During the entire Grand Theft Massive saga, perhaps no player shouldered a bigger burden than Wil Trapp. As captain of his hometown team, Trapp was tasked with leading his teammates through the turmoil while also feeling its effects on a deeply personal level.
Along the way, Trapp lifted the fanbase’s spirits in some unorthodox ways. For example, he scored a goal. Not only did he score a goal, but it was a preposterous bomb of a goal that beat Orlando in stoppage time during the dog days of an Austin-headlined summer. This clip never gets old:
And here’s what I wrote about it at the time.
Trapp also bolstered spirits by proudly/defiantly wearing a fan-designed captain’s armband that included the logos of the main supporter groups in the Nordecke as a show of solidarity. Columbus Dispatch columnist Michael Arace did an outstanding job writing up that story if you’d like a refresher.
Anyway, now that we are on the eve of the 2019 season that many assured us that we would never have, Trapp carved out some time at media day for some #SavedTheCrew talk. Here’s what he had to say…
On what it was like to endure the relocation ordeal and now to know that the Crew have been saved:
I don’t want to overuse the phrase, but it’s been a roller coaster. It’s been limbo. The whole time you’re wondering, “What’s going to happen? Where will we be?” All the while as players, we were just focused on playing, which was great with that shroud hanging over us.
For the offseason to come, and the announcements to happen, and for all of these things to come to a head in many ways, it’s just special, man. It’s just special to see what Morgan (Hughes) and the #SaveTheCrew people put together from the day it was announced on October 17, 2017, until this thing was saved. Not only did they put together an admirable effort, but they showed the country and the world, so to speak, that this is a viable place for soccer and we’re not going to let it go.
On not having much of a refuge from the situation since it’s his hometown team and his family and friends were also impacted:
There’s a different commitment and ownership that I had, probably. I saw how it affected my family, my friends, and just the community in general. But then to see the elation when the tide turned was incredible. These Cinderella stories don’t happen often. You wouldn’t have thought that it was going to play out the way it did, but it did, and that’s awesome and is something that needs to be celebrated.
On Dr. Pete being part of the new Crew ownership group:
It’s special to have Pete as an owner. His charisma and excitement for the game, to be stepping into a new role, it’s palpable. He’s just a wonderful advocate.
He’s amazing. He comes in and he’s always upbeat and he’s always trying to grow and innovate and push, and we’re feeding off that energy as a club. We fed off that that energy as players when he was the team doctor. He’s transitioning well into the mode as a team owner.
The whole courtship in terms of whether we were staying or leaving or whatever, Pete just all along, you’d hear a report and he’d just give you a side-eye to it and just be real coy with things. And then ultimately he came through with the Haslam family and they saved this thing.
On the plans for the downtown stadium and to keep MAPFRE Stadium intact as part of the new training facility and community sports park:
The preservation of Crew Stadium slash MAPFRE Stadium, for that landmark for U.S. soccer to remain, that was a brilliant idea. I couldn’t have been more impressed with not only the plan, but the thinking behind it. When it comes to be, I think it will be great not only for the first team, but also the academy teams, a reserve team, maybe a USL team, as well as the local community. The plan really does encompass all aspects.
The downtown stadium is just an evolution of MLS. It’s something that’s becoming a requirement in many ways. For the ownership group to be so gung-ho about doing that is so great to see because it shows commitment. They are committed to this city and committed to making Columbus Crew SC and the sport of soccer something big.
On wearing the fan-designed supporter-themed armband on the field in 2018, a replica of which will be given out as a promotional item on Saturday:
That was something where a fan group gave it to my mom. My mom said, “Hey, here it is.” Obviously it’s such a special piece of memorabilia. Then I thought, “Okay, I wonder if I can wear this?” There were a couple of inroads that said it’s probably not the wisest thing, but I just wore it in the game and I couldn’t have been happier for that decision. You could see, and I felt, the reaction of the fans and how much it meant to them. It was a small thing, but in embattled times, I think small things go a long way, and it was my little way of showing my appreciation for what they were going through and what I was going through internally.
On what he would say to the fans that fueled the #SaveTheCrew movement ahead of Saturday’s Crewsmas match:
Saturday will be a wonderful celebration, but sometimes the journey, as tough as it is, is the most romantic part. What they’ve done, and what those people have shown their character to be, they deserve all the credit. We just play soccer. For them to rally the troops and to never give up is a story that needs to be celebrated.
A MASSIVE SEASON is now available as an ebook.