Orange County Soccer Club defender Kobi Henry is ready to make his move.
The USL club has transferred Henry, 18, to Stade de Reims in France’s Ligue 1. ESPN reported that the fee “is around” $700,000 and Orange County SC will also receive a percentage fee of any future transfer of Henry by the French club.
Orange County Soccer Club president of soccer operations Oliver Wyss didn’t confirm the amount, but did say it was a “record-breaking transfer into a Top 5 club in Europe.”
“We are convinced that Kobi Henry will have a very long career in Europe,” Wyss said of the Florida native. “And not only have multiple transfers, but also make a difference for the U.S. national team. We’re going to miss him dearly, but he’s earned everything he’s getting now.
“We had a clear plan set out two years ago when you joined Orange County Soccer Club and I think everything worked out perfectly.”
Henry joined Orange County in 2020 after time in the MLS academies in Florida. However, without a path to becoming a professional, he made the move to Orange County.
“I was drawn to Orange County because of the plan they had set out for me from Day 1,” Henry said. “I was welcomed with open arms and I was very happy with the staff, team and they had a plan for me to develop through the USL and eventually make a move abroad when I was ready. I went there and worked hard every day and I was able to make my move.
“When I came across the country to play for Orange County, I knew that if I put in the work and followed the plan the coaches laid out for me, I would have the opportunity to play in Europe.”
Orange County has been committed to developing and transferring players to Europe. Henry is the fourth player Orange County SC has moved onto Europe. Most recently, forward Ronaldo Damus was transferred to GIF Sundsvall in the Swedish first division.
Henry has made 30 appearances for Orange County SC. He recently was called into the U.S. U-19 team for a trip to Europe for games against England and Norway.
“I’ve learned a lot being at Orange County,” Henry said. “Being in the USL has helped me develop a lot and gain maturity on and off the field. I think something that they really stress at Orange County is having respect throughout the club and making sure that you work hard. Nothing is handed to you and at the club you’re given a platform to do what you need to do, but it is really up to you to show the staff, coaches that you can perform and that you really want it.”
Stade de Reims finished 12th in Ligue 1 last season.