While it’s not quite a return to Jamaica, this week’s Louisville City FC games in Pittsburgh are serving as a homecoming of sorts for Devon “Speedy” Williams.
The midfielder spent four years there while playing collegiately for Division I Robert Morris University after growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, the island’s capital.
“It was very rough for the first year,” Williams said. “It was, a new culture. Everything was different, and it was really cold in Pittsburgh. But as the years went on it got better.”
Williams starred for the Division I Colonials from 2011-2014. During his time with Robert Morris, he appeared in 71 matches, scoring six goals and assisting 15.
Williams also played in 2014 for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds' U-23 team. After defeating Tartan Devils FC by a 9-0 score Wednesday night in a U.S. Open Cup game, LouCity will face the Riverhounds’ United Soccer League side at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Williams expects to have his former college coach, Bill Denniston, in attendance at Highmark Stadium, which sits on the Monongahela River just across from downtown Pittsburgh.
“The stadium is in like a perfect spot,” said Williams, who has ranked among LouCity’s most accurate passers in the holding midfield, completing 79.7 percent of his attempts. “You can look and see all the beauty, so I’ll be looking forward to that.”
Williams has been in the United States since 2011 but remembers how hard the transition was when he first moved here. He credits Robert Morris for helping him launch a professional career.
Now 25, Williams went on to play for the New York Red Bulls II in 2015 and 2016. There, he scored two goals and contributed to a club that last season won both the USL regular-season and playoff championships.
LouCity coach James O’Connor described Williams as a player with “pace, speed of mind and great athleticism.”
“I think the difficult thing for the Red Bulls is they have a conveyor belt of talent,” O’Connor added, “and I think when you have players that are coming through, then some fall through the cracks and I certainly feel like Speedy is one that has fallen through the cracks.
“I think he could be back in MLS in a short period of time.”