Wil Trapp may be moving on to the next stop in his career, but not before looking back at his most recent and challenge-filled one.
Minnesota United announced on Tuesday that it signed Trapp as a free agent, marking the start of a new chapter for the center midfielder that spent 2020 with Inter Miami. Trapp’s focus now is on transitioning to life in the midwest with the Loons ahead of the upcoming MLS season, but he talked on Tuesday afternoon about the biggest issues he thinks prevented his former side from reaching the ambitious heights that had been set for its inaugural campaign.
“I do think so much of what was difficult (in 2020) was, sure, being an expansion team and being an expansion team during COVID, but just building a foundation of who we were as a team,” said Trapp. “I do not think we got to that point where we knew exactly what we were and you could see it in the final (playoff) game. You are playing another expansion team in Nashville that ultimately knew who they were and they had put the system and the foundation in place to achieve that and we were, again, a collection of individuals.
“Granted, it was a strong roster and there were super, super high-level players, but it is a team game so to try to make it all work I think there was still something left on the table and something left wanting in that regard.”
Having begun 2020 talking about competing for trophies right out of the gate, Inter Miami fell well short of its self-imposed lofty expectations. The Herons finished the COVID-impacted campaign in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with a 7-13-3 record, only qualifying for the expanded playoff field on the final day of the regular season with a win and some outside help.
The ensuing first-round elimination to fellow expansion side Nashville SC by a 3-0 mark ultimately punctuated a disappointing and frustrating inaugural year for Inter Miami, and the offseason has been a telenovela of sorts. First, the team mutually agreed to part ways with sporting director Paul McDonough, and then came an odd turn of events that led to head coach Diego Alonso believing he was fired when he actually had not been.
Trapp believes that there are currently lots of questions about the state of Inter Miami.
“Moving forward I think the club has an interesting situation to be in at the moment with Paul stepping down and where does that put things,” said Trapp. “Who are the players that come in, who leaves. It becomes a tall order of now who is making decisions and how do they progress forward.
“Obviously I am close with a lot of guys on the team and try to just kind of get whispers here and there, but for the most part I think guys are just trying to focus on what they can control and that is ultimately getting fit and getting ready for the start of the season — whoever the coach is, whatever the situation.”
The eight-year MLS veteran joins Minnesota after one season with 2020 expansion side Inter Miami.
Prior to Miami, Trapp had spent his entire professional career with Columbus Crew SC.
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) January 5, 2021
As for Trapp and his new situation, he is excited to get going with Minnesota United. The Loons made a deep playoff push in 2020 before losing to MLS Cup finalists the Seattle Sounders, and Trapp is eager to add what he can to a talented group that is looking to raise an MLS Cup trophy. What’s more, his wife Beth has family in and around the Twin Cities, so there will be plenty of familiar faces to greet them when they arrive.
Miami is officially in the rearview mirror, and Minnesota is on the horizon.
“I very much was looking at what the bevy of options would be, whether it was staying in Miami or going elsewhere,” said Trapp. “Minnesota had been all along been the most diligent in reaching out, the most diligent in monitoring the situation, and ultimately they put together a package that we felt that made the most sense and we could not refuse.”
“For us, it was kind of a no-brainer in the end.”