Wil Trapp's stock just keeps rising.
Trapp is in his third year as a professional, but keeps drawing more and more attention to himself with his steady play in Columbus Crew SC's midfield. The 22-year-old's performances have been so consistently solid for the past three seasons that he is now considered integral to the club's success.
As Crew SC look to advance in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, MLSsoccer.com provides a closer look at Trapp on and off the field with a list of things you might not know about the youngster.
1. Comeback. Trapp is up for the MLS Comeback Player of the Year award after dealing with a long and frustrating fight against a concussion earlier this season. Missing nearly three months, Trapp returned to help lead Crew SC to a second seed in the East, and is using the experience to help others.
“There have been several guys who are in the midst of concussion stuff right now that have reached out to me,” he said. “I’m more than welcome to share my experience and share what I went through because I think it’s beneficial.”
2. Olympics. Trapp is a lock to be on the roster should the US U-23 national team make it to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He started nearly every match in qualifying in October, captaining the team. He says he and the squad are ready for a two-game playoff against Colombia to see who goes to Rio: “It will be a great and difficult task, but one we’re up for.”
3. USMNT. The holding midfielder has been a key piece in US youth national teams for most of his life, and finally broke into the senior team for the first time in February. Though he was played out of position for just 30 minutes in a 3-2 loss to Chile, he said it was an important learning experience.
“Sometimes that first one’s not great, which, in my case, it wasn’t my favorite game,” Trapp said. “But I think it’s one of those where I’ll learn more from it than if it was the Panama game [days later] where we kind of just put it to bed early. It’s a learning experience; everything is a learning experience.”
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4. Homegrown prodigy. Trapp grew up in Gahanna, a Columbus suburb. He won a national championship in high school and the 2010 NSCAA National High School Player of the Year award, and was involved in US youth programs at a very early age. Well before he signed with Crew SC, most knew he would be special.
“I saw Wil when he was 13, and you could tell he was going to be a good player,” said former Crew head coach and current Seattle Sounders boss Sigi Schmid. “You could just tell.”
5. ‘Chise. As a local product and growing face of the club, Trapp has been nicknamed “The Franchise” by teammates – a title often shortened to ‘Chise. That pull reached a new level this year, as Trapp broke into the top 20 of jersey sales for the first time.
6. Praise from a legend. When Crew SC dominated Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls in one of the legend’s final matches of his career, it wasn’t two-goal scorer Aaron Schoenfeld or maestro Federico Higuain that Henry lauded. It was Trapp.
The French striker said the Crew SC man “owned the show,” and was the key for Columbus. Trapp couldn’t help but be thrilled.
“You get goosebumps,” he said. “To hear one of your role models and idols growing up say that about you is fantastic.”
7. Giving back. Being a professional athlete – and, y’know, the face of a franchise – keeps Trapp pretty busy. But on weekday evenings after training and other commitments, he finds time to coach at his hometown Gahanna Lincoln High School. He serves as head assistant coach, and loves it.
“The team this year is awesome,” he said. “The kids are great, and we’re working really hard. It’s a great group of seniors and juniors.”
The team’s season just ended Tuesday in a 3-2 loss in the regional semifinals.
8. Off the field: Trapp doesn’t have much free time, but he enjoys watching sports and seeing the occasional movie with teammate Hector Jimenez. He recently saw "Everest," which he said he enjoyed.
He also likes to stay flexible, going to yoga classes with his girlfriend.
“We like to do [yoga],” he said with a laugh. “We don’t go as frequently as we’d like, but we go when we can.”
9. Columbus eats. One look at Trapp’s Twitter feed tells you how much he loves Chipotle. The Homegrown Player has used his unlimited Chipotle card heavily.
He also enjoys neighborhood spot Northstar Cafe, known for its locally-sourced food, imaginative menu and killer brunch.
10. As a fan, Trapp watches soccer from all around the world, and follows Borussia Dortmund in Germany’s Bundesliga. His favorite player of all time is Manchester United legend Paul Scholes.
“I just like good players,” he said, clarifying that he’s no Man U fan. “He was quiet off the field, but obviously brilliant on the field. It’s hard not to like a guy like that.”
He keeps his domestic sports love in-state, pulling for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cincinnati Bengals.