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N.C. Courage star Lynn Williams evolves with U.S. women's soccer
Wing draws praise for her work ethic
Published Sunday, October 22, 2017 9:29 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Lynn Williams, second from left, scored her third international goal of the year in Sunday's 6-0 win against South Korea in Cary. Williams, who plays for the N.C. Courage, is one of the top scorers in the National Women's Soccer League.

CARY—Lynn Williams is a tireless worker.

Transitioning from a role in the middle to wing with the United States women’s national soccer team, that ethic shines in her evolution.

“Originally I started in the middle of the park, and [national team coach Jill Ellis] moved me out wide to play the [wing],” Williams said. “It’s just a new challenge, and a new role that I’m trying to embrace. I still have so much room to grow, and so much to learn. I’m just taking it day by day, and every game I can get a little bit better and a little bit sharper.”

Williams played the entire match in the Americans’ 6-0 win against South Korea, which completed a sweep for the U.S. in two exhibitions against the visitors. She scored her third international goal of the year (fourth career) in the 61st minute, putting the Americans up 5-0 in front of 9,727 fans at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, where she plays in the National Women's Soccer League with the N.C. Courage.

“Lynn has done exceptionally well,” Ellis said. “A lot of Lynn is her work rate, her mentality and I do think she’s gotten better. In this environment here she spends a lot of time working on things. I think she’s very committed to her craft. Her role has grown.”

Said striker Megan Rapinoe, who assisted Williams’ goal: “I’ve seen her playing in a new position. She’s gotta try to understand that position a little bit more—a little bit of her technical ability, but you’ve seen over this last year how much better she’s gotten. Kind of blending in with the team, and her success in the league. She continues to get better every camp. I think she’ll continue to do that.”

Midfielder Sam Mewis, who scored the first two goals against South Korea and is Williams’ Courage teammate, attributed their relationship to growth on and off the pitch.

“We actually lived together this season, and I found myself kind of growing from rooming with her,” Mewis said. “She’s so mature. She’s such a great person. She deserves all of her success, and I think her development as a player has been enormous over this past year. It’s a credit to how hard she works, and how good of an attitude she has.”

Said Williams: “Me and Sam are completely opposite, and I think it works out so well for both of us. She has taught me so much about the game, and just being professional off the field as well. I think that one thing I can bring to the game is definitely some speed and some energy.”

Much of Williams’ development has come from her work with Courage coach Paul Riley.

“She’s developed so much, and I think she would be the first one to credit Paul,” Mewis said. “I think that Paul has this special way to work with forwards. Lynn herself is one of the most hard-working people I know. She has such a good attitude about everything.”

Aside from her progress with the national team, Williams’ club accomplishments are numerous. In 2016, she earned the Golden Boot and MVP with the 2016 NWSL champions Western New York Flash, which moved to North Carolina and was renamed the Courage. She scored 14 goals and tallied six assists over 21 appearances to help the Courage return to the league final, where they lost 1-0 to Portland. Based on the demands of club schedules, the chemistry established there trickles into national team play.

“There’s never going to be another Sam,” Williams said. “There’s never going to be another Lynn. So how can I just heighten Lynn, and make her the best Lynn possible?”


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