Jan-Michael Williams returns to central

Terry Fenwick Jan Michael WilliamTrinidad and Tobago international goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams has joined Central FC, neighbouring rivals of his former club W Connection, for the upcoming 2013-2014 TT Pro League season.

Williams, age 28, who spent the majority of his career with Connection before a verbal bust-up with the "Savonnetta Boys" Technical Director/Head Coach Stuart Charles led to a split.

In March, after his contract with Connection expired, Williams joined St. Ann's Rangers on a short term deal to return to the game and return to the national team, after being frozen out of Fevrier's roster for three months.

Now less than a month before the start of the new season, Williams, who recently represented T&T at the Concacaf Gold Cup, is returning to his hometown, Couva, and not with the club he once called home.

"Obviously, I spent a few happy years at W Connection," the 51-capped-T&T international is quoted as saying in a Central FC press release. "But I feel that joining Central will raise my profile more in the (Central) region as they do so much work in the community. Of course, football is all about winning matches, but I really want to become a role model to young kids in the area and I feel Central will help me achieve this."

"Jan is a great acquisition for the club," said Technical Manager, Adrian Romain. "Marvin Phillip gave us very good service last season between the sticks and he’ll be missed around the club. But having a Couva boy like Jan is another step towards showing our commitment to the Central community."

Marvin Phillip, T&T's second choice goalie, was Central's number one choice in goal last season.

"It’s great to have a local boy like Jan-Michael at the club," said Central FC managing director Brent Sancho. "Although we want to create a squad with a core of Central players, it will take time. In fact, we’re more representative of Tobago than Central at the moment, but with players like Jan-Michael and Nicholas Dillon representing their home town, it’s a good start."

Technical Director/Head Coach Terry Fenwick has made a lot of changes in his squad for the upcoming season, however his left-back position, which was held by released player, Adrian Noel, last season, remains unfilled.

“I think we have signed all of the players that we targeted and who are available, but we are still looking for a left back.” said Fenwick, a three-time league winning coach. "We started with the concept of keeping the squad young and as local as possible to encourage our community to get behind the lads.

"(Veterans) Marvin Oliver and Carey Harris were our two most consistent players last year, so it shows that age is just a number. Bringing in Jan-Michael gives us a great role model for our young keeper, Jevon Sample, and players like Jason Marcano and Hector Sam have a wealth of experience to share."

While Central may be looking forward to the heroics of Williams between the uprights, the T&T international is still holding on to his dream of someday playing professionally in England and/or the top leagues of Europe.

Williams has had his ups and downs as a footballer and even had to cope with the a brutal assault on his girlfriend Candice Worrell in January of 2012 that put her into a coma for nearly four months, while helping Connection to that season's 2011-12 Digicel Pro League championship.

But the 2006 TT Pro League Player of the Year, who states his favourite teams to watch as Juventus and Italy, and had spells in Europe with Belgian club White Star Woluwe and Hungarian outfit Ferencvarosi, is remaining positive.

He said that his mother, Ann-Marie Williams had always been the biggest influence on his career and that he respected goalkeepers like T&T World Cup goalkeeper Shaka Hislop and Italy's Gianluigi Buffon.

"Watching Shaka playing in England for clubs like Newcastle and West Ham really inspired me to work on my game. I really want to play in England, but the work permit situation is making it difficult," he said.

Williams had trials with UK clubs such as Glasgow Rangers, Charlton Athletic, Derby County and Sheffield United, but in each case, work permit issues prevented him from obtaining a contract.

Williams added, "Therefore, I have a personal reason to do my best every time I pull on the T&T jersey. The higher we climb in the rankings, the more chance I’ll have of playing in Europe’s top leagues."