh. “Josh came up through his local club – from USL Academy player, to first team starter, to youth national team captain, to a senior men’s national team call-up, and now to a top European club. We expect more and more players across the country to emulate Josh’s trajectory and maximize the opportunities that USL provides.”
What a massive moment for both Josh and the club. Josh’s hard work has paid off and now he is off to play in some of the most competitive environments in the world. Europe is the dream for most players and he has earned this transfer at such a young age. The sky is the limit for this rising star. As for LouCity, the club has sent yet another talent overseas as they continue to showcase themselves as one of the USL’s top exporters of talent. The fact that Josh is a homegrown talent makes this all the more special. Born and raised in Louisville and now he is off to play with the world’s best at just 18 years old.
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