Joshua Wynder is a 17-year-old centre-back who plays for Louisville City F.C in USL. Wynder is a graduate of Louisville’s academy. He made his debut in 2021 and has broken through as a fairly regular starter in 2022. Wynder has 5 caps for the US National Team at the U-19 level. Although he is still rough around the edges he is probably the best prospect in the USL currently and is reportedly drawing interest from teams in MLS and in Europe.
The main thing that makes Wynder attractive is his technical quality. He is a fantastic passer, great at breaking the first line of an opposition defence. He can play mid-range passes into the feet of midfielders and also play longer-range passes in behind defences or out to the wings. Having Wynder’s passing range at the back just makes Louisville even more dangerous in attack. Wynder is also very smooth on the ball, capable of carrying the ball out of the back. His dribbling isn’t quite on the level of his passing but he is capable of stepping around a player and his first touch is very solid.
But this technical skill comes with a price, at least at this point in Wynder’s career. He is not so great at the actual defending part of being a defender. I think most of Wynder’s problems stem from the fact that his a teenager playing against men. Wynder is 6’0 which is not small but also not huge for a centre-back. He also has a very slim frame, which is normal since he only turned 17 in May of this year, but it is a bit of a hindrance to him at the moment. He is mediocre in aerial duels and he is not always the most convincing tackler. His defensive positioning is usually pretty good but he often lacks the strength to muscle someone off the ball cleanly. He is also sometimes a bit slow to close players down. But these are all things that ought to improve with getting older, stronger, and more experienced.
I do not think Wynder is ready for a step up in competition just yet, as USL is still giving him challenges. But he is at the point where bigger teams might want to think about buying him and then loaning him back to Louisville for a year or two. I think in the long term I think he has the potential to play in a top-five league, though that is contingent on him improving on some of the serious weaknesses he still has.