Joe Willis (soccer)

Joseph Willis (born August 10, 1988) is an American soccer player currently playing for Nashville SC in Major League Soccer.

Joe Willis
Personal information
Full name Joseph Willis
Date of birth (1988-08-10) August 10, 1988
Place of birth St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Nashville SC
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2006–2010 Denver Pioneers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009–2010 Real Colorado Foxes 7 (0)
2011–2014 D.C. United 23 (0)
2014Richmond Kickers (loan) 18 (0)
2015–2019 Houston Dynamo 90 (0)
2020– Nashville SC 0 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of October 13, 2019

Career

Youth

Willis played high school soccer for Chaminade College Preparatory in St. Louis. Willis played soccer for University of Denver from 2006 to 2010, starting from 2008 to 2010.[1] He was named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2008, and was named All-MPSF from 2008 to 2010.[1] While at University of Denver, he also played for the USL Premier Development League Real Colorado Foxes.[2][3]

Professional

D.C. United

Willis was selected by D.C. United with the 50th pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. He signed a contract with the team on March 16, 2011.[4] Willis served as the backup goalie with Bill Hamid being the first choice goalie. He made his MLS Debut on August 13, 2011, recording a clean sheet in a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Willis would only make 3 appearances in hist first season.[2]

For 2012, Willis became first choice goalkeeper while Bill Hamid was with the US U23 team for Olympic qualifying. However Hamid would retake the starting job on May 5, 2012,[5] after Willis had made 9 starts.[2] On November 8, 2012, Willis came on as a substitute in a MLS Playoff match against New York Red Bulls after Hamid received a red card. He denied Kenny Cooper from the spot on the striker's second attempt (the first penalty kick that was successfully converted by Cooper was ordered to be retaken due to an infringement on the part of Cooper's teammates) and managed to keep a clean sheet to help D.C. United get a 1-0 win, advancing them to the next Eastern Conference Finals.[6] With Hamid suspended, Willis would start the next match. However, this time he couldn't replicate his heroics as D.C. United fell to the Houston Dynamo 3-1.[7] Hamid returned for the second leg, but D.C. United drew 1-1 and was eliminated.[8]

Willis remained the second choice goalie for 2013, only getting an extended run of games while Bill Hamid was with the US National Team for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.[9] Willis made 5 starts before Hamid would retake the starting job on August 10.[10] Willis did enjoy success in the 2013 US Open Cup. On May 28 he saved 2 penalties against the Richmond Kickers as D.C. United won on penalties. Willis helped lead D.C. United to 3 more wins, including a clean sheet in the semi-finals, a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire.[2] Despite his strong performances in the tournament, Willis was replaced by Hamid for the final. D.C. United would defeat Real Salt Lake in the final 1-0.[11]

In 2014, Willis became third choice goalkeeper after losing his sport as the number 2 to Andrew Dykstra in preseason. Willis was sent on loan to D.C. United's USL affiliate, the Richmond Kickers.[12] His first appearance of the season with D.C. United came in a CONCACAF Champions League match against Waterhouse on August 20, a 1-0 win for D.C. United.[13] Willis would make 2 more appearances in the Champions League, both of them clean sheets against Tauro FC.[14][15]

Houston Dynamo

On December 8, 2014, Willis was traded to the Houston Dynamo along with Samuel Inkoom, in exchange for Andrew Driver and a fourth-round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.[16] On December 19, 2014 he signed a contract with the Dynamo.[17] Willis served as the backup to Tyler Deric for 2015 and only appeared in 6 games in his first year with Houston.[18]

Willis would get a chance to play early in 2016 with Deric missing time for an abdominal injury.[19] Deric would return in week 6, but he picked up a red card, forcing Willis to come in as a sub and start the next game as Deric served his suspension. Willis would come in for Deric again on May 15 as Deric served a suspension for another red card.[20] Willis picked up his first career assist in the game when he hit a long goal kick that Giles Barnes ran onto and converted to score the game winning goal over Real Salt Lake.[18] Willis would fill in for Deric as he missed time with another abdominal injury and an elbow injury.[20] He performed well, winning MLS Save of the Week for stop against the San Jose Earthquakes on August 19. Willis's strong performances saw him named the Dynamo defensive player of the year.[18]

Willis missed the start of the 2017 season due to a knee injury.[18] He returned on April 15 and made 7 consecutive starts before head coach Wilmer Cabrera gave the starting job to Deric.[21] Willis became the number 1 goalie during the playoffs after Deric was arrested and subsequently suspended by the MLS.[22] He would help the Dynamo defeat the Portland Timbers 2-1 on aggregate and reach the Western Conference Finals where the Dynamo fell to the Seattle Sounders.[23][24]

Ahead of the 2018 season, Willis resigned with the Dynamo.[25] Off-season addition Chris Seitz started the year as first choice keeper.[26] Willis would retake the starting job on April 21 and keep it for the rest of the season.. He enjoyed a strong performance on July 21, saving a penalty kick and being named to the MLS Team of the Week after helping the Dynamo get a 1-1 draw against rival FC Dallas. The Dynamo would miss out on the playoffs in 2018, but they enjoyed success in the US Open Cup. Willis would start the Open Cup Semi-final match up with LAFC on August 8 as the Dynamo won on penalties. Willis would keep a clean sheet in the final as the Dynamo defeated the Philadelphia Union 3-0 as the Dynamo won their first Open Cup in club history.[18]

Willis began 2019 as the clubs first choice keeper. After making a couple of costly errors in recent matches, Deric got a run of 5 starts starting on July 17th.[27] Willis would return on August 11, a 2-1 loss to the Union. He would start the next 8 matches before sitting the final 2 of the season in favor of Deric.[28]

Nashville SC

On November 19, 2019, Willis was traded to Major League Soccer expansion side Nashville SC in exchange for Zarek Valentin.[29]

Career Statistics

As of November 22, 2019[30][31][32]
Club Season League US Open Cup Playoffs Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goasl Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Real Colorado Foxes 2009 USL PDL 5 0 0 0 5 0
2010 2 0 2 0
Total 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
D.C. United 2011 MLS 3 0 0 0 3 0
2012 11 0 1 0 2 0 14 0
2013 9 0 4 0 13 0
2014 0 0 0 0 0 0 3[lower-alpha 1] 0 3 0
Total 23 0 5 0 2 0 3 0 33 0
Richmond Kickers (loan) 2014 USL Pro 18 0 2 0 0 0 20 0
Houston Dynamo 2015 MLS 3 0 3 0 6 0
2016 26 0 3 0 29 0
2017 8 0 2 0 3 0 13 0
2018 26 0 2 0 28 0
2019 27 0 0 0 5[lower-alpha 2] 0 32 0
Total 90 0 10 0 3 0 5 0 108 0
Nashville SC 2020 MLS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career Total 138 0 17 0 5 0 8 0 168 0
  1. Appearances in CONCACAF Champions League
  2. Four appearances in CONCACAF Champions League, one appearance in Leagues Cup

Honors

Club

D.C. United

Houston Dynamo

Individual

USL Pro All-League Second Team: 2014[33]

Dynamo Defensive Player of the Year: 2016[34]

Dynamo Humanitarian of the Year: 2018[35]

References

  1. "Joe Willis". University of Denver. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  2. "Joe Willis". dcunited.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  3. "Joe Willis | Elite Football". www.elitefootball.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  4. "D.C. United signs goalkeeper Joe Willis". DC United. Archived from the original on March 19, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  5. "Bill Hamid". dcunited.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  6. Moore, Robert. "Joe Willis and Nick DeLeon Play Heroes as DC Advance to East Finals". Total MLS. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  7. Lerner, Sarah (November 11, 2012). "United digs deep into its bench in first loss in two months". dcunited.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  8. "DC United vs. Houston Dynamo - Football Match Commentary - November 18, 2012 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  9. https://www.facebook.com/SoccerInsider. "Backup goalkeeper Joe Willis helps D.C. United play to a 0-0 draw at the Colorado Rapids". Washington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  10. "Recap: D.C. United 0 - Philadelphia Union 2". dcunited.com. August 10, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  11. "2013 US Open Cup Final: Underdog DC United upsets Real Salt Lake to win third title (video) | TheCup.us - Full Coverage of US Open Cup Soccer". thecup.us. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  12. Goff, Steven (March 25, 2014). "D.C. United loans 4 to Richmond". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  13. "DC United 1 Waterhouse FC 0". matchcenter.mlssoccer.com. August 20, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  14. "DC United 2 Tauro 0". matchcenter.mlssoccer.com. September 24, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  15. "Tauro FC vs. DC United - Football Match Commentary - October 21, 2014 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  16. http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2014/12/08/mls-open-half-day-trade-window-start-offseason
  17. "Houston Dynamo sign goalkeeper Joe Willis". Houston Dynamo. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  18. "Joe Willis". houstondynamo.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  19. "Dynamo report: Goalie Tyler Deric among 4 injured players returning to form". HoustonChronicle.com. April 6, 2016. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  20. "Dynamo goalie Tyler Deric reflects on trying season". HoustonChronicle.com. October 12, 2016. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  21. "Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric stars in return to starting lineup". Times Union. May 30, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  22. Gomez, Laura (November 14, 2017). "Houston Dynamo's Joe Willis making of of(sic) unlikely opportunity in net". mlssoccer.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  23. "Portland Timbers eliminated from MLS Cup Playoffs after 2-1 loss to Houston Dynamo". OregonLive.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  24. "Free-flying Sounders eliminate Houston Dynamo from playoffs | Pro Soccer USA". www.prosoccerusa.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  25. "Houston Dynamo re-sign goalkeeper Joe Willis". houstondynamo.com. February 7, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  26. "Chris Seitz". houstondynamo.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  27. Gribbs (November 21, 2019). "Making Sense of the Joe Willis Trade". Dynamo Theory. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  28. "Joe Willis 2019 Match Logs". FBref.com. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  29. "2019 Expansion Draft results: Inter Miami, Nashville SC make their picks". Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  30. "Joe Willis". mlssoccer.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  31. "J. Willis". soccerway.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  32. "Joe Willis GK". elitefootball.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  33. "USL PRO All-League Teams Announced". USLSoccer.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  34. "Dynamo Awards". houstondynamo.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  35. "Dynamo announce 2018 team award winners". houstondynamo.com. November 19, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
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