We said this week would see a lot of player movement in MLS. This morning, New York City FC made their first move, landing defender Josh Williams from Columbus Crew SC in exchange for allocation money. The club made the announcement via news release.
"Having versatile players like Josh is very important", said Jason Kreis in the release. "Josh could realistically play a number of positions along the back line. When you’re building a new roster this is a real benefit for a coach."
"I've seen Josh play many times and have been very impressed with his work rate and ability to play at both ends of the pitch. He is an attacking defender but also has a great defensive instinct. It's very important to have balance in the roster and have defenders that can play in different styles. This signing gives us a real boost heading into the expansion draft later in the week."
For his part, the Buckeye native sounded plenty enthused about playing for New York City.
"This is a huge moment in my career," said the 26-year-old defender. "I’ve been with Columbus for four seasons and have loved my time there. Columbus was the team I watched while growing up, but to have the opportunity to take on a new challenge at New York City FC is very special and I consider it a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Williams made 71 appearances for the Crew over the last four years. He offers the club potent combination of strength, versatility, and stamina on the back line, having played right back, left back, and center back. According to Williams, he is primed for the challenge, and ready to get to work.
"Fitness level is an important part of my game. I’ve played against Real Salt Lake when Jason was the coach and have a huge amount of respect for the way his teams play. He has a history of playing with outside backs so hopefully I’ll fit well into the system the coach may decide to play."
"The inaugural season is fast approaching and the roster so far looks fantastic. I’m looking forward to bringing my MLS experience to the group and also learning from the other players and coaching staff."
Williams is the third defender to join the club, joining Jeb Brovsky and Kwame Watson-Siriboe on the back line.
Before becoming a professional in Major League Soccer, Williams played NCAA soccer for Cleveland State for four years. His play at CSU garnered enough notice for him to play in the Premier Development League, and it earned him a tryout with the Crew. He played in three exhibition matches with the Crew before signing with them in 2010. Over the last two seasons, he had 41 appearances, with 3 goals and 1 assist, before being sidelined with illness in the summer. He returned in time for the postseason.