JJ Williams - Columbus Crew SC - close-up


Atlanta United made officially Monday morning the acquisition of forward JJ Williams, who was previously on loan with Birmingham Legion FC of the USL Championship.

Williams, 22, was waived by Columbus Crew SC last month and was a Generation adidas signing prior to the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

“JJ is someone that had been on our radar over the offseason and we’re pleased to add him to our roster,” Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “He is coming off a strong season with Birmingham and will provide additional competition to our attack.”

The signing arose after star forward Josef Martinez went down Feb. 29 with a torn ACL in his right knee, prompting a long-term absence. The Five Stripes had Adam Jahn, a former Columbus and San Jose striker, on the depth chart, but little beyond that. Martinez had been a revelation since signing for Atlanta in 2017, netting 82 goals in 93 total MLS appearances.

Williams made seven appearances (three starts) for Columbus last year, though didn’t score or assist. He recorded 23 appearances while on loan for Birmingham, where he finished joint-first in goals scored (seven).

Before entering MLS as the No. 18 overall selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, Williams played three seasons at the University of Kentucky. He was a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, a First-Team All-American and the Conference USA Player of the Year in 2018.