Midfielder Wil Trapp is not only a leader for his hometown club, but also for his country. Trapp recently captained the Under-23 United States Men’s National Team in four CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying matches for Rio 2016.
“It was an awesome opportunity,” he says. “I had a blast. It was an honor to represent your country in a qualifying tournament. To be captain was also pretty cool. I had a great time with the group. I thought it was a very talented, hard-working and driven group.”
The young team went 4-1 in 13 days, with Trapp only resting for the group stage finale, a 4-0 win over Panama. He credits his talented teammates in the attack, including Jerome Kiesewetter and Jordan Morris, for creating chances and scoring goals, one of which he assisted.
“I can’t speak enough to the talent that was on the roster,” he says. “The guys who are coming up through the youth systems, whether they play in Europe, whether they play in MLS, [there's] lots of quality, lots of talent. I think it’s a bright future for U.S. Soccer.”
If Trapp continues to play like he has, he will be part of that bright future, leading a group of some of the most talented players in the nation in their quest to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“When you have a group like that, where you’re combining multiple U-20 cycles, younger guys and some older guys like myself, you just need to always be positive, always motivate, because bad spells are going to happen,” he says.
One of those tough moments occurred in the U.S. U-23s' 2-0 loss to Honduras, a match that stung a little more than others, as a win would have punched a ticket to Rio.
“I think we were super disappointed because that was the game we needed to win,” he says. “But as a whole, coming back and showing the resolve against Canada and forcing this playoff was huge for our group.”
The Red, White and Blue’s next shot at Rio comes in March when they play a home and away series with Columbia. Trapp says that he thinks these will be difficult matches, but that bouncing back from Honduras and beating Canada 2-0 showed the team's resolve.
“We have a lot of time to prepare, which is huge,” he says. “Maybe you’ll get some guys like John Anthony Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin because they’re age eligible. We’ll see. It’ll be a great and difficult task, but one we’re up for."