Player Spotlight: Akil Watts
When you look at 22 year old Defender Akil Watts' track record, you can't help but notice one common factor; John Hackworth, who just happens to be the current Head Coach of CITY2. This will be the third time that Akil will have played under Hackworth. Their time together started with the U-17 Men's National Team where John was Head Coach. More recently, Akil spent 3 seasons at Louisville City, 2 of which were also under the guidance of Hackworth.
Akil Watts began his soccer career playing in the Portland Timbers Academy from 2017 until 2018. It was during this time when he also broke into the U-17 Men's National Team. In 2017 that U-17 Men's National Team were the Runners-Up in the U-17 CONCACAF Championship and made it to the Quarter Finals of the U-17 FIFA World Cup, where Akil played in 3 of the 5 matches. Watts was in good company, as that particular team also fielded such players as Josh Sargeant, Sergino Dest, and Timothy Weah, just to name a few.
In 2018, Watts was signed to a short term contract with RCD Mallorca in La Liga where he played one season as a Defender with their reserve team, RCD Mallorca B. He appeared in 22 matches that season.
The Summer of 2019 saw Akil sign a professional contract with Louisville City. Akil struggled for playing time his first 2 seasons with Lou City, playing a total of 15 matches over that span. But in his 2021 season, Akil played in 20 matches, with a total of 912 minutes played. Akil's stats for that final season included a 69% tackle success rate, 45% aerial duel rate, 79.6% pass success rate, 18 clearances, and 18 interceptions.
In discussion with a Louisville City fan, I got to hear more about Akil Watts from a fan's perspective: "Akil is a promising young player. His lack of starts with Lou City is misleading....it's a crowded and competitive team to break into." He went on to say, "He is listed as an RB and was mainly used in that role, but I've always felt he is more of a midfielder...With consistent minutes, I think you'll be getting a solid player....a fresh start is going to be good for him. He is still young and has yet to reach his ceiling."
If the above image is to hold true, our backline seems pretty solid. Assuming that Watts does in fact start at RB, this could be the path that he needs to get to the next level. And perhaps, he could even make it to our inaugural roster next season for St Louis City SC. Best of luck, Akil!
By Steve Rusnack