During our youth, we were all asked the same question seemingly a million times: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For diehard sports fans, the answer was so easy. “I want to be a star in my favorite pro sport! For my hometown team! I want all my family and friends to be at every game. Oh, and I am going to lead us to a title!”
If that was you, it may seem crazy to think about now, or maybe that’s still exactly what you are striving to be. But either way, there are actually a very select few who have been able to take this career path. Exhibit A: Columbus midfielder Wil Trapp.
“My grandfather played semi-pro soccer in Greece and actually started one of the first international leagues here in Columbus when he emigrated to the U.S. in 1950,” Wil said. “My family has lived here ever since.”
The 23-year-old grew up in Gahanna, a Columbus suburb, with his parents and two older siblings, both of whom picked up soccer at a young age. His family connection to soccer and the city helped him advance in soccer much quicker than others his age.
“When I was six and my brother was nine, my dad was the coach of his team. Their trainer was a man named Andy Azomba,” Wil explained. “After my own practice, I would head over to theirs, and Andy would say ‘Hey Wil, why don’t you hop in?’ So I would work out and train with people much older than me. I learned all about some footwork and cone drills during that time that I still use to this day.”
His head start paid off by the time he hit Lincoln High School, where he helped lead the team to a D-I state title in 2009 and was named the national high school player of the year in 2010. When it came to choosing a college, he stayed in state, winding up at the University of Akron. And to top it all off, he captained Columbus’ Crew Academy teams during this time (they claimed a national title in 2012 because of course they did.)
You get the picture. Wil is really good, stayed in the area, and lead his team to championships at every level. So, by the time he signed his homegrown contract and stepped up from the academy to the pro team, expectations were understandably sky-high. And Wil delivered.
He quickly became a lynchpin in the middle of the field and, after returning from a difficult concussion, was a crucial part of the squad’s 2015 title cup appearance — their first since 2008. They fell just short, losing to Portland 2-1 in heartbreaking fashion.
“We came up short in our quest for the cup, but that’s made us even hungrier this year,” Wil explained.
And with such advanced success at a young age, that home field advantage, and the unyielding support of his family and friends, Wil is ready to make that final part of his dream a reality.
“I absolutely am giving my all to try and win the title,” Wil said. “Not just for myself and for my team, but for the city of Columbus. They deserve it.”