Let’s revisit those days after we learned Josef Martinez would be out for the season with an ACL injury. There was much talk of who would replace such an influential player, whether a big-name signing would be brought in for a season or perhaps someone already MLS proven, with names like Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Dom Dwyer being thrown around. In the end, thanks to roster constraints and limited time, it was Adam Jahn and JJ Williams who ended up with the task of trying to fill some very large shoes.
Games Played: 1 (0 starts)
What went right this season?
Uhhhhh *checks notes* nothing.
Williams’ was signed in early March from the Columbus Crew after spending 2019 on loan to the Birmingham Legion. He made just one appearance in a Five Stripes kit, coming on as a sub in the 90th minute in a 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnati in the MLSisBack tournament. That one showing was still enough to put him in the Atlanta record books, thanks to his straight red card for kicking out at Kendall Waston late in stoppage time. His red cards/minute ratio is one of a kind. And that was it for Williams in Atlanta. The 22-year-old was sent down to Atlanta United 2 before being loaned out to Birmingham in September.
What does he need to improve on?
The seven minutes we saw of JJ Williams didn’t offer any clear glimpses into his talents, but safe to say moving on from him is the right call. His USL numbers (7 goals in 25 games) leave a lot to be desired. For context, Adam Jahn has struggled in MLS but still finished 5th in the USL scoring charts with 17 tallies. Still, Williams can definitely play a role at most USL clubs and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finally make a permanent move to Birmingham after spending much of the last two years on loan in Alabama.
What role will he play in 2021?
As mentioned previously, a return to the USL looks the likeliest of options for William. At just 22 years of age, he’s still far from his prime and could eventually become a quality striker in the USL. His time in Atlanta, though, is certainly over.
Overall Player Grade: E