JJ Williams - Coaching Staff - SuperDraft - 1.11.19

TRANSCRIPTION | 2019 MLS SuperDraft Interviews

CALEB PORTER - HEAD COACH

On what forward JJ Williams will bring to the club

“He is a big boy – you saw him on the clips. We have scouted him extensively. We did not expect a GA (Generation Adidas) striker that scored 18 goals to be around at that pick. We were certainly pleased that he was. He fits a need. We targeted a couple of positions where we needed some depth and we liked his profile. We do not have a target striker, a guy that can play with his back to goal and get on the end of stuff. He is a beast in the air, he is young and he does not count on the roster. So it’s a great pick for us.”

On having Crew SC supporters in Chicago for the SuperDraft

“It just reminds me every day why I came to the Crew. To see the passion of the supporters, the fact that they got on a bus at 5 a.m., I heard, and drove all of the way here to be a part of this. I think they are cherishing every moment, just like I am. It was great to see them, it was great to talk to them and it will be even better on March 2nd.”

CREW SC FORWARD JJ WILLIAMS

On what the draft experience has been like for him

“It is an amazing experience. It is one of those things to where it is a little nerve-wracking when you are in the seats now because you do not know what is going on behind the scenes. It is unpredictable, you do not know where you are going to go. I am really blessed to be a part of the Columbus Crew and come in and making something special. I think that we can do something really special in Columbus. I am thankful for that whole process. From the MLS standpoint, they provided a great experience for us this week with the combine, and they gave us all of this – really thankful for that. Just excited to be going into the league.”

On what led to his decision to play soccer rather than football

“It was kind of easy actually. Soccer is something that I started at a young age. My family got me into it and my brothers, and then (trainer) Katrina (Wilson), really got me into it. They supported me along the whole way, right from the beginning. The first night that I ever played I had two goals and it was just one of those things where success came. I fell in love with it, to where my dad wanted me to play basketball for the longest time – he is still mad about it. But really it is just the fact that whenever you fall in love with the game, whenever you fall in love with the process, going to work and things like that, that is what kept me going. That is what made my decision easy, and obviously, it is the success that I had later on.”

On what he can bring to Crew SC

“Hopefully, I can bring a lot of goals. Not even goals, hopefully I can bring something that can just impact the team, that makes a difference and that give us the best opportunity as a team to win. That is the main thing I am worried about; making sure that the club does well, making sure the team does well and making sure my teammates do well because that is what really matters to me. It is amazing hearing the fans cheer. You can only imagine that. That is a few fans waiting until you get into the stadium, waiting until you score a goal, waiting until you do whatever and then you are celebrating with them. That just goes to show how amazing Columbus is and what they have to offer as a fan standpoint, as an organization standpoint. I am just excited to get started.”

CREW SC PRESIDENT TIM BEZBATCHENKO

On forward JJ Williams brings to the roster

“Obviously, size. If you have seen him, he is massive. He can score goals. He can bang in goals. At Kentucky, he has proved that he can score 18 goals, which is impressive to do in a season that is limited and is short. Obviously, (Forward Gyasi) Zardes is gone for part of preseason and then potentially part of the summer, so we need a little bit more depth up top. The kid has a great attitude and he is ready to compete. You heard him speak at the draft, he is really excited to join Columbus. Just feel like if he can get over that gap – there is still a gap between the college and the pro game – but I think he can do that. If he does, then he can make an impact and that is a good thing for us.”

On having Crew SC supporters in Chicago for the SuperDraft

“It was fantastic. We out-numbered everyone in this room. The supporters were just filed in, they were cheering. They gave energy to the draft floor. Obviously, when JJ got picked they were loud and boisterous and he gave them a shout out. It was a great event for Columbus today. I think again it just carries this momentum that we had at the press conference the other day and it proves that we have the best fans in the league.”

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