Patriot High School graduate Brandon Williamson will begin his pro soccer career close to home.
The former Duke University standout midfielder has signed with Loudoun United FC, a second-division team affiliated with D.C. United. Loudoun is starting its second year. The team's regular-season opener is March 7.
“I know my mom is very happy that she will be able to come out and watch all of my home games, as well as all of my friends that follow my soccer career,” Williamson said. “I think this season is going to be one to remember.”
Williamson was a projected first-round pick in last month's four-round Major League Soccer SuperDraft, but went unselected.
“I never got any serious feedback on why I personally wasn’t selected in the draft,” said Williamson, who was among the 40 players invited to participate in the MLS College Showcase Dec. 13-15 in Raleigh, N.C. “This year, very few midfielders were drafted in comparison to forwards and defenders but that could be a result of the supply and demand for certain positions within the MLS already.”
Williamson said he was surprised at not being drafted as was “most everyone I talked to within the soccer community after the draft, but it was always a possibility.”
Once the draft finished, Williamson turned his attention to signing with a “solid” team in the United Soccer League. He was on trial with Birmingham FC Legion before signing with Loudoun.
“Making it to the professional level is difficult and although it may have been easier to have gotten drafted, I am always up for a challenge and it just means that I will just have to work a bit harder this season than others to get to that level,” Williamson said.
Williamson has long-time ties with D.C. United. He spent six years with their academy program after first joining at age 12. In 2011, he was one of 10 academy players to train in Italy with Inter Milan Academy.
Williamson also was familiar with Loudoun’s players and coaching staff after practicing with them in the summer.
“I have a good relationship with the [Loudoun] head coach Ryan Martin from my many years within the DC United system and we stayed in touch throughout the whole draft process and into my time trialing with Birmingham Legion FC,” Williamson said.
Martin said Williamson will boost Loudoun’s central midfield.
“Not only is he an athletic two-way player, he’s also smart, technically gifted, and has a great range of passing,” Martin said in a press release. “I think he’ll come in and immediately contribute.”