Welcome to our series on Student-Athlete Impact! Throughout the month of February, you will be hearing from some of our student-athletes as they tell their stories of their time here at Columbia. Today we profile soccer player Rhys Williams, our final student-athlete story during February.

The first three eatures were on:

golfer Jackie Chulya, football player Cameron Dunn and track and field athlete Brittney Wade.



Dear Columbia Fans, 

The first thing I noticed when I visited Columbia and met with Men’s Soccer coach Kevin Anderson: the team was a family. That’s when I knew that this was the place for me.

From the moment I arrived here, I’ve had that feeling of togetherness, and it’s only grown over time. Going into the Ivy League Championship match last fall, I’ve never felt closer to each and every player on the team. There was a lot of emotion involved: for us seniors, this was our last college game, our last chance to leave a legacy at Columbia. Winning the championship was the culmination of years of hard work together, as a team and as a family.

That feeling of family, of incredible support, isn’t limited to the team itself. Annie Butts, Director of Enrichment Services, has been with me every step of the way since freshman year, planning for life after college by helping me find internship opportunities and connect with alumni. I'll never forget the night I emailed Rocco B. Commisso '71SEAS, and got a phone call back from him within ten minutes, offering his help. Dr. Brent Walker, Associate Athletics Director for Championship Performance, has always been there for us on the field. He’s helped me to develop an inner strength that keeps me at my best, and he’s a source of emotional support for me and my teammates. We know we can count on his presence on the sidelines, his quick reminders or confidence boosters, and his hugs at the end of every game! 

You’re a part of the family, too. Our Columbia Athletics alumni, parents, and friends cheer us on, provide a network that helps us build our professional careers, and you make our championship performances possible through your gifts to The Fund for Excellence. 

Next up for me is a trial with Orlando City FC of the MLS, where I will continue to pursue my dream of playing professional soccer, while also knowing that whenever it comes time to hang up my cleats, my experiences at Columbia will serve me in finding the next step. #OnlyHere could I have grown this level of confidence in everything I do, thanks to the resources, network, and support. Thank you!

With Columbia pride,

Rhys Williams ’17CC Men’s Soccer