Columbus Crew midfielder Wil Trapp looking to turn strong U-20 World Cup showing into MLS debut

Wil Trapp trains with the Crew

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Columbus Crew

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wil Trapp left his mark on the US Under-20 men's national team at the recent U-20 World Cup in Turkey and now he's ready to leave mark once more, this time on the Columbus Crew lineup.

The 20-year-old central midfielder from suburban Columbus played all 270 minutes during the Yanks' unsuccessful bid to advance out of group play and wore the captain's arm band for the first time this year in the 1-1 tie against France on June 24.

While the USA's chances were doomed by 4-1 losses to Spain and Ghana, the experience was nonetheless worth it for Trapp.

"It wasn't an ideal turn out for us team-wise, but anytime you get to go up against world-class competition like we did, kids who are going to be future stars in world football, it's awesome," Trapp told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. "It was a great time for me to see how I compare to those players."

Crew technical director Brian Bliss kept tabs on his prized pupil as an assistant to US coach Tab Ramos.

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"His France game, even though it was choppy from both teams, was his best game overall," Bliss said. "In terms of holding down the middle of the field, helping us out of the back, changing the point of attack and connecting passes, he found his groove."

Trapp's next step is making his MLS debut in his rookie season after leaving for U-20 duty three times since March. He is the last of the Crew's five Homegrown players yet to play for the first team.

"It's nice to be able to get back into the rhythm of going to training and being around the staff," Trapp said. "I'm 100 percent here. It's my first thought now."

Bliss feels Trapp's play in the World Cup will help make a smooth transition to MLS.

"Obviously there's a difference in maturity and experience but Spain and France have got guys starting in La Liga, starting in Serie A," Bliss said. "He's holding up against those guys. You've got to believe that's going to translate into being successful in our league."

Or, as Trapp put it, "If I could tread water [at the World Cup] I could definitely do it in MLS as well."

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Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha isn’t concerned with Trapp's youthfulness or lack of experience in the center midfield.

"If he is the guy we are going with, nobody is going to look at his passport to see how old he is," Warzycha said. "They are going to be looking at his performance."

Trapp is not with the team for Thursday's match at LA (10:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live) so his first possible action could come Sunday against the Portland Timbers and his former coach at the University of Akron, Caleb Porter.

He is expected to get plenty of minutes when the Crew play Dayton in Reserve League play on July 10, and in a friendly vs. English FA Cup champions Wigan on July 13.