There’s no doubt that a man on a mission is a force to be reckoned with and Bethlehem Steel FC midfielder Chavany Willis is just that. Willis has scored a team-high three goals in the 2019 USL Championship regular season (tied with Philadelphia Union forwards Michee Ngalina and Kacper Przybylko), with two coming from his brace against defending USL Cup Champions Louisville City FC. As Steel Head Coach Brendan Burke recently mentioned in a post-match interview, Willis probably should have more than three goals to this point in the season. Either way, he’s certainly making a name for himself with Steel FC.
“I see him growing in confidence. Obviously a performance like that is instrumental to a player’s self-worth and self-belief and you can really see that in him right now,” said Burke. “I think the Loudoun [United FC] game was the low point, where he was doing everything that we asked him to do, he was doing everything right, consistently working hard and he should have walked away from that one probably with a hat trick. He felt the weight of that because we didn’t ultimately get the result and I think he took it on his shoulders, which says a lot about the kid and his character. He wants this badly, he knows we’re dealing with a lot of internal obstacles right now and he wants to be the one to help us fight through this period. I think he has a very bright future here or somewhere else.”
Willis has not only been effective in the attack, but has also gotten involved defensively for the Steel this year. The Jamaican midfielder has made standout defensive plays and has become a critical piece of the club’s defense in transition. Willis currently leads Steel FC in tackles made in 2019 with 30 tackles through 12 matches this year, truly making himself the definition of a two-way player.
“I think it’s his willingness to cover ground,” Burke stated about what makes Willis so effective on offense and defense. “I think he gets in good spots on both sides of the ball because he’s a willing runner. He’s happy to put his head down and cover 60 meters as fast as he can when he thinks it’s going to help the team on either side of the ball and that’s an intangible that we’d want every player to have. That’s something that you see with Zach Zandi and a few others. When we get to the point where all 11 players are working that way consistently then we’ll be in a great spot, so I think it’s his demeanor and his work ethic.”
Bethlehem Steel FC next travels to take on club-rivals New York Red Bulls II at MSU Soccer Park on Friday, May 31 at 7:00 p.m. ET. The match is set to be broadcast on ESPN+.