The Crew's resident Canadian Drew Beckie is looking forward to a weekend trip across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The rookie defender is expected to be welcomed by friends, family and fellow Canadians for the match.
"I'm always excited to go back [to Canada]," Beckie said over the phone. "Even though Vancouver isn't home, I love being back and I'm looking forward to seeing friends there."
After playing four years at Denver University, Beckie can't wait to hear "Oh, Canada!" played before kickoff for the first time in his professional career. The Regina, Saskatchewan native has represented his country at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels in the past.
"I'm a very proud Canadian," he explained. "I love the National Anthem. I think Americans love theirs too, but it's just something that's in the Canadian spirit. Playing for the National Team, you really feel that pride to represent Canada. I'm really excited to hear 'Oh, Canada!'"
Despite his Saskatchewan roots, Beckie is an avid follower of the NHL Vancouver Canucks. The rookie faces a conundrum as his Canucks face the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday evening, but the rookie isn't bailing on the team he grew up cheering for.
"I always root for the Canucks, but now Columbus is my hometown team," Beckie said. "I'm kind of torn, but I'm going to go with Vancouver. I don't want to make any enemies, but I'll say it will be a draw and an overtime win for the Canucks. That's the easiest way I can predict the game."
Despite falling 3-1 in Sunday's Final against Mexico, Crew midfielder Wil Trapp earned a spot on the CONCACAF U-20 Championship's Best XI team. The Gahanna native started all six matches for the United States and scored one goal in the tournament to help his country qualify for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
"[Trapp] was one of the guys that was one of our 'Steady Eddies' throughout the tournament and his presence in the middle of the midfield allowed some of our other attacking players to do what they do best and improvise, and Wil is a good reader of the game and anticipates a lot of things that could happen and do happen," said Crew Technical Director and U-20 Assistant Coach Brian Bliss of Trapp's performance after the Mexico match.
"Knowing what we know about him, and what he does on the field, he's an essential part of that group and his consistent play is probably his biggest asset, along with his ability to read the game and his leadership. He's a great asset for that team and we look forward to him playing in the U-20 World Cup."
Trapp will return to Columbus this week to begin his rookie season in MLS before re-joining the U.S. U-20s for the FIFA World Cup in Turkey this summer.
Though over 2,200 miles away, the Crew's weekend trip to Los Angeles will be a homecoming of sorts for Southern California natives Chad Marshall and Tyson Wahl. Marshall (Riverside) and Wahl (Newport Beach) played youth soccer together and are expecting plenty of friends and family to be in attendance at the Home Depot Center for the Black & Gold's match against Chivas USA on Saturday.
"There will definitely some family and a couple friends at the game," Wahl said on Thursday. "It's always nice to go to LA and it would be especially nice to come away with a win."
The Crew hasn't played at the Home Depot Center since 2011, and Marshall is looking forward to playing in front of family once again.
"It'll be nice to have a good group of friends and family there," the veteran defender said. "It'll be cool to get to play in front of them, especially because we didn't get to go out there last year."
Kickoff for Saturday's match is slated for 10:30 p.m. ET and can be found on FOX Sports Ohio.
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.
For the first time this preseason, Homegrown forward Aaron Horton trained with the Black & Gold on Tuesday. Horton spent his offseason traveling the globe between a mission trip in South Africa and trials with FK Sarajevo in Bosnia and Hammarby IF in Sweden.
Training with teams in Europe was a valuable experience for the 20-year-old forward.
"It was awesome just being able to get out and travel around the globe, playing with different clubs in Europe," Horton said. "It was a great experience. I had a lot of fun too. I think I gained experience on all levels."
For Horton, the differences in culture and soccer in Bosnia and Sweden took some getting used to compared the lifestyle he is accustomed to in Columbus.
"It's different.That's the best way I can put it," Horton explained. "Sarajevo was different from Sweden, Sweden is different from here. It's all different. The training was all good, but at the same time, it was very different. The style of play in every single country is different. It was just about adapting to the places I was at and how they play, how things work. All-in-all, it was good."
Upon his arrival back at the Crew's training ground in Obetz on Tuesday, Horton was welcomed with open arms by his teammates as he enters his third season with the Black & Gold.
"I'm happy to see everyone," he said. "Everyone here has welcomed me back warmly. I love these guys, I love my teammates. It was good to be around the coaches again, they were happy to see me back. It's good to be back."
During a busy weekend that consisted of two matches, and travel from Florida to North Carolina and from North Carolina to Columbus, several Crew players took to Twitter to honor their fallen teammate around the inaugural Kirk Urso Memorial Match. Even players who didn't get the chance to play alongside Urso like Dominic Oduro and Drew Beckie showed their respect.
Here are some of the highlights, 140 characters at a time:
— Ethan Finlay (@EthanFinlay13) February 24, 2013
Heading to North Carolina with my brothers to honor a teammate that was taken too soon. #KU15
— Josh Williams (@josh3williams) February 24, 2013
Urso was my roommate in residency, a hard worker, great player, and even better person. Looking forward to playing in his memory #crew96
— Ryan Finley (@Ryan_Finley9) February 24, 2013
— Aaron Schoenfeld (@aaronschoenfeld) February 24, 2013
It's your day bubs. Maybe I can hit a patented Urso bomb. Either way it's an honor 2 play in your memory. Miss u Kirk. Let's have fun 2day.
— Eric Gehrig (@eGehrig16) February 24, 2013
Just know you're not alone @kurso369 . We miss that witty funny humor you always had everyday with that outstanding hair and smile . So glad
— Justin Meram (@JustinMeram) February 24, 2013
I get to play today for you. We all love you and miss you so damn much! #KU15
— Justin Meram (@JustinMeram) February 24, 2013
— Tony Tchani (@TonyTchani23) February 24, 2013
— Dominic Oduro (@Freakyfast8) February 24, 2013
I know I gave up twitter for lent but I think The Lord allows a tweet for Kirk Urso, although I didn't know him, it's an honor to be here
— Drew Beckie (@DrewBeckie) February 24, 2013
Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum stopped to chat with TheCrew.com's Alex Caulfield following Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact.
The year was 2008.
Alejandro Moreno was heading to a team dinner on the eve of another road match. Suddenly, a request.
ESPN, the network broadcasting tomorrow's match, wanted to speak to Mr. Moreno.
Flush with excitement and perhaps a nerve or two--this was ESPN, after all--Moreno strode into the meeting room with the producers and broadcast talent, ready to speak clearly and candidly about the next day's match. He was going to knock this interview out of the park.
That is, until he found out he was only serving as a translater. For his strike partner, Guillermo Barros Schelotto. What a bummer.
Still, Moreno sucked it up and sat in the interview room for nearly two hours, orchestrating a conversation between the two parties. He didn't have to stay, it wasn't his job, but he did it anyway.
Three years later, Moreno's phone is ringing. It's ESPN, and they want to speak with him again. This time, however, it's because they want to offer him a job. Turns out being a good sport and choosing to stay in that interview room was a good call, after all.
Speaking in front of the 2013 version of the Columbus Crew, this was Moreno's lesson. Interviews and media obligations might not always seem like fun, but if you approach each one with a professionalism and a positive attitude, they can pay big dividends in the end, even after you're done playing.
Moreno's insight was just a part of a two-hour discussion on the ins-and-outs of dealing with the media in MLS, led by Dan Courtemanche, Will Kuhns and Gabriel Gabor. The training sessions have been utilized by 12 teams during this preseason as a way to make sure their players are sharp when they step outside the white lines.
For the young players, the information was new, and likely more thorough than they anticipated. For seasoned vets like Danny O'Rourke and Chad Marshall, the session served more as a refresher before the start of the campaign. These guys literally do hundreds of interviews a year, so it's good to be reminded of some key principles:
Mainly, show your personality, never lie, be a good person and stay away from doing things like this:
And of course, don't get yourselves in a situation like this, either: