Rhode Island FC has acquired forward JJ Williams via transfer from Rhode Island FC, adding another marquee player for the 2024 expansion club. | Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Rhode Island FC announced on Monday the club had acquired forward JJ Williams via transfer from fellow USL Championship club the Tampa Bay Rowdies ahead of its arrival in the league for the 2024 season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
Williams was introduced to the club’s fans at its Kit Reveal Party on Monday night, with the 25-year-old coming off a career-best campaign in which he recorded 12 goals and nine assists for Tampa Bay. Williams has previously competed in both Major League Soccer for Atlanta United FC and Columbus Crew SC while also competing in the Championship for Birmingham Legion FC, where he played for current RIFC Head Coach Khano Smith.
“JJ has showcased throughout his time in the USL Championship that he is capable of scoring goals in key moments, making him a valuable addition to our growing roster,” said Smith. “JJ is a goal threat whenever he is on the pitch and will provide a point of reference for our attack.”
“It is an incredible feeling to join Rhode Island FC on such an exciting day for the club,” added Williams. “Meeting Rhode Island FC fans tonight at the kit reveal made me even more excited to start working alongside my Rhode Island FC teammates to make our inaugural season one that all of Rhode Island can be proud of.”
JJ Williams’ acquisition by Rhode Island FC from the Tampa Bay Rowdies is another signature move for the club as it builds toward its inaugural season in the USL Championship. The 6-foot-4 forward has recorded 36 goals in 119 appearances in the Championship’s regular season so far in his career, including a career-year with Tampa Bay this past campaign.
In addition to his finishing for Tampa Bay, however, what shone through was Williams’ creativity and ability to set up teammates. His hold-up play as the central attacker in the Rowdies’ attack saw him team up brilliantly with Charlie Dennis and Cal Jennings, and you could argue that Williams was also deserving of All-League selection alongside his teammates. His combined 21 goals and assists was tied for fourth-most in the league’s regular season.
With Prince Saydee as one of his confirmed running mates, that sort of chemistry could come to the fore for RIFC in its first campaign in which Williams figures to have a starring role.