Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Richie Williams (born June 3, 1970 in New York City), is an American soccer defensive midfielder, known for his diminutive height (5'5") and his dogged tackling. He made his name with D.C. United of Major League Soccer and was a fringe member of the United States national team.
Williams' career has been closely tied to US's coach, Bruce Arena. Arena first coached Williams at the University of Virginia. The two parted ways after Williams graduated; in 1993 Williams played with Ayr United in Scotland but then came back to the United States, signing with the Richmond Kickers of the USISL. Richie played three years with the Kickers, helping them to the USISL title and the US Open Cup in 1995, the last pre-MLS year.
Williams was drafted by Arena, who was now coaching DC United, in the fourth round of the 1996 MLS Inaugural Player Draft. Making up for his height with his ferocious shadowing of the opponent's top playmaker, he became an integral member of the early DC teams, helping them to three MLS Cup titles. Arena left DC after three years, but in his first game as the new US coach, gave Williams his first cap, on November 10, 1998, against Australia. Overall, Richie has appeared 20 times for the national team, despite accusations of favoritism from Arena made by fans.
Williams was traded to the MetroStars for Mike Ammann in 2001, spent a year there and was sent back to DC for Brian Kamler. His yo-yo MLS career ended with the Metros, as he was sent back, packaged with Eddie Pope and Jaime Moreno in a deal for Mike Petke, a draft pick, and allocation before the 2003 season. After his last year with MLS, he re-signed with his original American team, the Richmond Kickers. Never a big scorer, Williams tallied just eight goals and added 33 assists in 216 games in MLS (plus two goals and four assists in 26 playoff games).
Williams is also currently an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of Virginia, where he previously coached under Bruce Arena in 1995.
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