24 Under 24: #4 Wil Trapp, Columbus Crew SC

Wil Trapp | Midfielder | Columbus Crew SC | Age: 22

Last Year in 24 Under 24: #9

2015 Stats: Matches played: 16 - Goals: 0 - Assists: 2

Wil Trapp full bio and stats

"Oh, he hits a great long ball."

Makes you cringe, right? There's a stigma against the long ball, because in our game we tend to think of long balls as Route 1 blasts from the back line up to the forwards, the old English style of game. But over the past decade, smart coaches have rekindled their love of diagonal long balls from deep in the midfield to the flanks, the kind of switches that open up space for attacking wingers and overlapping fullbacks. It's a game-changing pass, and those who hit them well are coveted.

In MLS, no defensive midfielder hits those balls as well or as often as Trapp. His ability to change the point of attack is a crucial part of one of the league's best attacks, and his presence as a leader and tempo-setter has only grown over the course of his young career.

What the technical staffers say: "I first met Wil when I was with US Soccer, and he was on the U-18 team at the time. He had just such an ease to him within the game – he understands how to position himself and be the ultimate connector and make himself effortless. He provides the pause for the team and moves the play.

"The next phase for him is to be more of a defensive presence in the middle of the field, break up more plays and just make things harder on his opponents. If he can add a stronger defensive presence in there, he can be more of a complete player."

What Opta Sports says: Wil Trapp has connected 88 percent of his passes in MLS this season, best among 24 Under 24-eligible players with at least 900 passes attempted. He averages 71.6 passes per 90 this season, most among eligible players who have played more than four minutes this season.

Wil Trapp jerseys

Find your colors. Shop mlsstore.com for Wil Trapp jerseys and Crew SC gear - including hats, scarves, and jackets.

What do you think of Wil Trapp? Tell us in the comments below.