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Familiar Foes for Jacob Williams and Atlanta United 2 as Crown Legacy Visits Friday

Atlanta United 2 will face off against southeastern rivals Crown Legacy FC on May 31, and Midfielder Jacob Williams is preparing to face off against his former club. 

Jacob Williams, who signed with Atlanta United 2 back in December, has had an outstanding career before joining the Five Stripes. 

Williams started his soccer career at the D.C. United Academy, but it was a drive for him especially since he was living in Baltimore at the time. This led him to MLS Next side in Baltimore Armour. 

“It was very good. A lot of top quality guys there and I know a lot of them are playing pro now in MLS Next, MLS and USL Championship,” said Williams. “It’s very high quality and the experience helped us improve and develop for the college game.” 

After spending the 2017-18 season with Baltimore Armour, the Millersville, Maryland native attended Navy to play collegiately where he played for four years. 

“Always stay disciplined,” said Williams when asked what were the biggest lessons he learned at Navy. “I know the Patriot League was known for being very physical and having a lot of set piece goals off corners, free kicks, so staying disciplined was a major key for me.” 

The transition from college to pro can be very difficult for players. Williams explains that there aren’t huge differences, but there are small things that can be a bit difficult to adjust to. He touched on how he was able to stay disciplined during this transition from Navy to Crown Legacy FC. 

“Definitely the coaching and the players around me helping, everybody giving me confidence and setting me straight,” said Williams. “They let me know when I made a mistake, what I need to do better to improve and working with me individually or as a collective to help me build to that next step and get better.”

Williams’ next stop was Crown Legacy FC. He played for the Crown during their inaugural season in 2023 where he appeared in 24 matches, making 15 starts and scoring three goals. Williams holds everyone at Crown Legacy with the highest respect and credits them for making him the player he is today.

“The coaches over there helped me and pushed me to levels that I can’t imagine. I really respect them for that,” said Williams. “They helped me progress forward as a player to come in here, to sit well with the organization and be a person of impact, so I can’t thank them enough.”

Even though it is a reunion for Williams on Friday, he anticipated that it will be a very competitive game from both sides as the 2s are looking to earn another three points at home. 

“They are one of the top teams in this league, so definitely have to expect balls in behind runs and a physical opponent that is not going to give up until the last minute,” said Williams. “We have to bring the same mentality and mindset, and try to get the job done.”

After Daniel Russo went out earlier this season with an ACL injury, Williams has had to step into the left back role, but this isn’t a new role for the midfielder. 

“Last year, I played left back as well, so last year I learned a lot. This year, it's kind of been a little harder with a different system compared to last year but at the same time, the basics are the basics,” said Williams. “My teammates have been helping me out. My coach is helping me out, keeping me disciplined and helping me stay focused on a task.”

With all eyes looking towards Friday’s match against Crown Legacy, I asked Williams what the game has taught him about life as a whole. Even with the pressures of playing professionally, Williams enjoys every moment on and off the pitch. 

“Some days you're not playing, some days you are playing like tomorrow might be my last game. It could be anybody's last game anytime, but just enjoy those moments with your friends, teammates, and the culture,” said Williams. “Everybody is here, having a great time and doing what they love to do, so just enjoy it.”

✍️ & 📷 by Madison Crews

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