Columbus Crew know continued time with US youth key for Wil Trapp's growth
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wil Trapp's reward after putting in a Best XI-worthy performance at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship?
A return home for training Wednesday in temperatures that will be 30 degrees colder than in Sunday's final in Puebla, Mexico, which the US lost 3-1 to the host nation in extra time. That is, if a snowstorm in the forecast doesn't cancel practice for the Crew players who didn't travel for their two-game West Coast swing.
Chilly tempartures aside, there's no resting on his laurels for the Crew's recently-signed Hoemgrown midfielder.
"I don't mind it at all," he told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday afternoon. "That's the way I like it."
Trapp is as anxious to rejoin his teammates as he is proud of the US effort in the tourney, which saw the Americans edged out only in extra time of the final, but did see them advance to this summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
"It would have been awesome to win the game, but we accomplished our goal of qualifying for the World Cup and everything else is a bonus," he explained.
Although Trapp missed the final several weeks of the Crew's preseason and Saturday's season-opening 3-0 win at Chivas USA, and could also be gone more for the World Cup, the tradeoff will be beneficial, said Crew technical director Brian Bliss.
"It can only help him get better," he told MLSsoccer.com. "Unfortunately he'll be gone for stretches of time in terms of developing chemistry with our guys. But training with our guys and playing some reserve games or being on the bench for the full team, you can't use that as a replacement for playing international competition.
"Even though it's in his own age group, he'll come back and be a better player in the long run," he added. "That's what we're looking at for Wil's future, not just the next three or four months."
As a an assistant to US Under-20 national team coach Tab Ramos, Bliss got a first-hand look at Trapp and the rest of the squad during the tournament and came away impressed.
"[Trapp] is really the glue in the middle of the midfield that allows three or four guys the freedom to do what they do," Bliss said. "A lot of people underestimated his ability in the air because he's 5-foot-8, maybe. He jumps very well and his timing is good."
Despite taking Mexico to extra time after nearly stealing a win in regulation, the US and their depleted roster tired before end before a hostile crowd, allowing two goals in the extra period.
"It was quite amazing," Trapp said. "It was probably the most intense and best atmosphere I've ever played in. To have 45,000-plus fans in the stadium is a great and to have them all against you is another thing quite entirely."
His thoughts now turn to getting playing time for the Crew, but it won't be easy with a crowded and experienced center midfield that includes Kevan George, Danny O'Rourke, Matías Sánchez, Tony Tchani and Agustín Viana.
"He's a good player," coach Robert Warzycha said of Trapp. "He's going to find his way onto the field. Sooner or later you're going to see him."
Bliss knows Trapp well enough from coaching him in the Crew Soccer Academy to believe it won't be a long wait for the young player's MLS debut, adding, "It will be tough for him, but Wil's proven in the past he's up to the task and he won't be deterred."