The first Wanderers player to captain the team in the Canadian Premier League is coming back to the club as a member of Stephen Hart’s coaching staff.
Jan-Michael Williams, who has made 81 appearances for Trinidad and Tobago’s national team, will be the club’s goalkeeper coach for the 2020 season.
Williams made 12 starts for the Wanderers last season, including backstopping the team to it’s first ever win in the home opener against Forge.
Now 35, the lively Trini who has played around the world, will be leading from the dugout after retiring as a player following a memorable career between the sticks.
“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,” Williams said.
After playing in his home country in addition to Belgium, Hungary, Honduras and Guatemala, the vastly experienced Williams will now work closely with the Wanderers first signing to be announced for next season, Christian Oxner.
“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,” said coach Stephen Hart.
The former Soca Warriors keeper said ‘The Ox’ has proved he has a future in the professional game and is determined to help him continue to get better as a keeper.
“Christian put in some really good performances and I think within a year or two he should be knocking on the door of the national team,” Williams said. “He’s like a sponge because he absorbs all the knowledge and information and tries to process it, he really wants to learn.”
It was an injury to Williams that led to Oxner getting a run in goal for the Wanderers last season.
The Halifax-born keeper went on to establish himself as a top class CPL performer in his first year as a pro, with Williams guiding him in training and encouraging him from the sidelines.
“I’m extremely happy. This gives us some continuity. Jan has a great relationship with the players which will be important off the field as well and in the community where he was a fan favourite,” Hart said.
The Wanderers would like to officially thank Michael Hunter, a member of our 2019 coaching staff, for his contributions to our inaugural season and wish him well as he returns to the private sector.
Williams said he’s keen to get started on the next chapter in his career and is thrilled it’s happening in Halifax.
“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,” Williams added.
Now coming back as a coach, the big keeper is one of seven returning players from the club’s first season in the Canadian Premier League.
He’s part of the team’s Trinidad and Tobago quintet along with head coach Stephen Hart, assistant coach Derek King and players Akeem Garcia and Andre Rampersad.
The club are planning a few more signing announcements in the run up to Christmas as the 2020 squad starts to take shape.