Trapp finds inspiration to make MLS jump

Homegrown signing's road to success is grounded in local roots

Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers has no doubts that the latest addition to the team's Homegrown stable will succeed after an agreement with 19-year-old midfielder Wil Trapp was announced Thursday.

Trapp was a national prep player of the year after leading Gahanna Lincoln High School in suburban Columbus to a state championship in 2009; a two-time Crew Soccer Academy Player of the Year; a major contributor for two seasons at the University of Akron and appeared in five matches for the U.S. U-20 National Team this year.

"Wil has found a way to be successful at every level," McCullers said.

Signing with the Crew was a natural step for Trapp, who said he's been a fan since attending his first game when he was three or four and the club played in Ohio Stadium.

"To grow up with them and see how they've evolved and the players that have come in and out, they've been in my heart ever since I was young," Trapp told MLSsoccer.com. "Now to be on the team it's more than I had hoped for."

"It's surreal. It's massive. I've dreamt of it every night and now it's here."

He's the fourth Homegrown player to join the Crew as he follows forward Aaron Horton , goalkeeper Matt Lampson and forward Ben Speas.  Lampson appeared in three games and Speas one as rookies in 2012, while Horton's lone game came in June 2011.

Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha said the professional environment in training and the opportunities whether with the first team or in reserve games and friendlies is invaluable to young players such as Trapp.

"It's not up to the coaches whether he plays. It's up to the players," Warzycha said. "If he shows enough then we are going to put him on the field. It's up to Wil whether he's going to take a chance and progress and fit in the team."

Trapp said he discussed turning pro after his just-completed sophomore season with Akron coach Caleb Porter, who will coach the Portland Timbers next season.

"Caleb and I had talked throughout the season whether or not - regardless of his decision - to leave," Trapp said. "He gave me his blessing and that I was ready to move on to the next level.

"He called me this morning and said good luck and congratulations. I said, 'Thanks, coach. See you soon.'"

While forward Brian McBride was his favorite Crew player, Trapp also took inspiration from former Gahanna player Seth Stammler, who played 142 games for the New York Red Bulls from 2004-2010.

"When I was real young they had a high-school camp and he was one of my counselors," Trapp said. "He came back when we made our run for the state championship in 2009 with Gahanna and I talked to him then. It's great to have another guy from Gahanna go through this process."