ST. PAUL -- Minnesota United TV broadcaster Callum Williams fell in love with football by watching Aston Villa as a 6-year-old boy in Birmingham, England.
On Wednesday, July 17, the 29-year-old will be in a surreal spot of handling play-by-play duties for an international friendly match between the Loons and Villa at Allianz Field. The 7 p.m. game will stream online at mnufc.com.
“The two worlds are colliding very quickly,” Williams said Tuesday.
Williams wore a Villa shirt under United gear to a Loons’ training on the May day Aston Villa was promoted out England’s second division, the Championship, and into the Premier League. Before coming to Minnesota, Williams called Villa games on the radio, and said he will have no trouble staying neutral as a professional broadcaster on Wednesday.
“So many people have said to me over the last couple of days, ‘Are you in dreamland? This is amazing,’ ” Williams said. “Not really in dreamland. I’ve been around Villa loads in the Premier League. … It’s more bizarre than anything because we are in Minnesota.”
Williams’ father Glen and his best friend had season tickets to Villa games, and when Glen’s mate couldn’t attend, Cal jumped at the chance. Cal then got season tickets of his own around age 13 and then jumpstarted his broadcast career at 16.
When Cal told Glen in March that Villa might come to Minnesota, Glen and Cal’s mother called off vacation plans in South America in favor of Minnesota.
“Straight away my dad said, ‘We are cancelling Argentina if that happens,’ ” Williams relayed.
The Williams watched Villa’s training session at the National Sports Center in Blaine on Tuesday. “My old man put his arm around me,” Cal shared, “(He) goes, ‘I’m so glad that we chose to do this.’ ”
Alonso should be available for next MLS game
Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath said Monday that tests on Ozzie Alonso’s injured right shoulder have come back positive.
The captain defensive midfielder leads the Loons with 1,648 minutes played this season, but he left Saturday’s 1-0 victory over FC Dallas in the 72nd minute. He first hurt his shoulder in the 64th minute and tried to stay in the game.
“It’s just badly bruised, the socket, so it’s turned out … a lot better than we at one stage thought about after the game because he was in a lot of pain,” Heath said on his SKOR North radio show.
Heath said the initial concern was a dislocated or fractured shoulder because Alonso wasn’t moving his arm.
Not only is it not a worse-case scenario, but Alonso is expected to be available to play in the Loons’ next MLS game, at Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Alonso didn’t train Tuesday ahead of United’s international friendly against Aston Villa at Allianz Field on Wednesday, and Heath added there aren’t reservations to rest him beyond this weekend.
“I think it’s an area as well that we can maybe put in an injection in there if we needed to help him with the pain, but knowing Ozzie, I don’t think — in fact, I know — it’s not going to stop him from playing,” Heath said Tuesday.
United right back Romain Metanire returned to training Tuesday after being away with the Madagascar national team. Heath said the team will ramp up his work load in order for him to play Saturday in Salt Lake City. … United has recalled Ally Hamis Ng’azi from his loan with USL affiliate Forward Madison. The 18-year-old Tanzanian impressed Heath during the Loons’ friendly against the Flamingos in late June, and the midfielder is expected to play against Villa on Wednesday. “We are getting to that stage now where we will bring him back to have a look at him on a more regular basis,” Heath said. … The Loons gave players Monday off, but Heath said the mood from a seven-game winning streak helped bring a lot of them to the National Sports Center in Blaine.