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Building Roster Depth: Hounds sign target forward William Eyang and Trinidad and Tobago defender Jesse Williams

Riverhounds SC has signed two more players for the upcoming season, forward William Eyang and defender Jesse Williams. Both players are signed to one-year contracts with a team option for the 2023 season, pending USL and U.S. Soccer Federation approval.

Eyang, 27, is a native of Cameroon with experience playing in his homeland, Sweden and the U.S. The 6-foot-2 attacking player made his stateside debut in the USL Championship with Orlando City B during the 2016 season.

“William brings a big frame, as well as pace and power to our front line,” Riverhounds head coach Bob Lilley said. “He is very capable of holding the ball in tight areas or using his speed to get behind defenses in wide areas. We are excited to see what he will bring in 2022.”

Eyang also has played in the National Independent Soccer Association and most recently was with the Florida Tropics of the indoor Major Arena Soccer League.

Williams, 20, is a young defensive player hailing from Trinidad and Tobago who most recently was with the Coleraine FC U-20s in Northern Ireland.

Last summer, Williams made his senior international debut less than a month after his 20th birthday, playing 90 minutes at right back in a 2-0 World Cup Qualifying win over St. Kitts and Nevis. He made two more appearances for the Soca Warriors at last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he played alongside his new Hounds teammates, Jelani Peters and Mekeil Williams.

“Jesse is a young player with a high ceiling who we want to develop here in Pittsburgh,” Lilley said. “He can play as an outside back or defensive midfielder and brings strong ball-winning qualities to our group.”

Jesse Williams currently is back in camp with the T&T National Team — alongside Mekeil Williams — as they prepare for the team’s next match, a friendly against Bolivia this Friday in Sucre, Bolivia.

PSN Takeaways: Jesse Williams and William Eyang signings

These signings point the way toward providing the Hounds with continued depth along the back line, as Lilley clearly sees a lot of potential in working with the the 20 year-old Jesse Williams alongside his fellow countryman and Shane Wiedt.

Looking at the younger Williams, the Hounds coaching staff will be banking on his upside and having some chemistry with the elder Williams and Jelani Peters. Being that the Soca Warriors will be missing out on the World Cup in 2022, should provide some assurance that Williams’ and Peters will be with the club during its stretch run in September and October.

Additionally, the Hounds already have formadible pair of forwards, but with the addition of Eyang, Lilley now has another option at the top of the attack.

Added to a roster that has USL Championship’s all-time leading scorer Dane Kelly and Albert Dikwa, William Eyang provides the Hounds with something they were missing in 2021, another target forward, who will serve as a big-body up front with physical presence and ability to finish.

The question is, can Eyang find a role among this group.  Lilley obviously must have seen something to believe he’ll be a solid complementary piece. He is 27 years of age and has not played at this (USL Championship) level since his stint with Orlando City B in 2016.

With the retirement of Todd Wharton, the Hounds will likely be looking to add more depth to its central and defensive midfield, as this could open the door for another veteran signing.

The only position they have not filled (as of January 18) is goalkeeper.

Hounds 2022 roster (players announced as of Jan. 18)

Goalkeepers (0) — None

Defenders (6) — Ezra Armstrong, Jelani Peters, Dani Rovira, Shane Wiedt, Jesse Williams, Mekeil Williams

Midfielders (2) — Kenardo Forbes, Danny Griffin,

Forwards/Wingers (5) — Russell Cicerone, Albert Dikwa, Alex Dixon, William Eyang, Dane Kelly

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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