DAVID SMITH - Friday, September 2, 2011
German-American defender Daniel Williams has joined Hoffenheim on a transfer from SC Freiburg with a two-year contract, and is expected to bolster the team's defense in their third Bundesliga campaign.
Williams had been relegated to Freiburg's bench for much of the current season in the midst of a contract dispute with the club, however has found a new life by signing a long-term contract with Hoffenheim.
"He's signed a two-year contract until the summer of 2014," Hoffenheim press officer Markus Sieger confirmed. "It was a last-minuted deal that only came about on the last day of the transfer window."
"We saw that he could definitely going to be a good defensive player for us," Sieger continued, "and we had the opportunity to sign a young German player, so we did the transfer."
During his time at Freiburg, Williams had featured mostly on the right side of their defense, although he had played in the midfield for the team and was seen as a more all-around player. While Hoffenheim do expect to utilize his flexibility, they are focusing on the aspects of his game more suited to playing right or left back.
"He an alternative player to the other defensive players," Sieger explained. "He is a flexible player who play many positions in the defense - can play on the left side, the right side or in the middle."
"We particularly have a lot of defenders on both the right and left, and he's one more, but we don't have a special position picked out for him."
Williams has already begun training with the team, and the coaches will use the current international break to evaluate both where he will help the team most on the field and whether he will feature immediately in the starting lineup.
"He began training with the team already on Wednesday," Sieger confirmed.
"First of all, he will have to train with the team and the coach will see if he's going to be a starter or if he'll need a longer time. He didn't play every week in Freiburg, so we will have to see in the next few weeks how he does training with the team."
"If he does a good job then I think he will be a starter, but we will see in the coming weeks."
Williams joins a Hoffenheim organization which has several Americans through the various levels on the senior team and youth academy. After joining in the summer, recent call-up Fabian Johnson has established himself through their first few games as one of their top performers in the midfield.
Additionally, American youth international Joseph-Claude Gyau has been a regular starter for their U-23 team since arriving earlier in the year, Charles Renken has featured as a starter in their U-19 squad, and Russell Canouse for their U-17 team.