The Crew have only played two games so far this season, but offseason pickup Wil Trapp has already been jet-setting.
After the 20-year-old from Gahanna signed in December as the Crew’s fourth Homegrown player, he quickly packed up and headed to the U.S. National U-20 camp in Mexico.
Under the watchful eye of coach and World Cup veteran Tab Ramos, Trapp played a pivotal role in midfield for the United States 4-3-3 during their successful run to the finals of the World Cup Qualifying tournament in Pueblo.
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“I think we matured and got better each game.” Trapp said, speaking about his team, but also providing a good estimation of his play.
Trapp started all five games during the tournament, but struggled early. He was lifted in the second game at halftime after picking up a yellow card and nearly earning a second that would have forced his dismissal.
Trapp would rebound to play in the remaining three matches, scoring a goal against Canada the next game and playing 120 minutes in front of over 40,000 fans in the Finals against the host country. The U.S. would lose in Extra Time, but Trapp made the tournament’s Best XI, in recognition of his fine performances.
Being at the center of the action is nothing new for the midfielder.
Trapp played a pivotal role during his five seasons for the Crew Soccer Academy under Head Coach Billy Thompson and Brian Bliss. He was a mainstay in the lineup as the top prospect in the Academy, and helped Academy teams collect quite a bit of hardware. Trapp was an integral part of the McGuire Cup winning U-19 team and the back-to-back 2010 and 2011 USL Super-20 championship teams.
Trapp effusively praised the Academy set-up: “At the Academy you get good sessions day-in day-out. Before, you would get a few good days here and there.”
He added the atmosphere at the Crew Soccer Academy was more like a pro team, “I was helped by being in a more professional environment. (It helped me) segue to a college career.”
After the Academy, the Ohio-born and raised Trapp didn’t have to leave the state to find the perfect college environment for a rising soccer player. The top program in college soccer at the University of Akron under Caleb Porter was conveniently nearby, and they brought him in as their top prospect in 2011.
Trapp adapted quickly to college life. He was the top freshman in his first season at Akron according to Top Drawer Soccer in 2011, and made the all-college second team his sophomore year.
Trapp gives full credit to Porter. “He morphed me from an attacking player to that guy who can sit in the hole and orchestrate and break plays up.”
“I still have ways to go, but I’m getting better each time.” Trapp said looking back on his time with Akron and the U.S. U-20 team, but added he sees signs of improvement, “Obviously making the Best XI gives me a lot of confidence.”
Trapp is also gaining confidence playing with the senior team. Players he grew up watching now see him as one of the guys, “Everyone has been very nice and very accepting of me, it’s been first class.”
His teammates with the Crew have helped him with the latest transition in his career, “I’m not going back to playing college, just playing for three months. We have a 10 month season; training every day with professionals. That’s just going to make me better.”
Trapp’s traveling isn’t going lessen, however. He is heading to the Under-20 Men’s World Cup this summer in Turkey, something that he’s admittedly thought about for a long time. “It’s what you dream of, playing in a World Cup”, Trapp relates, “Even if it’s just at the U-20 level.”
Trapp then noted the other benefit of playing in such a high profile tournament, “It can obviously lead to the full team.”
But Trapp realizes he needs to be patient. “I just want to make the roster, go and show well. As we showed in Mexico, we have the team to do well.”
With the Crew, Trapp has yet to make the game day roster, waiting his turn behind Danny O’Rourke, Agustin Viana, Tony Tchani, and Matias Sanchez.
While he waits, Trapp knows he’s headed in the right direction. And so does his team.