Reading sign USMNT midfielder Williams

Danny Williams

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Danny Williams narrowly avoided relegation with German Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, but it looks like he will be playing second-division soccer somewhere after all.

League Championship side Reading FC has signed the U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder, the club announced on Tuesday.

The German-American has spent the last two seasons at Hoffenheim, following a move from SC Freiburg. Last year at Hoffenheim, the 24-year-old scored once in 17 starts, making 21 total appearances in the Bundesliga.

Since 2011, Williams has been a member of the USMNT, earning 12 caps, five of which came in World Cup qualifiers. Originally part of the May/June USMNT camp, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann released Williams due to fitness issues.

What do you make of this news? Surprised he would move to the Championship? Think he should stay at Hoffenheim?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Reading sign USMNT midfielder Williams

  1. chuck says:

    I like this move. Get some definite playing time.

    • Josh D says:

      I agree. While the EPL would have been great, we only have to look at Edu’s situation. Let him play where he’ll get acclimated to England and work himself up. Reading can compete for promotion so I think it’s a solid move.

      Holden v. Williams in a midfield battle. It’s going to be great!

      • Holden vs Williams in a promotion battle might be more exciting. Williams is a more defensive player than Holden, I’d assume that even if we see them both competing for spots its different spots or at least for different reasons tactically.

      • Alex says:

        I wish the article would give some more information like whether this is a transfer or whether DW was out of contract. It would put the move in perspective. Personally, given the fragility of a professional sports career, I hope he went to Reading for the money.

  2. RK says:

    Head-scratcher.

  3. Jon says:

    Eh…he fell out of favor last year and probably needed a move. He played a number of positions last year, but wasn’t really successful. I doubt a top flight club was interested, so it was likely this or the 2.Bund

    Reading now has 6 CONCACAF players on the roster. Anybody know if that’s the most in Europe? At least for a league of any size?

    • Andy in Atlanta says:

      If only Royston Drenthe chose to represent Suriname like his brother it would be 7!!

    • Marcus says:

      Strangely enough, none of them were born in CONCACAF countries…5 English-born Caribbeans and Williams.

      • Patrick says:

        During the fulhamerica days i believe there were 5 americans, and paul stalteri of canada, and you could throw in bobby zamora too, though he hasnt represented. Hangeland was on the roster too

  4. Dynamic says:

    i like the move but its just an odd one

  5. Eric says:

    As a Reading fan, I love hearing this. I think Reading can challenge for immediate promotion back into the EPL so it might work out as a very good move for him.

  6. Yusef says:

    At his position, does playing in the Championship close the door for his World Cup prospects?

    • Eric says:

      Not really. Stuart Holden plays in the Championship with Bolton and I think he’s in Klinsmann’s plans. It also depends on how highly you rate MLS. Some don’t think it’s any better than the Championship so if we’re going by that logic, and the fact that we start several MLS players, I don’t see how it would close the door on his World Cup prospects.

      • Herschel Shywalker says:

        The MLS is not on par with the Championship – most MLS teams could not compete with any Championship teams. MLS is more comparable to League 1.

        • Lorenzo says:

          Top MLS teams could compete in Championship (not top 5), but I think depth is what kills MLS teams, their bench and reserves are huge drop off from what better European teams have.

          • bryan says:

            exactly. MLS teams would compete well in the Championship so long as they have no injuries or international players leaving. i don’t buy into the MLS = League One.

            • BBB says:

              From a purely technical perspective: Champ>MLS. Watch how players do the basics – trap, pass, cross, make runs off the ball – all you’ll see the difference.

              The best teams in MLS could hang with the middle table teams in the Champ, but weaker MLS teams would get slaughtered in that league. Chivas Vs Shef, Brum, Forest, Bolton, Watford….fuuugeddaboutit.

              • bryan says:

                i wasn’t talking Championship though. i’m of the belief that MLS is about on par with that league, for the most part. i was just commenting that MLS is not equivalent to England’s 3rd division. that’s a little silly IMO.

              • Kingly Alexander - Sankt Pauli! says:

                I follow Brentford and I know for a fact they’d CREAM half of MLS and depth is a complete issue for most league 1 sides that don’t have great academies

              • bryan says:

                Kingly, no, actually you don’t know anything for “fact” when discussing hypotheticals.

              • Kingly Alexander - Sankt Pauli! says:

                Thanks for pointing that out Bryan. If my 5th grade English teacher had been around for that one. I’m utterly disgusted with myself.

        • Colin says:

          Personally I think it is somewhere in between… A few MLS teams are likely Ligue 1 quality (Chivas for example), while most would fall into the lower and middle tier of the Championship. The Galaxy, when their players are not all on international duty, would compete for a top 10 spot in my opinion. Agree with the depth comment lower down as well.

    • SilverRey says:

      If there is any hiccup in his playing time I would say yes. He pretty much has to go in and boss the Championship and have a really good year. Anything less has to affect his chances…

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        That’s true about almost any player though. We have a good core group of players that will be in the 23 if they are healthy but also a much larger group of players who are on the bubble. Any hiccup in playing time or run of good/bad form will have a major impact on his and many other players’ chances. Right now he is on the outside looking in.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      What position exactly is that? He’s been played on a wing but is not quite a winger, been played at DM but was not quite good at that either. Half his USA problem right there.

      I think basically Dempsey Bradley Jozy Howard can presume upon their positions right now. Everything else is up to perceived form and how they’ve looked in the red white blue. I think Williams needs to have strong performances with the US to get back into grace to begin with, and I think being at Reading will not per se cause him trouble, but could hurt him situationally if he is seen as hurt or off form and has to prove his way back and has to play catchup. Klinsi has in fact held club form, US form, or where you are playing against people. As he should, although his methods are, how to say it, different.

    • Josh D says:

      No way. Klinsi knows what he gets with Williams. Now it’s up to him to get playing time and gain consistency.

      I think he’ll be competing for a place on the plane against Edu.

  7. MLSsnob says:

    We’ll Holden is probably in so not necessarily but it couldn’t help…

  8. Falls City Outlaw says:

    The Championship has some very good soccer. I think this is a good move for Danny.

  9. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Williams form has dipped so badly that I am a little surprised that Reading took a chance on him. If he gets back to his best, it will be great for both him and the team though. I wish him well, but he has a lot to prove in my mind before I would want to see him in a US uniform again.

  10. beto says:

    good move. always looked like a player that could thrive in the English leagues and Reading should be a top team in the championship next year.

    personally i was hoping he would move to MLS but this will do.

  11. MMV says:

    Reading certainly are not sitting on their hands after relegation. They added Wayne Bridge to address their LB issues and added Royston Drenthe to boost their wing. Danny, if played at d-mid, only has Mikele Legertwood, another CONCACAF player, to contend with. That’s a winnable battle. Reading are seriously looking to return quickly to the EPL. They aren’t looking to dismantle their club. They are looking to upgrade where needed. I like this move.

  12. Lost in Space says:

    With Williams now with Reading, Holden & Ream @ Bolton, and Lichaj @ Forest I’m hoping all get good runs of play and are all in the discussion for the 30 player provisional squad identified for the WC 2014. The more players we have getting regular minutes the better. Especially since none would be strictly considered (except maybe Holden) as starting XI, but rather as quality Utility players who could cover multiple positions.
    Holden – as CM, RM……..Compitition on USNT Cameron, Edu, Williams, Torres,
    Williams – as CDM, LB, RB…….Compitition on USNT Cameron, Edu, Castillo, Torres
    Lichaj – as RB, LB………Compitition on USNT Cameron, Castillo, Evans, Parkhurst

    3 of the 4 have very good shots at making the WC Squad if they get consistent minutes and play well in the Championship. Will be interesting to see what happens come the Aug Friendly and 1st quarter 2014.

    • Gary Page says:

      Spector at Birmingham has played a lot for the national team, starting in the last Confed Cup and has played in the EPL for 4 or 5 years. So he is also a possible backup. He has shown he can play both fullback and midfield.

      • ACS says:

        Packwood was playing pretty well before he got injured at Birmingham, hope he gets back to where he was and even better this season and he could also contend for a spot on the 30 man roster along with the other youngster Brooks at Hertha if he wants to commit to the US.

        • Lost in Space says:

          Packwood was playing well before the injury and would have been a Key player for the US U-20 WC team. However, with the injury and the number of months he’s been away from the game I don’t see him pushing into the Sr. National Team until after 2014.
          Brooks on the other hand has a chance IF he commits to the US. I think that JK invites him to the friendly camp in Aug. It won’t tie him to the US….but will show that the US is very interested in having him in the pool.

        • Riggity says:

          I’m sorry, I like Packwood a lot but there is no chance he will be able to recover from such a bad leg injury and be able to compete for a spot in Brazil. He is too young(and has been out for too long) to take up a spot on a 23 or 30 man roster next summer. Hopefully 2018

  13. AlexDC says:

    As a Reading fan, I like it. Very versitile guy, but him starting is no guarantee. He’ll hafta compete with Karacan, Guthrie, Ledge and Akpan for a spot in the middle cause I highly highly doubt he’ll find a spot on the wings which are overly congested at the moment.

    • Eric says:

      He’s better than Ledge, who’s showing his age. Guthrie plays a much more attacking role in the midfield than DW and besides, there have been questions about Guthrie’s professionalism anyways. Karacan is a good player and might be a better passer but he doesn’t have DW size or athletcism. Akpan is still fairly raw as a player as well although he’s got good potential for the future.

      • AlexDC says:

        Completely agree, would love a Karacan-DW setup or Guthrie-DW. Ledge is past it. With all these signings Nigel is gonna have some choices to make, lots of depth in the midfield.

        With the new signings and lack of departures, I wonder if Jobi gets a look through the middle? On paper, we sail through the champ, but you never know, such a tough league.

        • Eric says:

          It’s hard to say how the team is going to shape up this coming season because there are a lot of odd pieces that don’t seem to fit together well at times. Under McDermott they had a habit of fairly rigidly sticking to a 4-4-2 with two holding mids and relying on the wings to create in 1v1 situations (See Kebe, McAnuff, and McCleary) with Guthrie, Pogrebnyak or Le Fondre up top. Occasionally you’d see more of a 4-5-1 with Pog up top as the lone striker and maybe Le Fondre underneath late in games or even McAnuff or Guthrie underneath but the attack was still the same. It was a very English style of play in the sense of get the ball wide and let your wingers try to create on their own. The style very rarely relied on any use of central mids to be the focal point of the attack.

          However, with McDermott gone it’s hard to say where they’ll go style wise from here. They have a plethora of wingers and a lot of holding mids but nobody who can really run the midfield (like a Michael Bradley for instance who is a true box-to-box,or even just a Claudio Reyna type to control the tempo of the game well). This will probably be fine for them in the Championship but it’ll be an issue if they ever want to stick around the EPL once they get promotion again.

          I like the signing of Williams but he doesn’t exactly fix the problem. That said he’s an upgrade over Leigertwood in the middle and should probably be their starting holding mid at the start of the season alongside Karacan or perhaps Daniel Carrico (Assuming he’s both fit and shows the ability that made him Sporting’s captain at such a young age). However, Reading still needs a capable centermid to really control the game in the middle and not just break up attacks, another forward (I have doubts that we’ll hang on to Progrebnyak and Le Fondre needs both a partner and often seems to be better off the bench anyways), and finally they need a better right back in my opinion. They could probably do this by selling Federici and using Alex McCarthy as their main goalkeeper and maybe selling Kebe or McAnuff since he’s getting older now.

  14. Chris Dos says:

    speaking of 2nd division….wonder if Tim Ream would be in the Nat’s picture if he had stay with the NYRB’s….I guess at the end of the day, just comes down to, being game fit, getting lots of games under your belt and starting week in week out for JK.

    • slowleftarm says:

      I doubt it but in any event, his salary increased from $65k to about $1.6m so I doubt he’s too worried about it.

  15. biff says:

    I like this move a lot and wish Daniel Williams all the luck in the world. He does have potential and this will be good for his development. As for the reason, he was competing for time at Hoffenheim against team darling and U-21 German national player Sebastian Rudy. Plus, Daniel ran afoul of billionaire Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp for complaining in the press earlier this year about the team going through five coaches in 14 months. Big chief, I guess, who takes great pleasure it seems in firing coaches probably did not like Williams comments.

    And this will be good for Daniel’s English. Just hope he doesn’t pick up a silly British accent.

    • Gary Page says:

      Talking about a silly British accent, listen to Brad Friedel. He’s somewhere in between American, English and maybe a bit of Scottish.

      • Iggy says:

        It’s more middle atlantic, the accent that American TV persona, newscasters etc, used to fake in the 50s to sound sophisticated.

  16. bryan says:

    interesting. surprised for sure but after the shock, it kind of makes sense. i still think he has more talent than a Championship team, but he fell out of form at the wrong time. this should be a good move for playing time and was probably the right thing to do. although, i thought he would stay in Germany for sure.

  17. Brett says:

    Assuming he can break into the first team quickly, it’s a good move. I’m afraid that maybe he’s already plateaued. Getting if he goes from scant minutes in the Bundesliga to scant minutes in the English lower divisions I can’t see it as a positive move. Why not bring him to MLS for a few years and raise his profile domestically?

    • Brett says:

      Your moderation software stinks.

    • Lost in Space says:

      Allocation order. No-One wants to go through it.

      • Beto says:

        The second MLS either 1. Scraps the USNT allocation order crap and/or installs a USA/CAN DP spot guys like Williams, Edu, Gooch, Mix, (gold cup level) will be lineing up deals to their favorite MLS teams!

        If i could push Garber to do one thing, this is it

        • bryan says:

          they absolutely need to change the rule. even if they said you must have at least 15 caps to fall within the allocation process. because when a player like Ocegueda can’t come to Chivas USA on loan because he would be subject to the allocation order, that is a problem. and that actually happened to him.

          Chivas shenanigans aside, this is a US youth international who has never played for the senior team and yet he can’t get a simple loan to Chivas USA because of the allocation process. not only that, i’m willing to bet Ocegueda would fight for a starting spot at LB for Chivas USA….which is good for the US and MLS.

          point is, the rule is starting to affect more youth US players and fringe US players (e.g. Rogers, Nguyen, Ocegueda, etc.) instead of its intended purpose; which was to limit your major USMNT players (e.g. McBride, Boca, Beasley, Gooch, etc.) from all going to the same MLS team.