Moving is a headache.
That idea took on a whole new meaning for Sheanon Williams after he found out he was headed to the heat of Houston after being traded from the Philadelphia Union to the Dynamo last month.
“The first thing I thought about was, ‘I’m probably going to get a lot of migraines down here,’ but it’s been good,” Williams said. “I’m actually somebody that gets really bad migraines. We’ve had a couple of nice days. It usually starts off a little bit breezy and then takes a turn for the worse. Definitely something that’s an advantage and something I’ll get used to and be able to play through it.
Headaches or migraines are not uncommon for players in the heat, especially in South Texas, where training in upper-90 or low triple digit temperatures is normal in the summer.
“I’ve been drinking a ton of water and got some secrets to help me stay hydrated, and the staff here does a good job to make sure we’re getting a lot of water during practice,” Williams said. “Right now I’m just trying to get used to it and trying to hydrate and do the best that I can to do what I need to do to not get a lot of migraines.”
Dynamo captain Brad Davis knows what it’s like adapting to the heat, having moved with the club from San Jose when it relocated to Houston in 2006.
“This is a place where you truly have to take care of yourself off the field, so it’s nutrition and hydration; those are the two largest things,” Davis said. “I know he was saying they usually have to wear long sleeves and pants even in the summer [in Philadelphia] because of breezes and stuff like that off the water.... Down here it’s so important because down here this weather will make your body shut down.”
Williams has avoided any issues with migraines since arriving and has found early time on the field. The right back played the full 90 in Houston’s 3-0 home win against the LA Galaxy three days after arriving in Texas, and went the distance again in last weekend’s draw at Sporting Kansas City.
“Sheanon Williams was one of the players that always caught my eye playing at the Union,” head coach Owen Coyle said. “I’ve got to say, he’s played very well both games and we want that to continue and he knows that. Every week we’re demanding a high level performance and I think he’s certainly started well but that’s how he must continue.”
The 25-year-old has quickly formed a solid relationship with his defensive teammates, fitting in very well and showing the maturity that comes with his five-plus years in the league.
“He’s played what,  games in the league? He knows how to play the position and he’s been around and he’s not necessarily a newcomer to the position,” center back David Horst said. “He’s done a great job and he knows how to play and knows what to do when and where and I think he’s done a great job so far.”
For Williams, Horst and his new teammates have made it easy on him.
“Just getting here and hitting the ground running; it was important. I credit that to the coaching staff and giving me an opportunity, one I wasn’t really getting in Philadelphia,” said Williams, who didn’t start any of his final three games in Philly. “All I wanted to do is play and they’ve given me the opportunity to do that here. They’ve trusted me in playing and so I’m going to try and pay them back.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.