GLENDALE, Ariz. — His goal, in his words, relieved a lot of pressure on Jamaica’s defense, and was what he was supposed to provide as a striker.
As serious as that sounds, Romario Williams is having fun at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and translating his play with the USL’s Charleston Battery onto the international scene. He scored what proved to be the winner in the second half of Jamaica's 2-1 victory over Canada on Wednesday, and now the Reggae Boyz are through to the semifinals.
Some observers might not expect a player plying his trade in a lower division to make such an impact in a game with so much at stake, but Williams' strong belief in himself is a key ingredient to his success.
“I have a lot of confidence in my ability. I know what I’m capable of as a player, whether it’s in MLS, whether it’s in USL, whether’s it’s for the Jamaican national team,” said Williams, who is on loan to Charleston from Atlanta United. “As a player, all you want is a chance to show what you can do and prove your worth, and for me, it’s been a good year so far. I’ve been getting a lot of support from my teammates, wherever that is.”
Williams, only 22 years old, is certainly making a case to be noticed by Atlanta. In addition to coming through for Jamaica, his 14 goals in the USL are by far the most on the Battery this season and he has also started 14 matches.
“Playing time is what you need as a player in order to improve, especially as a young player,” Williams said. “It’s been going well for me so far and I think I’ve grown as a player, and hopefully better things lie ahead.”
Williams was asked if he thinks he should be in MLS currently.
“I don’t even think about that stuff,” he said.
Williams is not a solitary case. Jamaica are loaded with MLS and USL players, and head coach Theodore Whitmore believes his side was more experienced when it made the Gold Cup final in 2015, as opposed to today's team.
Williams is considered part of the future of the national team, but is also part of the present. Thursday's game highlighted that.
“We look at Romario game by game. He keeps improving. That’s what we need from Romario," said Whitmore. "He can always give more. We demand more from Romario, but I’m happy with where he’s at right now.”