Crew midfielder Wil Trapp and the United States will begin play in the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey on Friday against Spain (1:45 p.m. ET / ESPN2). The 20-year-old Gahanna native is coming off an impressive performance in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships back in March that saw him earn Best XI honors for the tournament. Trapp is likely to be an integral part of Head Coach Tab Ramos' plans in Turkey as the U.S. takes on Spain, France and Ghana in group play.
In preparation for this summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, Crew midfielder Wil Trapp has joined U.S. U-20 training camp in Carson, Calif. Trapp is one of seven MLS Homegrown players in the camp. The central midfielder is expected to play a key role for the Yanks in the tournament after being named to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Best XI last month.
Joining Trapp in California is Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss, who serves as an Assistant Coach on Tab Ramos' staff.
The camp runs from April 22-29 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
After a break in play during Easter weekend, the Crew Soccer Academy returned to action to take on their brethren to the North, the CSA Wolves in Michigan. The weekend clash was the only match for the U-16 and U-18 squads. The U-16s fell to CSA Wolves 3-1 while the U-18s played to a 1-1 draw.
Crew Soccer Academy striker Ahinga Selemani showcased the Academy on the international stage on Sunday, as the CSA Wolves product added the final tally in the United States' 3-0 victory over Haiti in group play of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Panama. The U.S. U-17s are back in action Thursday as they take on Guatemala at 7:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer).
On the youth levels, Crew Juniors kicked-off their Crew Youth 2013 Spring Season with the Crew Youth Friendlies, with nearly 100 games played across three days. In addition to the soccer action, a used-gear swap was hosted featuring donated soccer cleats, shin guards, soccer balls and soccer clothing exchanged amongst younger players, with surplus items donated to donated to the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.
CREW YOUTH UPDATE ROUND-UP
Carter Richardson returned to net for the Black & Gold after spending the past few months in Bradenton, Fla. with the U.S. U-17 Residency Program as CSA fell to the Wolves 3-1. Hunter Barone netted a first half brace for the Wolves, while Kalenga Selemani added a third in the 65th minute. Devyn Etling scored CSA's only goal of the match. With the win, the Wolves clinched a playoff spot as they sit atop the Central Conference table in U.S. Soccer Development Academy play. CSA is currently in sixth-place after 18 matches.
The CSA and CSA Wolves U-18 squads played to a 1-1 draw as Nate Kohl and Ben Swanson returned to the Black & Gold. Ali Jawad gave the Wolves a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute before Charlie Reymann equalized for CSA five minutes later. CSA is currently in fifth place of the USSDA U-18 Central Conference, while the Wolves trail in ninth-place.
The CSA U-16s and U-18s return to action on April 20 when the squad travels to St. Louis to face the Scott Gallagher Metro and Missouri teams. The CSA Wolves U-16 and U-18s are in action this weekend as they travel to face Milwaukee FC on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. ET and Sockers FC in Chicago on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. ET
The United States will face a tall challenge in Turkey this summer as the draw for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup was held on Monday. The U.S. has been placed in Group A with European powers Spain and France, along with a yet to be determined African nation.
"We're welcome to any challenge," U.S. U-20s Assistant Coach and Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss said Monday. "It's obviously a very strong group with those two European teams. Whatever African team makes it, you know they're going to be good. Historically, [African nations] have been very good at the youth World Cup level."
Bliss and Homegrown midfielder Wil Trapp will head to Turkey in June, hoping to make an impact on the world stage.
"When you get to the World Cup, there are 24 teams and everybody is good," Bliss said. "It looks like a very difficult group, but we finished strong in CONCACAF and I think that will give us confidence heading into [the World Cup].
"I won't say I like our chances better than anybody, but I don't fear any of those teams for any reason."
The U.S. will hold a camp in April to reassess talent ahead of the tournament this summer.
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy season resumed over the weekend as both Crew Soccer Academy squads traveled to Indianapolis for Sunday matches against the Indiana Fire. Goals from Jacob Atkinson and Charlie Reymann led the Crew U-18 squad to 2-0 victory over the top-of-the-table Fire. In the U-16 match, CSA battled back from a two-goal deficit to salvage a 2-2 draw with both tallies coming in the final 10 minutes from Omar Mohamed and Brett Smalley.
The U-16 squad currently sits in sixth-place in the USSDA Central Conference behind the CSA Wolves (MI) in first-place. In the U-18 division, CSA is currently in eighth-place in the Central entering spring play.
Playing in the biggest match of his young career, a massive weight was lifted off of Wil Trapp's shoulders as the United States handled Canada 4-2 in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship quarterfinal to qualify for this summer's 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey on Tuesday night. Trapp's deflected, long-distance volley to make it 3-1 just before haftime gave the U.S. the momentum it needed to hold of its rival to the North in the second half and secure the victory.
Trapp and the United States move on to face Cuba in the semifinal of the regional tournament on Friday, March 1 at 6 p.m. ET.
While Jairo Arrieta will join the Crew's preseason camp in Orlando, Fla. in the coming days, another player has left the Black & Gold for International duty.
Homegrown rookie midfielder Wil Trapp left Columbus Thursday morning for Puebla, Mexico, the site of the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Trapp has been a mainstay in the U.S. U-20 National Team's midfield over the last two years, as the Stars and Stripes hope to qualify for 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer. The top four teams in Mexico will move on to the big stage in Turkey. The U.S. failed to qualify for the last World Cup in 2011.
"It's going to be big," Trapp said before leaving Columbus. "I'm excited just because the 20s as team last time did not qualify [for the World Cup]. We want to kind of make-up for that and do well and qualify for the World Cup. It's a huge stage. I just want to make it, big time."
Trapp spent 10 days with the U.S. U-20 National Team in Puebla in January to prepare for the altitude issues the team will face in the tournament before joining the Crew for its preseason trip to Bradenton, Fla. The United States has been placed in Group A of the tournament with Costa Rica and Haiti. Trapp and the U-20s will kick off play on February 18 against Haiti.
After signing as the fifth Homegrown player in Crew history, University of Akron standout Chad Barson joined TheCrew.com's Cody Sharrett for a short Q&A.
Cody Sharrett: Congratulations on signing with the Crew. How do you plan on contributing to the Black & Gold as a rookie?
Chad Barson: I think I bring a good work ethic. I have a good mentality in the way I approach things. I'm willing to contribute, and I'm a team guy. I put the team first. I'll put the team's needs above my own and whatever they need, that's what I'm willing to do.
CS: You've been captain for the past two seasons at Akron and as a centerback, you have to be a leader on the field. How do you approach being a leader as a rookie?
CB: You have to be yourself. You can't be shy. As a rookie, you're stepping into uncharted territory and just because you're the young guy or the new guy, it doesn't matter how long you've been around. Obviously guys that have been around have more say, but you still need to be able to lead, to talk and to organize guys because the position I play, you see the whole game from where you play.
CS: Your coach at Akron, Caleb Porter, has moved on to the Portland TImbers in MLS. How did he develop your game over the past four years at Akron.
CB: Basically, I like to say everything about my game is a result of Coach Porter. The way we trained at Akron, the mentality he teaches you how to approach life, how to approach school, how to approach soccer: it's really all from him. I see a lot of him in myself. When I talk, when I play, just everything really.
CS: You were born and raised in Columbus. Do you remember your first Crew game? Which players did you look up to?
CB: I don't remember my first Crew game. But watching guys like [Brian] McBride, [Brian] Maisonneuve and Jeff Cunningham, I remember watching those guys all the time when I was younger.
CS: Over the past few summers, you've spent time training with the First Team. Who is the toughest guy you've had to defend?
CB: Honestly size-wise, Andy Iro and Chad Marshall because they're some pretty big guys. I'd also throw Steve Lenhart in there because he's such a scrappy guy and he likes to be physical, but he's also a great guy.
To keep with the Crew headline of the day, this week's Throwback Thursday is dedicated to Homegrown midfielder Wil Trapp's days at nearby Gahanna Lincoln High School. While also spending time with the Crew Soccer Academy, Trapp racked up numerous accolades during his time at Lincoln.
Trapp helped the Golden Lions to a 41-1-2 record during his time playing for his school, leading Lincoln to the 2009 OHSAA Division I state title. Individually, Trapp was a two-time high school All-American, 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year in Ohio and the 2010 NSCAA National High School Player of the Year.
Yes, the 2012 NCAA champion Indiana Hoosiers were coached by two Columbus Crew legends in Todd Yeagley and Brian Maisonneuve. But the Crew connections on the Hoosier roster don't stop at Yeagley and Maisonneuve.
The team's leading scorer Eriq Zavaleta, playmaker A.J. Corrado started on the 2011 USL Super-20-winning Crew Juniors squad under Brian Bliss. In the Super-20 title match, Zavaleta scored on an assist from Corrado to help the Black & Gold to victory.
"[Winning the National Championionship] is good for those guys, and it's obviously good for us," Bliss said Monday. "It shows that we've identified some good players and hopefully we played a role in their development when they were here with us for two-and-a-half or three months of the year. We put a pretty good squad together in a competitive environment and hopefully that played a part in their development."
In addition to the two Hoosiers that helped Crew Juniors to glory in 2011, Senior captains Luis Soffner and Caleb Konstanski spent a week training with the Crew First Team last summer.
Congratulations to Todd Yeagley, Brian Maisonneuve and the Hoosiers on winning their eighth NCAA championship in school history.
Photo courtesy of IU Athletics.