[THIRTEEN FOR '13]Soccer America begins a series on the top college and youth players who may be turning pro in 2013. In the case of college underclassmen or high school seniors, they have to weigh turning pro or staying in or going to college. They also have to consider whether to join MLS or seek opportunities abroad. Akron sophomore Wil Trappis considered one of the top midfielders in the country. The Columbus Crew has offered him a homegrown contract. If he signs, he could be part of the largest homegrown class an MLS club has ever signed.
MLS clubs had until this week to notify the league office of players they intend to offer homegrown contracts, and the exclusion of goalkeeperJustin Luthy (Boston College) and defenders Chad Barson(Akron) and Matt Wiet (UCLA) from those invited to the 2013 adidas MLS Combine would indicate they have all been offered deals by the Crew.
But the top prize from the Crew's deep academy program is Trapp, who hails from Gahanna in suburban Columbus and attended Brad Friedel's short-lived Premier Soccer Academies along with Luthy before finishing up at Gahanna Lincoln High School, which he led to an Ohio Division I state championship in 2009. He was the 2010 NSCAA High School Player of the Year and a two-time All-Mid-American pick at Akron.
Trapp is one of the leading candidates for U.S. under-20 national team that will participate in Concacaf qualifying in February. Crew technical director Brian Bliss has also worked with the U.S. U-20s and coached the Crew U-19s for which Trapp scored the winning goal in the final of the 2012 McGuire Cup, against GSA Phoenix. He also won the USL Super-20 League with the Crew in 2011.
"[Trapp] is a decent ball handler," Bliss told thecrew.com earlier this year. "He can help us build out of the back. I think he understands the game pretty well, so he's a good organizer defensively. He's somebody you can play through. He's got a good dual role [in the midfield]."
Trapp's mother, Liz Trapp, told the Columbus Dispatch that he had hired an agent and was considering the Crew offer and opportunities abroad.
Up until now, all of the Crew's homegrown signings have played in college: Aaron Horton (Louisville), Matt Lampson (Ohio State) and Ben Speas (Akron and North Carolina).
Bliss recently cited Ben Swanson, George Braima and Carter Richardson and Parker Siegfried, both sophomore goalies, as other players to watch in the Crew Academy Program.
The player to keep an eye on is Swanson, a 15-year-old midfielder who entered the U-17 residency program in the fall and started in the final game at the recent Nike International Friendlies against Portugal. He was only one of three 13-year-olds in the country to play in the Development Academy in 2010-11.