Storylines is really starting to like this whole Leagues Cup thing; bring on the Round of 32! Our Loons are taking a trip down to Arch City this Friday, and no, that isn’t St. Louis. The next stop on the road to the Cup is Columbus, Ohio, and for one of our favorite Boys in Black and Blue, it’s a long-awaited homecoming.
Since leaving in 2020, Minnesota United captain Wil Trapp has yet to play a match against his boyhood club. With his first reunion on the horizon, Storylines is feeling a bit sentimental. Come with me down memory lane as this week’s edition of Storylines relives the journey that made our captain the player that he is today.
Starting With Hard Hats
Minnesota United captain Wil Trapp is a Columbus boy through and through. Born in Ohio’s capital, Trapp joined the Crew's academy in 2008, back when they still had that awesome logo with the workers in hard hats. After three years with the club, he opted to make the jump to college ball, but he didn’t go too far.
In 2011, Trapp joined the Akron Zips soccer program under Caleb Porter. He spent two seasons in the NCAA, making 45 appearances and earning both individual and team honors along the way. Before his junior season, it became clear that the central midfielder had what it takes to make it at the professional level, and his old stomping grounds came calling.
After leaving Akron, Trapp became the Crew’s fourth-ever Homegrown signing. In his first professional season, he was the club’s Breakout Performer of the Year, setting up what would be a successful stint with his hometown team.
Every Captain Was Once a Lieutenant
In Wil’s second year, Columbus’ former manager Gregg Berhalter gave Trapp the title of vice captain, and thus began the leadership story of one of Major League Soccer’s most notable captains. He learned under Michael Parkhurst for several seasons, filling in when the center back was unavailable.
On May 17, 2014, he became the youngest MLS player to ever serve as club captain and the first Homegrown player to wear the armband in a league match. At just 21 years of age, it was already evident that he was a leader, and his team benefited from that leadership.
In the coming seasons, Trapp continued to establish himself as one of the league’s best midfielders. Columbus’s run to the 2015 MLS Cup saw him earn his first USMNT call-up, and the 2016 season saw him earn MLS All-Star honors, making him the first Homegrown player in Crew history to make an All-Star squad.
I am the Captain Now
When Michael Parkhurst was traded to Atlanta ahead of the 2017 season, the vice captain was given the nod for the captaincy. Trapp stepped up once again, leading the Black and Gold through three exciting seasons. Among his most notable moments in Columbus is this absolutely beautiful stoppage-time winner against Orlando, the second of his three all-time professional goals. This one’s got to count for at least two, though, right?
Trapp finally left home in 2020, joining Inter Miami ahead of their debut season. He didn’t stay long, though, leaving as a free agent by the end of 2021.
And that, my friends, is where we come in. Now in the middle of his third season with the Loons, Captain Trapp has been an invaluable member of the Black and Blue since he joined ahead of the 2021 season. His consistency, workrate, and unrivaled leadership have helped the club step up its level on and off the pitch, leaving an indelible mark on the organization.
When the whistle blows and the game commences on Friday night, hopefully Captain Trapp is able to take a moment to enjoy the lights of his home and bask in the admiration of two fan bases that are indebted to him. Just for a moment, though, before he gets right back to running the midfield and showing the Crew what a great player they’ve produced.
Columbus Crew SC vs. Minnesota United
Lower.com Field | Columbus, Ohio
08.04.2023 | Leagues Cup Round of 32
7:00 p.m. CT (MLS Season Pass)