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Wil Trapp reflects on his first year as Columbus Crew SC captain

The midfielder feels ready to lead the Black & Gold to glory in 2018.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 season was one of new responsibilities for Wil Trapp. Handed Columbus Crew SC’s captain’s armband after the departure of center back Michael Parkhurst, the 24-year-old midfielder embraced his new role and experienced a handful of different feelings with the club over the last 10 months.

A native from Gahanna, Ohio, the Homegrown Player is certainly one of the elements of Crew SC’s roster with deeper connections to the club and the city. One of the youngest captains in the league, Trapp acknowledges the progression he had on the new role as the season evolved.

“It was a huge learning year for me,” he said when reflecting about the season. “I think from the beginning of the year to the end I made great strides with just how I felt addressing the team, how I felt assuming this role as the captain of the team. And that’s also something I’m encouraged and excited about for next year.”

His development didn’t go unnoticed. Head coach Gregg Berhalter, who picked Trapp to be the captain of the club in 2017, was pleased about the way he assumed the role and stepped up to his new responsibilities.

To Berhalter, Trapp excelled not only in his captain duties but also on becoming a true leader for Crew SC, on and off the field. And all of that in a year when the roster had to deal with the announcement of a possible club relocation that came just before the team began its playoff run.

“I think it was really nice to see his progression and his growth throughout the season,” the head coach noted. “He got much more comfortable with the role, he embraced it, but also did a lot more on the field and off the field as a leader. It was nice to see how he grew and it’s nice to see how the leadership council supported him.”

The council is another successful leadership experience in the coach’s eyes. The group established in the preseason was made up of defenders Josh Williams and Jonathan Mensah and midfielders Ethan Finlay (who was traded to Minnesota United), Justin Meram and Federico Higuain and was tasked with supporting Trapp during his first season as a captain.

The experience passed the test and will be repeated next season.

“I think it was very effective, particularly on helping Wil, but also in communication with the coaching staff in key decisions. That was an idea we are happy with and we will continue on,” Berhalter announced.

If the 2017 version of Trapp was better than the 2016, odds are the 2018 Trapp will be in an even better position to lead Crew SC on and off the field. And expectations are high.

“For me, that’s my job,” Trapp said. “To guide the team along, to continue to usher us into hopefully another successful season, but that ends in a trophy instead of without one.”

So be it.