Crew Soccer Academy products Alex Crognale (Maryland) and Connor Klekota (Notre Dame) squared-off on December 15 with the Fighting Irish taking home the title. Crew Soccer Academy had players in previous finals in 2009 (Chad Barson, Ben Speas on Akron ), 2010 (Chad Barson and Ben Speas on Akron) and 2011 (Ben Speas on UNC).
A week after winning the 2013 College Cup with Notre Dame, TheCrew.com's Cody Sharrett caught up with Klekota to chat about about his progression through his college career.
Crew Soccer Academy products Alex Crognale (Maryland) and Connor Klekota (Notre Dame) will play for an NCAA Championship this weekend at the 2013 College Cup at PPL Park in Chester, Penn. Klekota and the Fighting Irish face the New Mexico Lobos in the first Semifinal match, while Crognale and the Terrapins square-off against ACC rival Virginia afterward. The two Academy products could meet in the Final on Sunday.
COLLEGE CUP SCHEDULE
Friday, December 13
(3) Notre Dame vs. (7) New Mexico - 5:00 p.m. ET
(5) Maryland vs. (8) Virginia - 7:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, December 15
National Championship Final - 3:00 p.m. ET
*All matches on ESPNU
Crew Youth recently launched its own exclusive line of adidas apparel in the Crew Youth Spirit Wear Store on Soccer.com. Fans, players and parents can choose from a multitude of Crew Juniors and Crew Soccer Academy gear in the online marketplace. From December 2-27, all customers will receive $5 their order.
While the Black & Gold are not in action this weekend after finishing the 2013 MLS campaign on Sunday against the New England Revolution, the Crew's Youth programs will be taking over the Crew Stadium pitch on Saturday. The Crew Soccer Academy U-14, U-16 and U-18 will take on the CSA Wolves of Michigan tomorrow. Come get a glimpse of the Black & Gold's future as the U-18s kick-off the action at 11:00 a.m. ET, followed by the U-16s at 1:15 p.m. ET and the U-14s at 3:30 p.m. ET. Admission is free.
Additionally, it was a big week for Academy product Brandon Silva. The Bowling Green State University midfielder was named to the Capital One All-District Academic Team.
Crew Youth products Ahinga Selemani helped the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team to a second-place finish at the Limoges Tournament in France last week. The U.S. went 2-0-1 in the competition, beating the Czech Republic and Poland and earning a draw against France.
The Crew Soccer Academy Wolves' Selemani started all three matches of the tournament, providing a tally in the 2-0 victory over Poland. CSA's Swanson came on as a substitute in the win against the Czech Republic.
United States U-18 Men's National Team Head Coach Javier Perez announced his 18-man roster for an upcoming four-team tournament in Limoges, France. Included in the roster are Crew Soccer Academy midfielder Ben Swanson and CSA Wolves' forward Ahinga Selemani.
The U.S. will face France, Czech Republic and Poland in the tournament that runs from October 9-13. This is the first major tournament for the cycle of players that will compete in the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championships with a goal of advancing to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
U.S. U-18 MNT ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (NC Fusion; Todd, N.C.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (5): Conor Donovan (Capital Area Railhawks Academy; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Chase Gasper (Bethesda Olney; Alexandria, Va.), Shaquell Moore (IMG Academy; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Chicago Magic; Oviedo, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake AZ; Escondido, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC; Plano, Texas), Kyle Scott (Chelsea FC; Winterbourne, Bristol), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio), Tyler Turner (IMG Academy; Meriden, Conn.)
FORWARDS (5): Andrija Novakovich (Chicago Magic PSG; Muskego, Wis.), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea SC; Garland, Texas), Dembakwi Yomba (Concorde Fire; Lithona, Ga.)
For the second time this season, Homegrown midfielder Wil Trapp has been named Soccer by Ives Rookie of the Week following the Crew's 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire. Pairing in central midfield with Tony Tchani in the victory, Trapp completed 88-percent of his passes to help kick-start the Black & Gold attack.
Since returning from the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer, the rookie has started all 12 matches for the Crew.
Described as the “crown jewel” of the Crew Youth Academy by Columbus Crew Technical Director, Brian Bliss, Homegrown Player Wil Trapp has been the subject of some high praise recently.
Following his MLS debut, where he started and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory over Portland, Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha had equally high plaudits for the 20-year-old.
“We knew that when it was time he could step on the field and do a good job. He’s a good player,” said Warzycha postgame last Sunday. “He played for the Academy and we signed him because we knew what he could do and what kind of player he is.
“He grew up here, in Columbus, so we knew when it was time he could step on the field and do a good job. He's a good player.”
Playing as the lone holding midfielder, in a slightly altered Crew formation, Trapp impressed in his MLS debut. He completed the highest percentage of passes of any player on the pitch (86.0%) and won the ball back for the Crew twice as many times as conceded possession (17 wins to 8 losses). The new formation perhaps suited Trapp, who had a similar role while Portland’s Head Coach, Caleb Porter, while at the University of Akron.
Porter is not surprised that Trapp has continued to impress in his young career since leaving Akron. “He’s got a bright future. Obviously I had him on my radar, recruitment wise, for a long time, being at Akron, and being that he was an Ohio guy. I knew he would do well at the professional level.”
“He’s a very technical player. He’s a player that tactically gets it,” said Porter of his former midfielder postgame. “He’s a smart player. Technically and tactically he’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever been with.
Trapp demonstrated his tactical awareness and that despite his age, the Gahanna product is able to perform on the big stage. In two seasons at Akron, Trapp started all 55 matches, tallying one goal and eight assists from his deep-lying midfield role. Perhaps his greatest attribute, however, is his ability to control the midfield. His strength and positioning on and off the ball allows for his teammates in the midfield more freedom to operate.
In his two seasons at Akron, midfielders scored almost half of the team’s goals as the Zips found 40 of a total 94 goals (42.6%) from midfielder contributions. So it should come as no surprise to Crew fans that in Trapp’s first MLS start, a midfielder scored as winger Bernardo Anor netted his second tally in as many contests.
Trapp’s return to Columbus comes on the heels of U-20 World Cup experience in Turkey, where he started all three matches and captained the United States in the clash against France. While on international duty, Trapp has made a strong impression on U.S. Soccer, as he is the only U-20 men’s player to make an appearance in every match in 2013.
Time will tell how Trapp is utilized in Warzycha’s lineup, but Sunday was a strong demonstration as his debut in front of the Black & Gold fans earned the rookie “Barbasol Man of the Match” honors.
Head Coach Robert Warzycha’s first-team selection on Sunday against the Portland Timbers provided Crew fans a chance to see more than half of the squad include in-state talent.
The special Ohio ties have gained some local attention as many were originally featured ahead of the 2013 home-opener at Crew Stadium in an issue of Columbus Alive!. Sunday marked the first time in which three Crew Homegrown Players started in a single match.
In fact, six Ohio-raised athletes managed to make their way into the starting XI, helping the Crew earn a 1-0 victory against a Timbers that entered Crew Stadium unbeaten in their last 15 matches.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Official Statistician of Major League Soccer:
48 players born in Ohio have been signed to an MLS club at some point in their career. Among that total, there are currently 20 active players around the League who hail from the Buckeye State.
13 of those 48 athletes were, at one time or other, under contract to the Crew.
That list of course only includes players that were born in the state of Ohio, and does not include players that were born elsewhere but still consider Ohio their hometowns on official rosters. For example, current Black & Gold players Konrad Warzycha (Born in Poland - raised in Dublin, OH) and Matt Lampson (Born in Tennessee – raised in Hilliard, OH) have specific Ohio ties but are not included below.
The players’ name is followed by the number of appearances they have made for the Crew and the years they called Crew Stadium home.
Chad Barson (8, 2013) Columbus, OH
Eric Brunner (39, 2008-2013) Dublin, OH
Marc Burch (7, 2006-2013) Cincinnati, OH
Brad Friedel (38, 1996-1997) Lakewood, OH
Aaron Horton* (1, 2011-2013) Lakewood, OH
Kyle Hyland (0, 2013) Bay Village, OH
Chris Leitch (37, 2002-2011) Columbus, OH
Danny O'Rourke (140, 2005-2013) Columbus, OH
Kenny Schoeni (1, 2008-2010) Cincinnati, OH
Ben Speas (14, 2012-2013) Stow, OH
Wil Trapp (1, 2013) Columbus, OH
Brandon Ward (6, 1996) Westerville, OH
Josh Williams (47, 2010-2013) Canton, OH
*Currently on loan with LA Blues of USL PRO
U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team midfielder and Ohio native Wil Trapp talks about his early start with soccer, working his way into the Columbus Crew system and playing a significant role on Tab Ramos' U-20
squad in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.