U.S. Youth National Teams

Williams replaces Cabrera as head of U.S. U-17 residency program


Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

It has been a bit of a whirlwind year for Richie Williams, but he has landed in a spot of extreme importance in the U.S. Soccer community.

Williams was named U.S. Under-17 national team coach on Tuesday, a position that also entails overseeing the federation's residency program in Bradenton, Fla. After being let go from his post as New York Red Bulls assistant coach prior to the 2011 MLS season, Williams was named the U-18 national team coach three months ago.

He held one training camp for the U-18s, doing so earlier this month in Florida. After being a finalist, but ultimately being passed over, for the Colorado Rapids head coaching job, Williams is now set to be in charge of the residency program, where he is tasked with molding the future generation of U.S. players.

Of the 31 players in this spring's residency class, six are part of the Red Bulls' academy, including Nike International Friendlies standout Wesley Wade. Playmaker and MLS target Junior Flores is also part of the class.

Williams replaces Wilmer Cabrera, who was let go from the position earlier this month after five years at the helm. Cabrera has been rumored to be joining Oscar Pareja's staff with the Colorado Rapids, according to reports out of Denver. 

"Richie is an ideal candidate to guide the development of our young National Team players while also preparing the team during the next year to qualify for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement. "His experience as a player and coach at the highest levels will allow him to continue to provide a professional environment for the players in our U-17 Residency Program."


What do you make of the hire? Think Williams is a good candidate to help shape the up-and-coming U.S. talent?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Joshua

    Good hire, I think, both for US soccer and Richie. He’s finally coaching kids who are – some of them – shorter than he is. 😉


  • Dennis

    This is a positive move. Williams has played for and/or coached with B. Arena, B. Bradley, O. Zambrano, T. Roengen, J.C. Osario and for a short time with H. Bache. It seems that all but Bache valued his contributions. He was always a determined player who worked very hard. He might not be the most skillful player ever in the MLS, but since I believe coaches tend to emphasize what they lacked as players, that might not be all bad. If he can get the players to exhibit the same commitment to the game that he has shown, he will do very well.


  • Buddle-icious

    Good hire.

    Professional coaching experience? Check.
    College and youth coaching experience? Check
    Professional playing experience? Check
    International playing experience? Check?
    Winning resume? Check!
    Intelligent and able to articulate his viewpoints? Check.

    Hard to argue he isn’t qualified for this job.


  • abc

    I’m sure the U-17s will really LOOK UP to him. har har

    What ended up happening with Cabrera, did he get a job with the Rapids under Pareja?


  • Jason

    So Williams doesn’t get the Rapids job, he gets the job of the guy who’s being hired to be the assistant to the guy who got the Rapids job. Ouch?


  • wilyboy

    He certainly is an intelligent operator. However, no one is going to live down the fallout if this u17 team doesn’t live up to expectations. Cabrera had this team firing on all cylinders.

    Good luck, Williams. Hope it works out.


  • Michael F

    Jersey born and bred. Just like the USA Golden Generation. Of corse he’ll socceed.
    Give ’em hell Gov’nor!


  • TomG

    I can’t claim enough in-depth knowledge to comment with any degree of surety, but that never stopped me before. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always had the impression that Richie is kind of a winning mentality organizer/disciplinarian type while Wilmer places more emphasis on creativity and technical skill. If so, isn’t Wilmer more of a fit for this spot, since Klinsi wants to emphasize individual skills and development over wins and losses at this level?


  • Matt S

    Could only hire him to coach a club of players that were similar heights as him… but still he’s probably shorter than most on the team. Good for him though, happy to see he landed on his feet somewhere after RB tossed him out for reasons we still aren’t aware of.


  • Stevie

    After his time working with Red Bulls management it was determined he has excellent experience working with children.


  • marco

    “(Jan. 20, 2012) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team wrapped up participation in the 2012 Aegean Cup with a 4-0 loss against the Czech Republic in Manisa, Turkey.

    The U.S. went 1-0-2 during the tournament, falling to host Turkey in the opening group game 2-1 before defeating Denmark 3-2 in the second game.”

    Cabrera’s last game?


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