Crew Soccer Academy awards highlight talented youth prospects

Michael McCloskey, Tyler Kidwell and Connor Klekota honored for success at each Academy level

On Tuesday, the Columbus Crew honored three members of its Crew Soccer Academy at its annual Crew Team Awards ceremony as a part of the annual “Evening in Black & Gold” festivities held at Via Vecchia Winery. It was also a noteworthy night for Crew Youth as CSA product and rookie Homegrown Player Wil Trapp won Breakout Performance of the Year, becoming the first Crew player to win an award at the youth and senior team level.

U-15/16s defender/midfielder Michael McCloskey, U-17/18s defender Tyler Kidwell and U-19/20s midfielder Connor Klekota were all named 2013 recipients of the adidas Crew Soccer Academy (CSA) Player of the Year award for their impressive performances in the 2012-13 season.

McCloskey, now in his senior season at Olentangy Liberty High School in Columbus, has been involved in CSA since 2008 when he played for Crew Juniors Gold.

Senior Vice President of Soccer Business Development and Executive Director of Crew Juniors Andrew Arthurs – who oversees the CSA program – was quick to point out McCloskey’s versatility as a player as well as his leadership qualities he has displayed as a member of the U-15/16 squad.

"Michael has been such a valuable member of our CSA teams - he's an extremely coachable, versatile and committed player,” said Arthurs.

“Last year, he was our steadiest U-15/16 player and was someone that we knew that we could count on to do the job no matter which spot he was in. He is now making a similar impact on a very talented U-17/18 CSA team."

Kidwell - who was an integral part of the U-17/18 CSA teams during the 2012 -‘13 campaign – is now in his first year playing for the Ohio State men’s soccer program where he has started in nine games and appeared in ten.

“Tyler was the anchor on the back line for what was arguably the hottest team in the country over the final 15 games of the Development Academy season,” said Arthurs. “His competitiveness, commitment and leadership were definitely one of the keys to that groups' success. We know he will be a very good player for Ohio State over the next four years.”

As for U-19/20 CSA midfielder Connor Klekota, the Amherst, OH native is currently in his sophomore year at Notre Dame and was a tremendous addition to the Black & Gold youth program.

After some initial setbacks prevented him from being admitted to the CSA program in his freshman year of high school, Klekota showed great poise and resiliency as he has enjoyed great success over the past half-decade with the Crew. 

“When he joined our system five years ago, it was not at the level that he had hoped for initially,” Arthurs said. “Each year, his desire to improve and make an impact were very obvious - from first making the CSA roster, to becoming a starter, to captaining the U-17/18s, to being recognized as the MVP for arguably the most talented U-19/20 team in the nation.

“It certainly is no surprise to now see him doing so well on a great Notre Dame team. We are very proud of Connor and all that he continues to accomplish."

Klekota has appeared in every contest for the undefeated Fighting Irish this season and was named a 2012 Big East Academic All-star.