Wanderers goalkeeper Williams retires, joins coaching staff

Jan-Michael Williams is hanging up his cleats, but he’s not leaving Halifax anytime soon.

HFX Wanderers FC announced Tuesday that the veteran goalkeeper is retiring as a player and will now join Stephen Hart’s staff as the team’s goalkeeper coach.

Williams, 35, made 12 starts for the Wanderers last season, including backstopping the team to its first win in its home opener against Forge FC. He was also the first player to captain HFX.

“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.

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After serving as HFX’s starter, Williams suffered injury problems and was replaced by Christian Oxner as the No. 1 goalkeeper in 2019. Even after losing the starting job, Williams continued to mentor Oxner during his rookie season.

He’ll continue to work with the young Canadian goalkeeper in his new role with the club.

“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.

Williams came to the CPL with a wealth of experience under his belt, having previously played for clubs in his native Trinidad and Tobago, Belgium, Hungary, Honduras, and Guatemala. He also earned 80 caps for the Trinidadian national team.

The announcement about Williams is the latest off-season move by the Wanderers, who have re-signed defenders Alex De Carolis and Chrisnovic N’sa, midfielder Scott Firth, goalkeeper Christian Oxner, and Trinidad and Tobago duo Akeem Garcia and Andre Rampersad.

HFX also used the No. 1 pick in last month’s CPL-U SPORTS Draft to select left-winger Cory Bent from Cape Breton University. Wanderers selected Jake Ruby, a right fullback from Trinity Western University, in the second round. Both prospects are expected to report to pre-season training camp next March when they’ll try to earn a spot on Wanderers’ roster for the 2020 CPL season.

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