Seventeen-year-old Barca Residency Academy defender Joseph Buckley has signed his first professional contract with 2021 USL Champions, Orange County Soccer Club (OCSC).
“I am beyond excited to join Orange County, I have been working towards this as long as I have been playing,” said Buckley. “This is a huge milestone for me and at the same time, I know this is just the start of another amazing journey that I will enjoy and share with the people close to me.”
The Westwood, Massachusetts native has spent the past four years at Barca Residency Academy where he has consistently been a top performer for the club. During his time at the Academy, Buckley has twice been called into U.S. Youth National Team regional identification camps. Last season, he helped Barca’s U-19 MLS Next squad win the Southwest Division and secure a 2022 MLS Next Cup Playoff berth. Most recently, Buckley’s impressive play earned him an invitation to trial and train at La Masia, FC Barcelona’s famed academy in Barcelona, Spain.
“We are extremely proud of Joey as he signs his first professional contract with Orange County SC,” said Barca Residency Academy Director Ged Quinn. “After being with us for four seasons, we have had the pleasure of seeing him grow and mature as a player as he progressed from our U15 through to our U19 teams. He has developed into one of the top outside backs in the country and will be a great addition for OC as they enter into the 2023 season. We will certainly miss having Joey on campus but we are excited for him and the opportunity he has in front of him. We look forward to tracking Joey’s continued success within the USL Championship with Orange County SC.”
Buckley is the third Barca Residency Academy graduate to sign with Orange County SC, following in the footsteps of his former teammates Bryce Jamison and U-19 USMNT captain Korede Osundina. Buckley also becomes the seventeenth Barca Residency Academy player to sign a professional contract and go directly to the pros from the Academy.
“Joey is an exciting prospect that we have tracked for some time,” OCSC Sporting Director Peter Nugent said. “He is a tenacious defender and has all the attributes we look for in a young player. Joey is tremendously driven and will fit in perfectly with our current group of young talents.”
Buckley will join Orange County SC for preseason training, the team will kick off the 2023 USL Championship regular season on March 11 when they host Louisville City SC.