The Oberlin Review

In The Locker Room With Timothy Williams, Men’s Soccer Captain

Senior+forward+Timothy+Williams+in+the+Yeomen%E2%80%99s+scrimmage+against+the+Capital+University+Crusaders.
Senior forward Timothy Williams in the Yeomen’s scrimmage against the Capital University Crusaders.

Senior forward Timothy Williams in the Yeomen’s scrimmage against the Capital University Crusaders.

Photo courtesy of OC Athletics

Photo courtesy of OC Athletics

Senior forward Timothy Williams in the Yeomen’s scrimmage against the Capital University Crusaders.

Julie Schrieber and Alex McNicoll

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This week, the Review sat down with senior captain and forward Timothy Williams of the Yeomen soccer team. This season, Williams has led the charge for the current 3–1–1 record after a crushing North Coast Athletic Conference Championship loss to the Kenyon College Lords last year. His efforts this year have been recognized beyond the NCAC, as he collected the National Division III Player of the Week accolade after the first week of play. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

You were recently named the National Division III Player of the Week by the United Soccer Coaches Association. How did you find out you won this award? 

It was actually after practice. As I was coming back to the locker room, I got a notification from the Oberlin Athletics Instagram account because they had tagged me in a post. I opened it and read that “Timothy Williams has been named National Division III Player of the Week,” so that was kinda cool. Everyone else around me was getting changed after practice, so I was just looking at it for a while in disbelief and not really saying anything. Eventually I showed it to a teammate, and we were like, “What the hell just happened?” After the initial shock wore off, my teammates and coaches were so pumped, saying how great it was that I could get recognized for all the hard work I’ve been putting in this season.

As one of the captains of the men’s soccer team, how are you going use this recognition not only for your own improvement but also to help shape the team moving forward?

Honestly, this award speaks volumes about the team. I definitely wouldn’t consider this award a reflection of me individually as much as it is a reflection of the team. I might’ve scored the goals, but my teammates put me in the situations to be able to do that, and if I didn’t have the coaches and teammates I have, I wouldn’t be half the player I am. This award is really emphasizing how much this team accomplishes, and I want us all to use it to get pumped and keep moving forward as our season gets more competitive.

What is the team dynamic like this year, both on and off the field?

I was a little uncertain in the beginning of the season. The current senior, junior, and sophomore classes all went on a trip to Brazil together last June, so we were super tight coming in, and we were unsure of how the nine new [first-years] were gonna fit into that mold. But they really fit in so well, both on and off the field. They’re really good guys who listen and work really hard. Our first games were a good test for our dynamic, because the field is such a high-intensity environment during those times, but everyone keeps their heads leveled and communicates well. I think the team dynamic might be the best it’s ever been since I’ve been at Oberlin. We feel like a family, and I love that.

This semester, we’ve been focusing a lot on not only the athletic accomplishments of Oberlin students, but also the relationship that Oberlin Athletics holds with the rest of the community. As a student-athlete, what are your takeaways on this disputed topic on campus?

I’ve always thought that the athlete/non-athlete “divide” on campus is somewhat over-hyped. I have a ton of friends who don’t play sports and a ton of friends who do, and while there definitely is a divide — and understandably so, considering some of the toxicity that originates from athlete culture — I don’t think it’s challenging to be involved in athletics and other parts of the school and community. The reason I came to Oberlin in the first place was because it was the best school I was accepted to, and I don’t want any of us to overlook the fact that we all get to go to a school that has so much to offer. There are so many people in the athletic community here; many of my teammates in particular … are involved with not only athletics and academics but also music, theater, the arts, campus organizations, the list goes on. There is definitely a lot more to the athletes than some people give credit for, but overall I think the “divide” is exaggerated. First impressions can be daunting, but once you get talking you realize you really can be friends with anybody here.

What are the things you value about being an athlete at Oberlin?

By being here I get to interact with so many different types of people that I wouldn’t have the chance to know, especially if I went to a bigger school or even if I went to another school in the [North Coast Athletic Conference]. As a member of the team, and a member of the Oberlin community overall, I’ve seen so many different perspectives on the world and met so many interesting people. Oberlin really brings people together and propels us into challenging situations that help us grow.

What has been your favorite moment of the season so far?

Our team’s best moments this season were probably showcased in our game last Saturday against Calvin College. Calvin is the second-best team in [Division III], and even though we ended up losing that game, we really held off and played so well for so long. It was the biggest game most of us have ever been in in our lives, and just watching how our team totally formed a unit and just grinded together was incredible. Even though the night didn’t pan out for us in the end, the fact that we banded together and really put up a fight was just awesome.

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