Former U-17 star on trial with Red Bulls

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Sheanon Williams has spent the last week training with the Red Bulls after New York reached out to USL-2 side Harrisburg about the former youth national-team player.

Williams, who played most of the match on June 29 in the US Open Cup when the Islanders beat the Red Bulls in extra time, has impressed the Red Bulls coaching staff.

The Red Bulls though, aren’t looking at it as a trial, but as an opportunity to learn about the player.

“I don’t know if it is a trial,” head coach Hans Backe said. “Just to see him in a way.”

Williams has an intriguing pedigree and background. He played for more than a year as a forward with the US Under-17 National Team, and then played right back in the U-17 World Cup. He eventually moved to center back at the University of North Carolina, but moved to right back with the U-20s.

Backe is clear with the position he sees for Williams.

“He’s on trial as a fullback,” Backe said.

One of the selling points for Williams to sign with a MLS team is his versatility. Through trials with FC Twente and Wolfsburg, he says that his ability to play almost anywhere helps.

“It helps to play all positions,” Williams said.

Williams’ time with the team ends Friday, when the Red Bulls depart for a Saturday evening match against Toronto.

Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at and followed at