The Crew have already signed Wil Trapp to a home grown contract and defender Chad Barson is likely to officially sign in the next week. That would be two of the four Crew Soccer Academy signings that the team was looking to make this offseason. The team is still hoping to bring in Matt Weit and Justin Luthy to compete for spaces on the team.
Massive Report's Patrick Guldan recently caught up with Top Drawer Soccer's Travis Clark to talk about the Crew's home grown class.
Patrick Guldan: Where do you see Will Trapp in his development. Do you expect him to start in 2013?
Travis Clark: I wouldn't say that Trapp is ready to step in and play significant minutes right away in MLS. He's in sort of a transition stage right now: wants to hold a spot on the U20 MNT for qualifying, has more or less exhausted what he can get out of playing college soccer, but isn't quite going to jump onto the pro field in preseason.
PG: Trapp comes from the Akron factory that plays the 4-3-3 posession style. How does he play and what's his biggest weakness?:
TC: Trapp is a holding/defensive midfielder, great on the ball, uses both feet well and can link play up across the field. His size(5-foot-8, 150 lbs.) will be the biggest hurdle to overcome in MLS. I have no doubt that he will, it's just a question of how long it takes, either two months of preseason or perhaps a year or two.
PG: Trapp is seen as the crown jewel of the Crew Soccer Academy. Do you see any players in the league he reminds you of?
TC: There's no question that the Crew has signed an extremely talented youngster who should continue to blossom at the pro level. Should he do that, best comparison of MLS players for me would be a Will Johnson or Osvaldo Alonso type (less of a destroyer than Alonso, though).
PG: Barson will likely sign once MLS approve his paperworks. He is coming off a year where he made Top Drawer Soccer's 2nd team. Can he be a starter in the league?
TC: Of the three Home Grown signings the Crew are likely to lock down this season, Barson is the one most ready to step in to MLS. He reads the game well, is good on the ball, and overcomes his lack of physical presence (under 6-feet tall) to clean things up well.
That doesn't mean he's going to be a consistent starter in the coming year. It's really hard to know how any college player will adapt to the next level, of course. And then there's the question of just how good of a defender he is, as Akron controls the ball so well that he never had to defend a great deal in long stretches.
PG: Wiet is another center back on the Crew's wish list. Where do you see him at the pro level?
TC: Wiet is definitely a depth player. The left-footed center back actually missed the team's tournament game where they were crushed 5-2 by San Diego, showing how important he was to his UCLA side. He's someone you can hope make some strides, contribute maybe a little as a rookie, but definitely not on the same level as his Akron counterpart.
I feel like Wiet's stock was higher last year when UCLA made the College Cup run, and perhaps he didn't quite have the same year everyone expected of him -- though to be fair the team around him lost a lot of talent.
PG: Luthy appears to fill a hole for the team, but he doesn't really show up on many draft boards. Does he look to be anything more than a third string keeper?
TC: Statistically, Luthy has played almost every minute of his college career, no small feat at the Division 1 level. However, from people I've talked to, and from what I've seen myself, the pro game might be a bridge too far for him. For a GK, he's not really dazzling in the size department (6-feet, 170 pounds), though he's put up some solid numbers along that four year stretch. Naturally, it's hard to judge a goalkeeper and I'll admit to not knowing a great deal about him on the field aside from a game or two seen over the last two seasons.
It's a way for the Crew to nab another local kid, and if he blossoms into anything more, even better. Just don't expect -- and hope -- that he isn't a No. 1 guy. I think much more highly of Lampson.
With Trapp in the fold and Barson ready to sign, the Crew have picked the two best players in the Academy. Weit and Luthy appear to be ready to add depth to the squad. It doesn't appear that any of the four will be ready to line up on opening day, but the Black and Gold secure the rights to a top prospect while filling out the back line.
A special thanks to Top Drawer Soccer's Travis Clark for providing expert insight in the 2012 home grown prospects.