EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It was a powerful and emotional experience for the US national team, who visited the National September 11 Memorial and Museum as a team on Thursday afternoon.
A few days from the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the players were at the site of the fallen Twin Towers and got to meet some of the first responders from that day.
“It was nice for us to go there and pay tribute and be with the NYPD and the fire department and get together and remember the people who lost their lives,” defender Matt Miazga said.
Miazga was just six years old on that day and, although he didn’t fully grasp what happened on that tragic morning, the Clifton, N.J. native has vivid memories.
“I was in school, I think I was in kindergarten or first grade and I remember leaving school early and going to my grandma’s house because she picked us up and watching on the TV what was going on,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on, but I remember that moment and afterwards getting information about what actually happened.”
Miazga is one of a few players on this roster who hail from the New York City area, along with Tyler Adams (Wappingers Falls, New York), Tim Parker (Hicksville, New York) and Tim Weah (Brooklyn, New York). But when it was time for someone to speak to the first responders on behalf of the team, Wil Trapp stepped to the forefront.
“He spoke to some of the firefighters and policemen who were part of that day and he was unbelievable,” USMNT coach Dave Sarachan said.
Trapp said it was important to pay tribute to everyday heroes on an emotional visit to Lower Manhattan.
“It was really just connecting with these gentlemen that have done amazing things every single day, not just on 9/11, but for us connecting through a sport we all love and something that is huge in our culture and huge in making us American,” Trapp said. “That was really special for us as players to see these gentlemen and for them to connect with us as well.”
Sarachan was impressed, but not surprised. The 25-year-old, according to Sarachan, is a born leader. It’s why he’s worn the captain’s armband for the USMNT in recent games and why he does it for Columbus Crew SC on a weekly basis.
“It comes very naturally for Wil Trapp,” Sarachan said.
Trapp is modest when talking about his leadership skills, saying that just comes with his position in the center of midfield.
“I think its the nature of my position on the field being interwoven with a lot of other guys around me,” Trapp said. “You have to connect, you have to communicate and I think it just came through me as I’ve matured as a professional. I’m a guy who likes to help teammates out. It’s just one of those things that has taken shape over time.”
Before training Thursday morning, Trapp said he wasn’t told yet if he was going to again serve as the team’s captain when the USMNT faces Brazil at MetLife Stadium Friday (7:30 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, Univision Deportes).
“I haven’t determined who the captain will be yet,” Sarachan said earlier in camp. “But Wil is certainly a guy who has been a great leader for us.”