SANDY -- For Real Salt Lake, it is the end of an era.
For Andy Williams, his future is just getting started.
Williams, the last remaining player from Real's inaugural 2005 season, announced his retirement on KALL-AM 700's Bill and Spence Show late Monday afternoon.
"It's been amazing," Williams said of his seven-year stay with RSL, which included playing all 120 minutes during the 2009 Major League Soccer Cup title match. "It was great to be a part of what I think is the best team in the league the last three years."
Williams will join the RSL technical staff, where he will assist general manager Garth Lagerwey in scouting.
"I wouldn't change it for the world, and I'm glad I came to Salt Lake City, as my family and I have been able to call the area home," Williams said. "I'm excited about the opportunity the front office has given me by allowing me to continue to be a part of RSL. I think I've got a lot to offer off the field, and I look forward to helping bring in players that will make our team better, and hopefully provide some more championship rings."
Williams' contract with Real Salt Lake expired after this season ended, and with limited salary cap room and roster space available, a new deal couldn't be reached before Monday's first stage of the MLS re-entry draft, where he was not selected. Instead of continuing the process through the second stage, Williams elected on Monday afternoon to retire.
"The transition will be a learning opportunity for me, but I couldn't be happier to do it on behalf of the team, fans and city that I love," Williams added. "I'm going to take this new endeavor and out all of my heart into it, just like I did on the field."
Williams joined Real Salt Lake as the first pick of the 2004 MLS expansion draft, and played in 189 matches, totaling more than 11,500 minutes on the pitch. He scored 14 goals and dished off 29 assists in seven seasons for the Claret-and-Cobalt.
"It has been night and day since my first seasons in Utah," Williams said. "We came into the league not winning games, but we always had our fans ... they came in and supported us from the get-go. I'm happy we stuck in there and came away with a championship to reward both our efforts and the fans in the stand too."
The 34-year-old Toronto-born Jamaican international, affectionately known to fans as Bomma, spent 14 seasons in Major League Soccer, playing for five teams during his first seven years in the lead before finding a permanent home on the RSL roster. In all, Williams played in 332 MLS matches and had 30 goals and 86 assists, placing him eighth in league history.
Williams also played 92 times for his native Jamaica, including the 1998 World Cup. He had 13 international goals for the Reggae Boyz.
Williams is the fifth player from Real Salt Lake's roster who won't be returning to the field in 2012, as the team lost Arturo Alvarez in Monday's MLS re-entry draft. The team also traded Jean Alexandre and Robbie Russell during the past week, and midfielder Collen Warner was selected by Montreal in the MLS Expansion Draft.