24 Under 24: #18 Sheanon Williams, Philadelphia Union

24 Under 24 (2012): #18 Sheanon Williams (IMAGE)

Photo Credit: 
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

18. Sheanon Williams

Pos: D | Philadelphia Union | Age: 22

Despite his age, Williams has emerged as one of the Union’s team leaders, doing it by example on the field. His tireless runs up and down the right flank and his willingness to play wherever he’s asked are the most outward signs of his commitment to the team. After a turbulent start to his life as a pro, Williams has been hell-bent on not letting the opportunity with the Union slip by, and he was rewarded by the club with a new long-term contract to start the year. The Union expect him to be a pillar for years to come.

What the TDs and coaches like: “Sheanon’s the new-age right back. A guy that can go from 18 to 18 and run for days … He’s a competitive kid. I love his story, I love the background of where he’s come from which shows a lot of character … He has all the qualities to be a very successful right back in our league … Competitor with good speed, decent athleticism and fair tactical awareness ... He's proficient in lots of areas and playing against him is not an easy time … If he continues to grow and mature in the game, he could quite possibly be a guy that’s called in for national team duty … The biggest improvement I’ve seen in him is positionally: He’s excellent and on the ball going forward I think he’s excellent also … With midfields in MLS increasingly compact, there’s a lot of space on the outside for wide backs like Williams to attack … He's a real competitor and he’s good at going box-to-box … He’s got tremendous pace … He’s progressed really, really well … He may go on to play international football, so he’s most certainly on the right track.”

Where the TDs and coaches want improvement: “I think he’s still learning how to be a top-level defender, physically. But he certainly has all the tools to be a very successful defender in our league … He still needs to polish up both ends of his game as well, but there are a lot of great things coming out of him … Sometimes he exposes himself by going too far forward and exposing his team defensively wide. I think he's definitely got a future in the game.”

Opta Says: Only two players under 24 this year have more successful open-play crosses than Sheanon Williams’ 13 (Ashtone Morgan – 20, Andy Najar – 14).

Tale of the Tape
Last Year in 24U24: N/A
Fan Ranking: #29
Castrol Index (as of 9/11/12): #154

2012 Stats
Matches played: 22
Matches started: 22
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

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