Homegrown soccer star remembers his Greek roots

The Hellenic Journal caught up with Greek-American professional soccer player Wil Trapp. In January, Trapp played at the StubHub Center in Carson, California as captain of the United States Men’s National Team against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Trapp has spent the last four January’s in Los Angeles with the USMNT.

Wil Trapp playing for Columbia Crew. COURTESY PHOTO

“Being in LA has been wonderful and rewarded me with a great springboard for the start of my preseason while being able to play for the United States of America,” Trapp said. “Getting to know the area and the pockets of the city has been a great experience, with new surprises popping up each time. It’s a time of year I look forward to and the weather isn’t too bad either.”

Trapp has had soccer on the mind since he was 3 years old. Growing up in Central Ohio, Trapp said he began loving the sport as early as he can remember and would always watch his older siblings play. Now, the Greek-American and Columbus native is a professional soccer player for his hometown team. Trapp has played for the Columbus Crew since 2013 and is currently one of the team’s captains and defensive midfielders. Although the 25-year-old athlete has had much success during his career so far, he credits his strong faith and family.

“My family has been the biggest asset in my career,” Trapp said. “My upbringing taught me to work hard and maximize what God has given you.”

One great inspiration was Trapp’s late papou, Demetrios Michaelides, who was a semi-professional soccer player in Greece and emigrated to the United States in 1951. Michaelides was a constant fixture at Trapp’s Crew games and was previously known for bringing together Columbus’s immigrant population in soccer games and leagues.

“He was certainly someone that has shaped my life, not only as an athlete but as a man,” Trapp said. “Faith and hard work were just a couple of the principles that brought him over to the United States post-WWII. His passion for soccer was transferred to all of my siblings and it truly opened our eyes to this beautiful game that has given us so much.”

Trapp said that he often hears phrases from his papou before or during games and that he finds it special to have a connection with someone that is made even stronger through a sport. Trapp remembers his papou always doing the sign of the cross and said that it has reminded him to stay humble and thank God for his achievements. The hard work and dedication in his family and the Greek people are a constant source of inspiration for Trapp.

“Seeing my parents work hard with three young children, or my papou work 30 years in the same company, there is an instillment of dedication and commitment that has translated well into my career,” Trapp said.

As a young player, Trapp was awarded the Mid-American Conference Men’s Soccer Newcomer of the Year in 2011, US Soccer: Young Male Athlete of the Year in 2013 and The Major League Soccer All-Star in 2016. His advice to young athletes is that, although your sport can be hard and require constant sacrifice, success only comes by tirelessly working on your craft.

“The ones that have the greatest success know that (hard times) will happen and continue to push through and improve regardless of adversity,” he said. “That quality is in all of us, no matter the vocation or sport. Keep working on your craft every day and try to get that one percent better each day and you will see growth.”

Trapp’s personal goals are to continue to improve and achieve his potential both on and off the field.

“Soccer is so much more than what happens on the field,” Trapp said. “If I can help and serve others through this sport than I will be a happy man.”



Email the author: Elizabeth Tzagournis

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