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Wil Trapp is feeling grounded heading into his second year as Columbus Crew SC captain

The 25-year-old went through a maturation process in 2017 and has the confidence of his teammates and coaches.

MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-New York City at Columbus Crew Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not uncommon for the ground to be frozen and snow to be present when Columbus Crew SC begins its first week of training. After a lengthy offseason that saw trips to California, Arizona, Hawaii and South Carolina, Crew SC captain Wil Trapp is happy to be home.

More importantly he is taking advantage of the unseasonably warm Central Ohio weather.

“It’s exciting the weather is nice, so we actually get to be outside and we are not fighting the cold,” Trapp said.

The Black & Gold returned home this week to prepare for its Major League Soccer season opener against the defending champions Toronto FC.

Saturday’s match marks the first time both clubs have played one another since their encounter last November. A series that saw the Black & Gold finish one goal shy of hosting its second MLS Cup in three years at MAPFRE Stadium.

Starting the season against a quality opponent like Toronto offers a great barometer of what direction the Black & Gold are heading in 2018. Trapp and his team are excited to face the defending champions.

‘We are battle tested (this preseason),” the Crew SC captain said. “We know they’ve gotten better and we’ve gotten better. I think there is some emotion attached to it of course. You always want to start the season being tested. We’re obviously being tested against a quality opponent, so it works out for us.”

Trapp’s sixth season began differently than the others. The Columbus captain reported to training camp with the United State Men’s National Team in Carson, California on Jan. 10. He was honored when he learned he would wear the armband for the U.S. during its friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition to captaining the U.S., 2018 marks the second year for Trapp as the Crew SC captain after he overcame challenges in his first year with the armband for his hometown team.

“Just trying to find my way through how to act, how to perform on a daily basis with the team,” Trapp said of his role last season. “I think the maturation process throughout the season is what I expected and wanted out of it.”

The Crew SC captain feels more grounded coming into the 2018 season and that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter is pleased with the growth he sees in Trapp, and realizes the benefit it has on the team.

“We installed the leadership council again this year and we have a couple new members to the group,” Berhalter said. “I think he is the leader of that group, it’s very much leadership by committee. He’s also a guy that leads by example everyday and when push comes to shove he is there for the team.”