MLSsoccer.com unveiled its yearly 24 Under 24 list on Thursday, counting down the top young talent in the League. In the midst of a breakout season anchoring the Crew midfield, 20-year-old Homegrown product Wil Trapp slots in at number nine on the list as the Black & Gold's lone representative on the countdown.
In his second professional season, Trapp debuts on the list after captaining the United States at the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and starting 39 of the Crew's last 46 matches dating back to July 7, 2013. All the while, Trapp has become one of the top distributors in MLS and a vocal leader as the Black & Gold's Vice-Captain en route to earning U.S. Soccer's Young Male Athlete of the Year award at the end of 2013.
"It's cool, it's cool to be included in the list and be recognized," Trapp acknowledged following Thursday's training session. "I think there are a lot of young and talented guys [in MLS], so to be selected in the top ten is obviously a great achievement, but but there's a lot more to focus on than a list of players."
One of six Homegrown Players currently on the Crew roster, Trapp is one of the model players the Crew Soccer Academy and other MLS club academies are working to produce. Trapp is joined on the 24 Under 24 list by fellow Homegrown Players around the League such as Seattle's DeAndre Yedlin, LA's Gyasi Zardes and New England's Diego Fagundez.
The list also serves as a showcase of the progress the League's academies have made in recent years.
"If you look at a lot of the players on the list, I'm sure it's mostly guys who've come up through their respective club's Academy system," Trapp stated. "That's a testament itself, just to show that the League's come a long way in growing and developing pros that are starting to contribute and be major factors on the first-team stage, myself included in that. I think it's very promising and exciting to see the next round of guys come into that mold."
What's next for Trapp? The Gahanna native has been included in preliminary camps for the United States' qualifying campaign for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil and has hopes for eventually breaking into the U.S. senior team.
"Next year, and beyond that, I want to continue to grow and develop here; get more consistent minutes, even more so than I've had; get more consistent performances and hopefully break into the Olympic team and hopefully the National Team," he explained.
But for now, Trapp's most dire goal is right in front of him: help the Crew return to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2011.
"This season, it's a team goal: make the playoffs. That's the biggest thing for us right now. We're right in the thick of it. That's something we really need to focus on and I think if we get into the playoffs, it's anybody's game."