I-League 2017-18: Newly-promoted Neroca FC rope in Indian origin ex-Burnley defender
What's the story?
2nd Division I-League champions Neroca FC have completed the signing of Australian striker Aryn Williams. The 23-year-old last played for Australian A-League club Perth Glory before leaving them at the end of the 2016/17 season.
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Neroca FC have already retained a number of players from last season's title-winning side with the only notable departure being that of experienced campaigner Arata Izumi, who joined Kerala Blasters during the ISL draft.
With Williams in the side, Neroca will hope to put up a good show in their first ever I-League campaign next season.
The heart of the matter
Williams is of mixed heritage with his mother hailing from Mumbai, India. The 23-year-old is the younger brother of former Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams and also has a twin brother named Ryan.
Having been training with Neroca over the past few weeks, Williams finally put pen to paper yesterday. He is primarily a defender but can also slot in in defensive midfield. Williams was on the books of current Premier League outfit Burnley early on in his career but never made a first team appearance for the Clarets. However, his experience of the testing conditions of English football will stand him in good stead for the Neroca stint.
Neroca FC will be the only promoted club from the second division in the I-League next season and will replace the relegated Mumbai FC in India's top flight. The club from Manipur will be accompanied by two more teams who will be the new inductees into the I-League.
The 2017-18 I-League season will be held simultaneously with the Indian Super League, which kicks off on 17th November. In Neroca FC, Indian football top division will see the participation of a team from Manipur for the first time ever.
Williams comes in with a fair degree of experience despite being only 23. Having played in two different parts of the world in England and Australia, India will be a new challenge for the burly defender.
His stint at Neroca could also open the door for obtaining Indian citizenship should he wish to represent India in international football.