After the euphoria of the World University games, Williams’ focus immediately turned to the new chapter in his football journey with Worcester. As with many students, maintaining strong performances both on the pitch and in the classroom can be a difficult task. In his new environment, the right back flourished in his debut season and was voted Players’ and Supporters’ player of the year.
Williams appreciates the pivotal role Worcester played in his breakthrough into professional football. “I felt my own game improving in that first season,” he says. “Playing regularly at higher level was a really good to test myself against both experienced players and talented, younger lads. It was a good level for me to be at and it developed my game massively.”
The following season saw Williams play a pivotal role in a historic FA Cup run in which Worcester progressed to the second round, famously defeating League One outfit Coventry City 2-1 at the Ricoh Arena and being narrowly edged out 14-13 on penalties (an FA Cup record) in a replay against Scunthorpe United.
His strong performances in the Blue and White of Worcester earned Williams the perfect Christmas present. On the December 22, Barnsley announced the signing of their new number 22: a young right back who just a year and a half previous had been playing for free in the Midland Alliance League and was now a fully-fledged professional.
“I never gave up on the dream of full time football,” Williams beams. “University brought my enjoyment back to football after the setback at 18, losing confidence and sight of what I wanted. Both Loughborough and Worcester were brilliant for me. I was absolutely over the moon when I found out about the interest from Barnsley; and then signing for them realised my dream.”
Williams has not allowed the whirlwind of becoming a professional cloud his dedication to an education. Currently occupying an apartment in South Yorkshire and a student house in the East Midlands, Williams, now in his final year of university, continues to balance full time football with the completion of his degree.