Wil Trapp: The heir apparent to Kyle Beckerman?


Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

In just his second season in MLS and first season under new Columbus Crew head coach and sporting director, Gregg BerhalterWil Trapp has developed into one of the most dependable, consistent midfielders in the league. After seeing the impact that Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman had in the World Cup, many pundits have turned their attention to Trapp as a like-for-like switch for 2018.

Matt Doyle of MLSsoccer.com predicted that Trapp will make the final 23-man roster that goes to Russia in 2018, likely sitting behind Philadelphia Union midfielder Maurice Edu. Edu made the 30-man roster this go-around but Jurgen Klinsmann elected that Beckerman and Jermaine Jones would be enough to hold down the fort at the defensive midfield position.

With all the attention surrounding Trapp at both the MLS and international levels, it is only right that we dissect the young midfield prospect.

Experience for a youngster

Shortly after Berhalter took over the Crew, Trapp spent two weeks training with the Dutch side PEC Swolle, where Berhalter started his professional career as a player. Not only did the Crew’s young standout mention the amount that he learned overseas and was able to bring back to Columbus, but he could not say a single bad word about his time there.

“Their day-to-day training environment is a perfectionist environment; every touch is clean, every pass is on the ground and to your feet,” Trapp said. “I think the speed of play improved my awareness and my movement and how to find angles and support.”

In terms of international experience, Trapp played with in the U-20 World Cup for the United States in Turkey in 2013, and if that wasn’t enough, he managed to bring home some hardware by winning the 2013 USSF Young Male Athlete of the Year award.

Beckerman-like qualities

Perhaps the biggest quality that everyone drooled over in Brazil was his ability to aid in possession and simply not make mistakes. While he may have never played the 60-yard jaw-dropping ball over the top, he rarely turned the ball over, and when he did, it was never in an area that left the back four in a susceptible position.

Beckerman’s simple approach garnered the attention of fans and analysts across not only the nation, but the world. At 32 years of age, the defensive midfielder with perhaps the best hair in the entire tournament finally received the appreciation for what he has been doing on a daily basis for his entire career.

Trapp is similar to Beckerman in a variety of ways. First, he does an excellent job of acting as a shield for the center backs. Whether it be his work rate defensively or his willingness to drop back to the point that he serves as a third center back to offer another option to keep possession, Trapp is always looking to help out the central defense.

Take the picture above for instance. Look just how far back that he has dropped to offer cover for his center backs. His positioning allowed Giancarlo Gonzalez to push farther out right, becoming another option to keep possession. Trapp does all the little things incredibly well for such a young player. It’s not every day that you see a 21-year old midfielder that can be the type of calming presence that Wil Trapp is for Columbus.

Sticking to defensive side of the ball, his understanding of the game and awareness are way beyond his years. His ability to cut out passes by reading and eliminating passing lanes is top-notch. It cannot be underestimated just how much of a luxury having a player that is capable of doing those things can be for a team.

When Columbus has possession, Trapp is always finding ways to make himself available, acting as an option and safety blanket for his teammates. He gets himself into positive spaces, similar to Beckerman, and then quickly releases the ball out to the channels.

Trapp possesses the uncanny ability to start the attack by picking out the picking out the correct first pass. More often than not, when Columbus dispossess their opponent, they look to Trapp to distribute the ball and free up their creative players to do what they do best.