Jan-Michael Williams Returns To Wanderers In Coaching Role
For the first time ever, a Canadian Premier League player has retired and moved on to a coaching role within the league.
Today, the Halifax Wanderers announced that 35-year-old goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams will be returning to the CPL side as the club’s new goalkeeping coach, effectively filling the void left by departing assistant coach Michael Hunter.
Last month, Halifax Wanderers Club President Derek Martin revealed that the club was in advanced discussions with the goalkeeper to make the coaching move happen, though things had been silent regarding the matter since.
Williams – who saw a 17-year-long playing career take him from his native country to Belgium, Hungry, Honduras, Guatemala, and lastly Canada – says he’s eager to begin working in his newfound role.
I’m excited to come back. I’ve said from the beginning with the entire set up at the Wanderers Grounds, our pitch and the management and staff, that we have the potential to be the best team in the CPL. The people in Halifax are fantastic and anything I can do outside football to help the community I will. As a coach I’m going to be heavy on respect and heavy on discipline because all top players have those qualities.Jan-Michael Williams
The rise of young Halifax local Christian Oxner meant that the east coast club now has a domestic player as its first-choice goalkeeper, with Martin stating that the club simply couldn’t justify using an international roster spot on a secondary goalkeeper.
Williams’ professionalism after having lost the starting spot impressed Martin, and so the club sought to see him back in a coaching role. Head coach Stephen Hart, unsurprisingly, agreed with the decision to have the veteran international train the club’s goalkeepers going forward.
Jan was a huge support for Christian last season and they have a great working relationship. We’re happy to have him back within the structure of the team, albeit in a different role.Stephen Hart
It’s not yet known who will be the club’s second-choice goalkeeper, but the club will need to source out a suitable candidate in the next few months. To that end, the east coast club also teased that more player signing announcements would arrive before Christmas.
Derek Martin recently tweeted that the club was close to finalizing all of its returning players, suggesting that a few more additions will made to the six players it has re-signed so far. The club has also brought in some new blood through former U SPORTS and CCAA athletes.
While his last season as a professional player may not have ultimately unfolded as he would have wished, Williams proved popular with both fans, players, and staff alike. With the Wanderers shot-callers evidently happy with his ability to take on a coaching role, it’ll be interesting to see how 23-year-old goalkeeper Christian Oxner continues to develop under Coach Williams.
Source: Canadian Premier League