irvine, california Orange County SC announced Thursday that the club has signed defender Joey Buckley to his first professional contract ahead of the 2023 USL Championship season. As a graduate of the Barcelona Residency Academy, Buckley will be his third to join the club, after United States U-19 international Corredhe Osandina and forward Bryce Jamison.
“I signed with Orange County because they are a respected organization and a club that will guide me as I begin my professional career,” said Buckley. I look forward to helping the team return to the top of the league and grow not only as players but as people. ”
The 17-year-old aims to follow in the footsteps of former Orange County standouts Kobi Henry and Ronaldo Damus and use OCSC as a ‘starting point’ for their careers. Henry and Damus are two of his four players to have played for Orange County SC in the USL Championship.
OCSC General Manager and President of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyeth said: “Joey has a tremendous future ahead of him and we look forward to watching him grow as a player and as a person in our professional environment!”
Originally from Westwood, Massachusetts, Buckley spent four years at Phoenix’s Barca Academy. Twice he was called up to the United States Youth National Team’s regional identification camp. While at Phoenix, his play was so impressive that he received a training invitation from Barcelona’s renowned academy, La Masia, in the Catalan capital. Upon arriving in Spain, Buckley trained with the Under-18 team ‘Juvenile B’ at La Masia.
Ged Quinn, Director of the Barcelona Residency Academy, said: “After four seasons with us, it was great to see him grow and mature as a player as he progressed from the U15 to the U19 squad. He has developed into one of the outside backs and will be a great addition to OC as they enter the 2023 season.”