Every team needs a leader and Matt Williams is that man for the Dayton Dutch Lions. Williams, who has grown into arguably the best keeper in USL PRO, is a player that makes those around him better. If the Dutch Lions are to turn their season around and make the playoffs, Williams will be the man to lead the charge and get it done. He is that good!
1. What was it like to host Ruud Gullit earlier this season?
It was a great honor to host a player like Ruud Gullit earlier this year. Anytime you can have someone with that kind of soccer resume around your organization, you relish it. He’s played at a level I think anyone doing what we do dream about, so to have that experience around you (even for a weekend) is special.
2. What has been the best moment of the season so far for you?
The best part of our season has been our run of results away at Charlotte (1-0 win), home to Rochester (1-1 tie), and away to Harrisburg (1-0 win). You look back at those games and realize the potential of this team, which we have fallen short of in our last month or so. May was a tough month for us and I think our best games are ahead of us if we focus on the little things that can win and lose soccer games at this level. June should bring a new and improved DDL team.
3. How important is it to have a stadium of your own in West Carrollton?
Having our facility in West Carrollton has been a welcome change. To have someplace you can call “home” has been better than jumping high school to high school like we have in the past. Miami Valley School was always great to us and I (as well as the other members of the team) appreciate the use of their facilities. The turf at West Carrollton is top notch and I definitely want to thank Dr. Gupta and everyone else who made the new facility possible!
4. What does it mean as a player to have the support of the Oranje Legion?
Having the Oranje Legion behind us is so important for us as players. Chad and the boys have put in an incredible amount of work to support our team and their efforts do not go unnoticed. We love having them at the games and win, lose, or draw they support us. We really want to reward those guys with results.
5. What goals do you have moving forward as a player and team?
As a team, we need to start getting results. This has been the most competitive this league has been in my four years in USL PRO and we need to figure out ways to get points. We have the talent to grind out results and I think that once things start clicking better we will be a force to reckoned with in the league. The playoffs are still not out of the question if we have a good June. Personally, my goals haven’t differed from the start of the season: be the best player I can possibly be for 90 minutes. I want to take some of the pressure off my teammates so they can be more comfortable in how they want to play, so however I can do that is what I try to do.
6. Who do you think will win the World Cup? What player will have a breakout performance?
Even with all their publicized preseason problems, I still think the Germans are the team to beat. They have so much quality all over the pitch, while still having the ability to adapt their playing style to what the game brings to them. As a United States fan, Tim Howard needs to be the best player for them to advance into the knockout stages. The backline has been a work in progress over the last two friendlies and it will be on Howard to make the saves when they need them. And they still have to figure out how to score goals against the best competition in the world. It’s going to be a fascinating World Cup and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
7. What has the Crew partnership done for the Dutch Lions organization as a whole?
The Crew partnership has been a fantastic addition to our team this year. Having players with MLS quality in your side for every game is a huge help for us. I think we’ve really struggled recently with the loss of Kevan George, who I thought was one of the best center backs in USL PRO when he was playing for us (which is pretty good considering he’s a defensive center midfielder normally). Now that Matt Wiet is with us, who played with us a few games last year, we should plug that gap vacated by Kevan. If Aaron continues to score goals and we get the good performances from our other Crew loanees that we have been getting, I think the results will begin to come our way.
8. How does Dayton differ from other places you have played?
I grew up in Maine but went to school at the University of Cincinnati, so this part of Ohio has been very familiar to me. I spent some time in Wilmington with the Hammerheads in 2011, and I learned a lot about how to be a pro in the short time I was with them. The Dutch Lions really put an onus on possession-style soccer, which is very different from what most of us grow up playing or what we were doing in Wilmington. I love having the academy around us all the time; it really puts what we are doing into perspective and I love interacting with those kids after games.
9. How intense has the competition been for the starting keeper spot?
Having Brad Stuver with us in Dayton has been fantastic. The level he brings to training is top notch; it pushes me to be better and to work that much harder. The competition is so important for both of us to get better. I think our goal is to make Sid’s decision on his starting goalkeeper as hard as possible, but regardless of who gets the nod, we both want one thing: a shutout and a win. We both want to see each other do well.
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