Kirk Urso was recently honored with the Illinois Youth Soccer Career Achievement Award along with Birmingham City defender Jonathan Spector. The award was started in 2013 and given to Illinois Youth Soccer alumni who have achieved great success on the soccer field while also making an impact off the field. Kirk and Jonathan join Brian McBride as the only recipients of the award.
"We have known Kirk since he started participating in our Illinois Olympic Development Program (ODP) process," said Mary Jane Bender of the Illinois Youth Soccer Association. "He was not only a talented, hard-working and disciplined soccer player but a very kind and thoughtful person. While Kirk was in residence at the U.S. Training Camp in Bradenton, he welcomed our Illinois ODP team players who came to play his National Team and even joined us for dinner to their great delight. He volunteered in our Illinois Soccer for Success program for at-risk children living in Chicago’s inner city. He participated as a coach-in-training in our Illinois ODP camps and was a role model to the younger players. Kirk always had a smile on his face and is the personification of sportsmanship.
"He made the U.S. soccer community a better place."
Urso was drafted 10th overall in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft by the Crew and made 6 appearances in his rookie season before passing away suddenly on August 5, 2012 due to a congenital heart defect.
Wil Trapp was just a high schooler when the Crew claimed its 2008 MLS Cup title anchored in part by Brian Carroll's play in central midfield. While it was Guillermo Barros Schelotto's playmaking magic that caught Trapp's eye at the time, the 21-year-old looks back now at Carroll's presence on the field in admiration as he gets set to face the Black & Gold's former midfield stalwart, now with the Philadelphia Union, for the first time as a pro on Saturday (6:00 p.m. ET / TICKETS).
"I guess I didn't watch him as much as I should've back then, I was more focused on guys like Schelotto," Trapp admitted at the Crew's media day on Thursday. "Now that I look back, I think his leadership qualities and the way he gets the ball, moves it and keeps the tempo and rhythm in the game is huge. He did that for the team that won in 2008.
"I think that's something I can bring to the table, but I can also improve on."
Carroll missed the Union's match against the New England Revolution due to illness; the 32-year-old veteran could be back in Philadelphia's lineup for Saturday's match.
The Crew Soccer Academy's Sean Zawadzki was called-in to U.S. U-14 Boys' National Team camp earlier this week by Head Coach Tony Lepore. The camp will run from March 22-30 in Carson, Calif. While in Florida for the Black & Gold's preseason, Crew legend Frankie Hejduk paid a visit to Zawadski while the youngster was training with the U-14 BNT in Lakewood Ranch.
Good Day Columbus' Dana Turtle paid a visit to Crew Stadium on Tuesday ahead of Opening Match on Saturday.
This Wednesday, March 19 - Time Warner Cable SportsChannel presents a Black and Gold Original Series, The Crew: A New Era.
Host Dwight Burgess sits down with new Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter and new Investor-Operator Anthony Precourt to discuss their vision and plans for the club.
For more information, go to twcsportschannel.com.