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Tampa Bay brings aboard JJ Williams for new season

By Staff, 01/11/23, 11:00AM EST


Veteran forward has recorded 25 goals in 92 appearances in Championship career

The Tampa Bay Rowdies have signed forward JJ Williams ahead of the 2023 USL Championship season. | Photo courtesy Phoenix Rising FC

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on Wednesday the club had signed forward JJ Williams for the upcoming 2023 USL Championship season. The signing is pending league and federation approval.

“There are a couple of clubs that are in USL headlines every week and the Rowdies are always one of them,” said Williams. “Being someone who has played against the Rowdies a bunch of times, I’ve definitely witnessed the winning atmosphere they have.

“I was looking for somewhere that’s going to make me better at the end of the day. That was a really big selling point for me because I’m somebody that wants to continue to grow and get better and evolve my game, change my game. [Rowdies Head Coach] Neill, [Assistant Coach] Jon Stead, and this organization can really give me some of the tools to take my game to the next level and I’m excited to be doing that in Green and Gold.” 

Williams joins the Rowdies having split the 2022 Championship season with FC Tulsa and Phoenix Rising FC. His season started brightly in Tulsa with nine goals in 22 appearances before a transfer in late July sent the attacker out west to Phoenix, where he added another three goals to his tally on the year.

“What JJ brings first and foremost is the ability to put the ball in the net,” said Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins. “He scored 12 goals in the league last year. I don’t think he’s been utilized in the number nine as often as he’d like. I think that’s where we see him playing. He’s very good in both boxes and in the air. He can score with both feet and everyone I’ve spoken to who have watched him say he is a very hard worker, which is quite clearly what we need from our front players. I’m really excited to work with him, and we’re delighted to bring him here.”

Prior to signing with Tulsa at the start of last year, Williams was a member of Birmingham Legion FC, first as a loanee from Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew in 2019 and Atlanta United in 2020. The 25-year-old striker then signed with Birmingham in 2021. He ended his tenure with Legion FC having made more than 50 appearances and notched 12 goals.

Williams played three seasons of college soccer at the University of Kentucky before being drafted by Columbus in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. He also gained playing time during his college years in USL League Two, competing for both Reading United AC and the Dayton Dutch Lions. 

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