New St. Ann’s Rangers goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams said he is prepared f0r new challenges and expects to be back to his usual self by the next two games.
This was the assurance of Williams who made his Rangers debut last Friday in a 3-0 defeat against DIRECTV W Connection—the club previously called home and holds close to his heart.
Williams, who joined Connection’s senior team in 2003 and had spells in Europe with Belgian football club White Star Woluwé (2007-2008) and Hungarian club Ferencvárosi TC (2008-2009) before returning to the Couva based TT Pro League club, joined Rangers last week on a short term contract, which runs till the end of the season.
The shock move came nearly three months after Williams was frozen out of the Connection roster, following a verbal clash with Technical Director/Head Coach Stuart Charles Fevrier. The freeze also cost Williams, whose Connection contract was to expire at the end of March, his place in the Trinidad and Tobago senior team because of his inactivity.
“I had sit downs with a couple other clubs,” said Williams this week. “…and I know some people wouldn’t agree to my choice, while some would. But Rangers try to play the right way and move the ball around a lot. I like that about the club. Also, the amount of young players that they have is a pattern of the global trend and I want to be able to impart my knowledge on those players.
“I also get the opportunity to get back on the field of play. In only a week and I had my first game.”
Williams, the 2006 TT Pro League/Toyota Player of the Year and only goalkeeper to do so, performed admirably for Connection and country on the backdrop of the January 20, 2012 brutal attack of his fiancée Candice Worrell outside her Jenexcon Engineering workplace in Montrose, Chaguanas. The former beauty queen was in a coma for nearly four months.
Williams held his goalkeeping together despite the tragedy and help Connection win the 2011-2012 Digicel Pro League Championship and followed up with regional successes by helping his club and country to second spot finishes in the Caribbean Club Championship and Caribbean Cup tournaments respectively.
The 28 year old Williams said he is now focused on returning to top form and the T&T squad in time for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, which as captain he helped the Warriors qualify for.
Friday’s league match against Connection was his first competitive match against the David John-Williams owned club and Williams (J-M) said, “It was a strange feeling… it was kind of bitter sweet, but that’s the situation with life. Change is the most consistent.
“I’m just happy to be back playing. It’s a situation where I’m just looking forward to finishing the season with Rangers and returning to the level I was at (before the last three months). I thought I would have been way off physically and mentally, but with a game or two I’d be back to where I was.
“I know it’s going to be tough. They Rangers defense isn’t the strongest and we would have to work a lot on that, but I’ve already conditioned my mind to deal with the challenges.
“It’s all about trying to help Rangers improve to a better position that we are on the table, and to try and make the Finals of the remaining knockout competitions. As for me individually, I want to work well for the selectors of the national team to call me back up.”
Williams commenting on the 3-0 defeat said, “I think we (Rangers) did well to absorb Connection and limit them to the chances they had. They were three good goals but a stronger Rangers game doesn’t leak two or three goals.”
He singled out former teammate Joevin Jones adding, “You can see that Jones has been the player for Connection and he has also been good for the national team. He scored one and had two assists I believe on Friday and although he could be under a lot of pressure to perform, I think he is a player with tremendous talent and I hope that the coaches at club and country can continue guiding him to do much better.”
Jones is part of a T&T 18-man squad for away friendly internationals against Belize and Peru on March 22 and 26 respectively.
The squad also includes 2006 World Cup players Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA / T&T), Chris Birchall (Port Vale / England), Kenwyne Jones (Stoke City / England) and Cornell Glen (North East Stars / T&T), along with Carlyle Mitchell (Edmonton FC / Canada), Keon Daniel (Philadelphia Union / USA), Marvin Phillip, Darren Mitchell (Central FC / T&T), Cleon John (North East Stars / T&T), Daniel Cyrus (W Connection / T&T), Aubrey David, Ataullah Guerra, Keyon Edwards (Caledonia AIA / T&T), Curtis Gonzales, Kevon Carter, Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force / T&T) and Marcus Joseph (Point Fortin Civic Centre / T&T).