U.S. youth international Kobi Henry signs for Ligue 1 club Reims

U.S. youth international defender Kobi Henry has been transferred to Stade de Reims of Ligue 1 from USL Championship side Orange County SC, the clubs confirmed Tuesday.

A source with knowledge of the deal told ESPN that the transfer fee is around $700,000, which would make it the largest fee in USL history. The previous record for an initial transfer fee was set earlier this month when Locomotive FC midfielder Diego Luna was moved to Real Salt Lake for $250,000. The sources added that Orange County will receive a percentage of any future transfer fee should Reims move Henry at a later date, which could push the total fee past $1m.

"I think what it shows is that we set a new standard for talented players coming through the USL ecosystem," Orange County president of soccer operations and general manager Oliver Wyss said. [Players in USL] truly have the ability to play on the next level in Europe.

"Kobi's a special player. He's our fourth player that we have transferred now in the last two years to a European club. The difference is here is that he's going for a significant transfer. More importantly, we wanted [him to go] to a club where he actually has a chance to play. If you look at Stade de Reims, it's one of the youngest team in Europe and is notorious for playing young players and moving them on for big moves."

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After receiving a callup to a training camp for the U.S. men's national team in December, Henry went on trial at Reims the following month. He impressed during that spell, but he had to wait until his 18th birthday -- which took place on April 26 -- before signing a permanent deal.

The Lakeland, Florida, native was part of the Florida Rush academy and later spent time in the systems of both Orlando City and Inter Miami. With no apparent path forward at either MLS side, Henry signed his first professional contract with Orange County in the summer of 2020. He has gone to make 30 league and cup appearances for the club, including 19 during Orange County's run to the league title in the USL Championship.

"Orange County has really been a great part in allowing me to realize what team I want to go to and I really believe that this is a great fit for me," Henry said. "The club really develops young talent and pushes young players onwards to the first team to try and get their opportunities and showcase themselves to hopefully go on to a different club after that."

At international level, Henry has played for both the U.S. U-17 and U-20 national teams. Earlier this month, he was part of the U.S. U-19 squad that played a pair of friendlies against England and Norway.

"I'm very grateful to continued to be getting called into the national team camps and to play and represent my country at that level," Henry said. "I'm just grateful that it continued to give me opportunity and hopefully I can continue to perform."

ESPN's Kyle Bonagura contributed to this report.