Andy Williams figured his international career was over when things didn't go so well with the Jamaica National Team's new coach a few years ago. It turned out to be a pretty short-lived retirement.
The Real Salt Lake midfielder revived his international career on Tuesday with a 90-minute performance in Jamaica's 5-1 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
"It was definitely weird going back, since I was with the national team was the last time I was back home, it was kind of surreal," said Williams said. "It's been a while since I was that nervous."
The friendly was a tune-up for a pair of Olympic qualifying games next week. Williams said he expects to be called in for both matches against the Bahamas on June 15 and June 18, international duty that will force him to miss RSL's June 14 game at Chivas USA and its home match against San Jose on June 18.
"It's always a good-for-him and bad-for-us scenario when a player gets called to international games, but the other side, the glass half-full side, typically you get back a player who feels more confident once he puts a few of those experiences under his belt," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis.
Kreis is also adamant that Williams' national team revival at the age of 30 is no coincidence.
"There's no doubt in my mind he deserves it. He's worked so incredibly hard over these last six months, not only to help himself but to help our team and our franchise as well," Kreis said.
Prior to his preliminary retirement in 2006, Williams made 82 appearances with the Jamaican National Team, registering 12 goals. He made his senior international debut against Croatia in the 1998 World Cup as a 20-year-old.One of three RSL players who've been with the team all four years, Williams has appeared in all 10 matches this year, registering five starts and one assist.
SLOW RECOVERY: There's still no timetable for midfielder Nate Sturgis' return to the field.
"It could either be one week or one month," Kreis said.
The 21-year-old Sturgis, who's a regular with the U.S. Under-23 National Team when healthy, has missed six straight games with a strained hamstring suffered on April 19 at Toronto his only start of the year.Last year Sturgis missed eight games with a calf injury, an injury that trainers originally thought would only keep him out a week or two.
MORE HOBBLING PLAYERS: RSL striker Fabian Espindola didn't practice on Thursday, and is questionable for this Saturday's home match against Kansas City. He's been hobbled by an assortment of injuries, including foot, hamstring and knee injuries throughout the season.
Despite those ailments, he's still played in eight of 10 matches this year.Midfielder Dema Kovalenko also missed Thursday's practice because he was sick, but he's expected to be healthy by the weekend.