Wil Trapp is a popular guy these days.
After earning his first cap with the U.S. Men's National Team in a 3-2 loss to Chile in Rancagua last week, the 22-year-old Crew SC Homegrown midfielder checked his phone to find a barrage of Twitter notifications and text messages of congratulations from a continent away in Columbus.
"The fans were excellent," Trapp said over the phone from USMNT camp in Carson, Calif. "My family, everyone in Columbus… I checked my Twitter [after the match] and it was non-stop. I couldn’t be more grateful and more honored by their support and this opportunity."
Trapp wasn't certain that he'd make his National Team debut in Chile, but prepared himself accordingly following Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann's pre-game message to the team.
"[Klinsmann] didn’t talk to me individually, but he did mention that a lot of the subs were probably going to get in the game," Trapp recalled. "I had a decent idea that maybe I’d get to play. I was just kind of mentally preparing myself for it."
From the bench, Trapp watched as Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore put the U.S. up 2-1 in the first half. Finally, at the hour mark, Klinsmann called upon Trapp to take the field for NYCFC midfielder Mix Diskerud.
The Gahanna native calls the moment a "whirlwind."
"It was a whirlwind," he explained. "You’re just thinking about your role in the game and trying to suppress the excitement to get in your first game, your first cap. It was a lot of things coming at once… But it was really exciting. Once you’re on the field, it’s just another game. You’re not thinking about it being your first cap or whatever."
Chile would go on to score two goals unanswered, handing the Americans a road loss in the friendly. Despite the defeat, Trapp is relieved to have his first cap out of the way.
Leaning on the experience of his former University of Akron teammate and Tottenham Hotspur defender DeAndre Yedlin, Trapp knows things can only go get better beyond his first cap.
"I talked to DeAndre on the bus ride back. He said — and I kind of felt this way too, ‘The first cap is very much just getting the nerves out,’" he said. "It definitely felt like that. Getting that first game out of the way, it’s never going to be perfect. You’re never going to be too satisfied with your performance. I think it was just a great stepping stone in terms of ‘Okay, it’s done. It’s over. All the nerves of the first cap are finished and now I can focus on playing.’
"It was great to have that experience, but I’m happy it’s out of the way and now I can move on and hopefully have multiple caps."
Trapp will look to earn his second USMNT cap on Sunday (4:00 p.m. ET / ESPN) when the Americans welcome Panama to the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.