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Player countdown: Andy Williams

How it all came to be...
Andy Williams, like most young boys, looked up to his father, Bobby Williams growing up in a world of sports. Williams initially preferred tennis to football, but eventually realized that soccer was in his blood. After being shown pictures of his dad, an outstanding player for the Jamaican national football team in the '60s, the youngster set out to follow in his footsteps. Now, Andy Williams is one of Jamaica's most talented and experienced players.

Born in Toronto Canada, Williams grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and started playing soccer at the age of six at Mona Preparatory School in the natives capital. Williams's talent continued to develop each year. At age ten, he was the youngest member of the U-12 all-star team that went to the Miami Classic, a prestigious annual tournament. He went on to play for St. George's College where he was a standout on the school's Manning Cup team.

While attending his father's former high school, Williams began making a name for himself. The St. George's College had enjoyed a great tradition of being a powerhouse in soccer, but when Williams came along, the team was struggling. Williams was determined to bring the tradition and the spirit back, and he did just that. In the three years that Williams attended St. George's College, he led his team to three League Championships and a number of other titles and awards.

After three years in high school and accomplishing all of his goals up to that point, Williams left high school a year early at the age of 16. He did not want to go back but could not find an American university that would take him in. Finally, the University of Rhode Island agreed to let him attend and play soccer. Williams excelled at the University of Rhode Island where he became the University's all-time leading scorer, with 52 goals and 45 assists. He was subsequently voted to the Soccer America Collegiate team of the decade, honoring the top eleven college players of the 1990s.

Andy's club career has seen him ply his trade in both Jamaica and the United States. In Jamaica he has turned out for Real Mona, a club in Jamaica's lower division and National Premier League outfit, Harbour View FC.

He was named Jamaica's MVP while representing the "Reggae Boyz" Under-17 team in a 'Whiz' tournament against teams from countries such as Brazil and Italy. He was a member of the Jamaican Under-23 team that took part in the Pan American games in Winnipeg, Canada. He also captained the Olympic squad in Mexico. Williams, nicknamed the 'Bomber' because of his explosive long range shooting, has been a member of the Jamaican squad since 1996. He was initially used as a forward before being moved into the midfield because of an injured teammate.

Before the 1998 World Cup in March, Williams was signed by the Columbus Crew. A proud Williams was the first Jamaican National Team member to sign a contract with Major League Soccer. With the Crew, Williams led Columbus with 12 assists and set an MLS record by recording an assist in seven consecutive games. He missed part of the season to participate in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, but returned in time for the playoffs where he added four more assists in four games before the team was eliminated by D.C. United.

The next season, Williams started 11 of his 21 regular season matches with the Crew, compiling three points, all on assists. In 2000, Williams was acquired by the Miami Fusion via trade with Columbus Crew in exchange for First Round 2000 MLS SuperDraft pick. Williams became the heart of the Fusion midfield, recording 12 points in 20 games and scoring a career high four goals to go along with his four assists in 1,297 minutes of play. On the move again, Williams was picked up by the New England Revolution via 2001 MLS Waiver Draft on March 29, 2001. Williams was named the team's MVP for his strong play in the team's midfield and recorded 13 points in 20 games in his first season with the Revolution. The 2002 season brought another team transition for Williams. He split time between New England and the MetroStars after being dealt to the MetroStars in a six-player deal on May 24, 2002. He had two assists in five games for the Revolution before heading to Giants Stadium where he had two goals and a career-high 13 assists for 17 points- a personal single season high that he tied this past season. At the end of the season Williams headed for the Windy City.

The Chicago Fire obtained Williams via trade with MetroStars in exchange for 2004 MLS conditional draft pick. For the Fire, Williams scored two goals and added a team-high seven assists for 11 points. He continued his strong play in the postseason as he recorded a goal and an assist for the Fire- winning the Eastern Conference Championship. Williams proved to be one of the few sparks in the Fire's offensive attack during the 2004 season and he picked up where he left off in 2003 by leading the Fire in assists once again. The Jamaican playmaker's 17 points on four goals and nine assists tied a career-high.

After the 2004 season, Williams was placed on the expansion list and Head Coach John Ellinger was quick to pick him up. He was selected in the First Round (Second overall) of the 2004 MLS Expansion Draft by Real Salt Lake. Williams' family loves Salt Lake City. "The city is quiet and beautiful," He explains. "The fans are great and the community has really made it a great place for Major League Soccer."

Coach Ellinger's Call...
"Andy is in a class by himself. He has a great mentality on the field and his technical ability allows him to get out of tight spaces and create chances for us. He reads the game well and he does an excellent job running our midfield for us. I can't believe that he's been on so many different teams in the past because I would have got him and kept him. He consistently records goals and assists."

Field Vision: Forward Clint Mathis says...
"Andy is a very creative player when the ball is at his feet. He is very deceiving when he dribbles because you don't think he can do the things he can do and then he is by you. He is a veteran of this league and works hard every day."

Things you need to know...

Nickname:
Bomma (Bomber)

Hobbies:
Spending time with family

Major in college:
Business Management

Most memorable moments:
Seeing my wife for the very first time

Favorite music:
Reggae

Favorite movie:
The Hunt for Red October

Favorite food:
Wife's cooking

Favorite book:
Tailor of Panama by John Le Carre

Favorite TV show:
24

Wife's name:
Marcia Karyo

Kids' names/ages:
Shai-Ann, 11, Jordan, 8 and Alexia, 2

Favorite athlete outside of soccer:
Allen Iverson

Greatest accomplishments:
Playing in the 1998 World Cup

Charities/causes:
Make-a-Wish Foundation

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