To understand what it means for Sheanon Williams to be included in MLSsoccer.com’s ’24 Under 24’ is to go back three seasons.
Williams was playing with the Harrisburg City Islanders in the USL second division. He was dreaming of one day competing in MLS.
Fast forward to 2012 and the 22-year-old Williams is now considered among the elite defenders in the league.
Williams came in at No. 18 and midfielder Freddy Adu is No. 19 this week in a list which features the 24 highest-ranked players under that age limit from a total of 186 eligible players.
“It’s a huge honor for me,” Williams told philadelphiaunion.com. “It’s always nice to get recognition like this for the things that we do on the field. I think it’s a reflection of our whole club and not just me. It is nice to hear. Three years ago, I was playing in Harrisburg and was working to get into the league.
“When these types of awards come, it’s an honor because it shows what people think of you. It’s always nice to hear.”
Williams signed with the Union Aug. 31, 2010 and quickly became a fixture along the back line.
His work ethic hasn’t changed from his time in Harrisburg.
Whether it’s a training session or a game, Williams plays with incredible intensity and determination.
“I think you have to,” Williams said. “When you get an opportunity, you have to take advantage of it. I think that’s what I’ve done. I’ve put in the hard work and continue to put in the hard work. When you hear about honors like this, it’s nice. I think ultimately, it’s about the team and I want to win as many games as possible. I’m a team player, but I’m very honored by this.”
Williams is also ready to get back on the pitch.
Following a two-week break, he’s anxious to play Saturday at Toronto FC.
“I think the two weeks off has been good for us, but at the same time, I think we’re ready to play in a game,” Williams said. “We’ve had time to correct things and work on a lot of things in training. It’s been a good two weeks and now I do think we’re kind of itching to play.”
The Union will be aiming to snap a six-game winless streak and register three points for the first time since a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution on July 29.
“We’re taking things one game at a time in these final nine games,” Williams said. “We’re trying to find the right balance, and I know we’re going to work very hard to improve and get results.”