In the aftermath of the Sebastien Le Toux trade Union coach Peter Nowak sought to mitigate fan backlash by explaining the club would not sit on the money originally earmarked for the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. Instead, he insisted the Union would reinvest those funds on younger players already in the fold.
True to his word, today the Union announced that starting right back Sheanon Williams had agreed to a new deal. Per league policy, terms were not disclosed. The fact that the club identified Williams as a player they’d like to retain does not come as a surprise. In a conference call following the Le Toux trade Nowak specifically identified Williams as a player who had earned a new contract.
In truth, the process of reallocating Le Toux’s money began last month when the Union secured the permanent transfer of midfielder Roger Torres from Colombian club América de Cali. Torres, who is 20 years old, and Williams, who is 21, figure to be franchise cornerstones.
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Williams, who joined the Union from the USL Harrisburg City Islanders in August 2010, is a key part of the Union back four. Ideally, he’d be a bit more consistent in his marking, but his pace and tireless running along the right flank is invaluable. Truth be told, his work rate was often overshadowed by Le Toux, but I’d venture to say that along with Brian Caroll he likely covers more ground than any other Union player.
The biggest upside of the deal is, actually, Williams’ upside. By no means is he a finished product. He has both the time and room to improve his game. Initially known more for his long throw-ins than his technique, he’s developed into a player who is capable of and confident in initiating the build-up out of the back.
Although he was not called in for the current US U-23 camp, he is a legitimate right back candidate for the national player pool. This is particularly true considering longtime USMNT stalwart Steve Cherundolo, the right back of choice for consecutive World Cups, will be 35 years old when the 2014 World Cup rolls around.
We’ll never know whether the Union would have been in a position to extend Williams’’ contract had they not traded Le Toux. However, the decision to sign him to a new deal should, to some extent, allay some of the concerns Union fans had about their willingness to spend money.