Up and coming winger for the men’s soccer team
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
All athletes play for a reason, whether it’s for pleasure, finances, or furthering their career. Many players play for the love of the sport. In a college, it’s not often that you find an individual who plays for all of those reasons. Meet Max Williams, a first-year winger for the Douglas College Royals.
Born on September 11, 1997, in Vancouver, BC, Max Williams loves everything about his sport. Actually, it’s tough to find a man more passionate about soccer than this guy, and that’s saying something. Interestingly enough, his love of soccer wasn’t always there.
Williams found his love for soccer around the age of seven, when his father started getting into the sport himself. His brother, Race Williams, was age nine when he began his journey into the world of soccer. So, following in his brother’s footsteps, Max began his journey at the same age. William credits his early years of training to his father. “When we were kids, my dad started getting into soccer and we all would watch on the big screen. Eventually, he just threw us onto the field. He would come out and train us, and help us critique our play.”
His father, who is Aboriginal and German, and his mother, a Polish immigrant, instilled in Max his passion. In particular, his passion for goal scoring. “I like scoring goals. I love seeing the ball go into the net with a huge celebration after. But I critique my play style after playmakers. I like creating those through balls, those quick chances.”
It’s through his style that he found his positon on the field, as an attacking left winger. Max loves the position due to the niches that come with it. “I really like the feeling of beating that last defender and getting the cross in. I have a lot of pace, so if I beat the last defender it’s usually a good scoring opportunity.”
As aggressive as his style is, Williams prides himself on never being caught out defensively. “I always come back to defend, but as soon as we get that ball, I’m up the field.”
This is a great year for Max to actually join the program. His play style echoes Isaac Kyei, a fifth-year who plays the side usually opposite to Max. It’s a great learning opportunity for Williams, but when comparing the two, Max is quick to point out the subtle differences in their play. “I’m a more technical winger. If you slide that pass through the defence, I will be there to get it. Playing with Isaac has taught me how to play with strength and how to tackle better. I definitely learn a lot from him from practice.”
In terms of his attitude during the game, Max has always been noted as level-headed on the field, and a bundle of raw emotion of the field. As he describes it: “When I lose, I’m upset. Like I’m totally upset. I’ll go home and think about my game. But when we win, I’m the happiest man alive. If foul a player or I get a yellow card, I let the referee do his job. I don’t like causing trouble.” Williams gets his level-headed yet passionate personality from his idol, Lionel Messi. His composure in game has served him well this season and he has been one of the few players on the roster who can keep a level head.
This year, he has found his way to Douglas College, and found himself a spot on the men’s roster, but the last couple years of his life have been pretty interesting. Alongside his brother in spirit but not physically, Max and Race Williams travelled Europe looking for opportunities to play soccer overseas. “Race and I spent the last couple of years playing soccer in Europe. We weren’t too concerned about school and we just wanted to chase our dreams. But we hit some bumpy roads and got injured, and things happened. We decided to come home, go to school, and play for Douglas.”
Actually, it was Race’s decision to play for Douglas. After spending some time around Vancouver, Race was approached by Paul Bahia, who brought him out to play for the Douglas squad. That is also how Max found his way on to the roster. “I wasn’t originally going to school this year. I was going to go work. But Race convinced me to come out and play for Douglas.”
Even after coming out and earning a spot on the roster, things were not all smooth and set for Max Williams. While his brother earned a spot on the starting rotation, Max had to fight for every minute. “The start of the year was a bit bumpy. Paul and Robby didn’t really know me, so I didn’t get too much playing time. But I busted my ass off during training, and worked as hard I can. It got to the point where they started giving me more chances, and I made a difference when they did. I generated chances and made big plays.”
Like any other player, Williams had goals when coming into the league. “Coming into the league, my goals were to get as many assists as I could, get better as a player, and make as many friends as possible. My brother had this dual goal together that we would get him the Rookie of the Year award, and we made that happen.” With his brother at his back, Race put on a stellar performance, stringing together goal after goal, and earning himself the PACWEST Rookie of the Year award.
As an overall goal, Max has set his bar of standards pretty high. “I want to win everything. Every gold medal possible, I want to win. Because that feeling of winning with the team, there’s nothing like it. When you win that trophy, it’s the happiest moment of your life. Everyone on your team is happy.” The team fell short of doing so this year, capturing silver at the PACWEST Provincial Championships, but will have a chance to grab gold at the CCAA National Championships in November.
At the moment, Max Williams is currently enrolled in the Sports Science Diploma program with hopes of furthering his career in the sport he loves. “I want to be working with athletes on the pitch. Obviously, I love soccer and it’s my life. So anything I can do to extend my career with it, whether that’s coaching, training, or physiotherapy. Just anything really.”
During his free time, Max enjoys watching soccer replays and highlights, hoping to learn from the professionals and add to his play. He especially enjoys watching his favourite team, Barcelona, play. During the winter season, he continues to play soccer with the Vancouver Men’s Soccer League, turning out for North Delta.