J.J. Williams returns to Birmingham Legion FC on loan from Atlanta United FC following a 2019 season with the club that saw him record seven goals as the side reached the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs. | Photo courtesy Birmingham Legion FC
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Birmingham Legion FC announced on Thursday the acquisition of forward JJ Williams on loan from Major League Soccer club Atlanta United FC for the remainder of the season. Williams previously competed for Legion FC on loan from Columbus Crew SC during the 2019 season, and spent the 2020 preseason in Birmingham, before being signed by Atlanta on March 5, 2020.
“We are excited to add JJ at this critical time during the season,” said Legion FC President and General Manager Jay Heaps. “He brings a winning presence to the locker room, and we look forward to the lift that can bring the team.”
Williams made 23 appearances for Legion FC last season while on loan from Columbus. The forward was joint-first in goals scored (seven), third in shots (41), and eighth in chances created (15) in the regular season. Additionally, he scored the winning goal in Legion FC’s 3-2 win over North Carolina FC in the play-in round of the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs.
The 22-year-old was selected by Crew SC in the first round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft and went on to make seven appearances (three starts) for the club last season. Before being drafted, Williams played three seasons (2016-2018) at the University of Kentucky, and made 57 appearances (30 starts), scored 24 goals and provided 15 assists. He was a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, a First-Team All-American, and the Conference USA Player of the Year in 2018.
While he grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, Williams spent his club career playing in Birmingham for Vestavia FC and was the 2016 Alabama High School Player of the Year playing at Alabama Christian Academy. He played in USL League Two for the local Birmingham Hammers, as well as Reading United and the Dayton Dutch Lions.