Iñaki Williams, born on 15th June, 1994, is one of the great future hopes for Athletic Club Bilbao and is the pride of his family. His mother was forced into exile in Ghana from her native Liberia as a result of the first Liberian civil war. Iñaki’s parents, Félix Williams, a Ghanaian and María Arthuer got to know each other in a refugee camp close to Ghanaian capital, Accra and fled to Europe over two decades ago. Destiny took them to Basque town of Barakaldo, where in 1994 “Willy”, as Iñaki is known to his team-mates was born. Félix subsequently moved to London to look for work whilst, Maria worked locally. Iñaki’s professional contract has enabled his parents reunite again and his buy-out clause is set to increase from 6 to 20 million euro.
The search for work took the Williams family to Navarra, and the young Iñaki caught the eye early on as a footballer with his speed and goal scoring ability at Club Natacion and later at CD Pamplona. Javier Aristu and Félix Burgui, local scouts with strong ties with Athletic had Williams train occasionally at Athletic’s training complex, Lezama.
At the age of 10 the young player officially moved to Athletic Club where he shone in the youth set-up. At the age of 16 and making the step up to senior football, Iñaki was loaned out to local third division feeder club, Basconia. A meniscus operation was not enough to deter a mid-season move to Bilbao Athletic (Athletic’s ‘B’ team) where Iñaki scored 8 goals in 14 games.
When the 2014/15 season came about, the idea was to keep Iñaki with the ‘B’ team as part of his development, but his incredible form with 13 goals, coupled with the injury to Guillermo and first team coach Valverde not considering Kike Sola for selection, were factors that propelled Williams into the first team squad. He’s now played in eleven games for the first team scoring his first goal in the Europa League game against Torinio in Italy. “I’ve scored, I’ve scored, he screamed in delight after finding the net for “Los Leones” in Turin.