Atlanta United finalizes deal with Derrick Williams


ATLANTA – Atlanta United today announced it has signed Derrick Williams through the 2025 season with an option for 2026. Atlanta originally selected the rights to Williams with the No. 1 pick in Stage Two of the 2023 MLS Re-Entry Draft held on Dec. 21. A veteran center back, Williams spent the last three seasons in MLS with LA Galaxy and D.C. United after spending 11 seasons in England.

“Derrick is a tough, no-nonsense defender who brings experience with more than 300 appearances from his time in England and across MLS,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “His understanding of the league, coupled with his physicality gives us additional options in our back line as we navigate multiple competitions this season.”

Williams, 30, debuted in the Premier League in 2012 with Aston Villa before signing with Bristol City in League One the following year. He featured regularly for Bristol City before helping them earn promotion to the Championship during the 2014-15 season. He then joined Blackburn Rovers in the Championship in 2016, making 152 total appearances for the club in all. Born in Hamburg, Germany, Williams holds an American passport and will not occupy an International Roster spot.

Williams made more than 250 combined appearances in the England’s League One and the EFL Championship during his professional career before joining MLS in 2021. In two seasons with LA Galaxy, Williams made 44 starts in 47 appearances. He then joined D.C. United ahead of the 2023 season and made 21 starts with 24 appearances, including scoring his first MLS goal on June 24 against FC Cincinnati.

Internationally, Williams spent time in Ireland’s youth circuit before making his full senior debut in 2018 in a friendly against France. He made three total appearances between 2018-19 and scored a goal in a friendly against New Zealand on Nov. 14, 2019.

Player Profile

Name: Derrick Williams

Position: Defender

Height: 5-11

Birthdate: Jan. 17, 1993 (30)

Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany

Citizenship: Ireland, United States

Transaction: Atlanta United signs Derrick Williams through the 2025 season with an option for 2026 on Jan. 11, 2024.

Atlanta United roster (as of Jan. 11, 2024)

Goalkeepers (3): Josh Cohen, Brad Guzan, Quentin Westberg 

Defenders (9): Luis Abram, Noah Cobb, Stian Gregersen, Ronald Hernández, Brooks Lennon, Aiden McFadden, Efraín Morales, Caleb Wiley, Derrick Williams

Midfielders (10): Thiago Almada, Derrick Etienne Jr., Nick Firmino, Ajani Fortune, Saba Lobjanidze, Dax McCarty, Edwin Mosquera, Tristan Muyumba, Adyn Torres, Tyler Wolff

Forwards (5): Luke Brennan, Erik Centeno, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Xande Silva, Jamal Thiaré   

Loaned Out for 2024 season: Franco Ibarra (Rosario Central)

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