Fortune and family brought veteran U.S. Men's National Team member Wil Trapp to Minnesota United on Tuesday in a free-agent signing meant to give the club its new starting defensive midfielder.
A week before he turns 28, Trapp gives Loons coach Adrian Heath that "No. 6" position player in his prime. The team adds him as the 2021 season fast approaches while it discusses a playing role as well for 35-year-old captain Ozzie Alonso, its star starter at that position when he was healthy the past two seasons.
Tuesday's signing also brings Trapp and his wife, Beth, to a new home where she has family members in St. Paul and nearby Hudson, Wis.
"Funny enough," Trapp said.
Trapp said Heath and Loons technical director Mark Watson recruited him immediately and enthusiastically in MLS' free-agency period. They did so after Trapp's contract expired when his Inter Miami CF team's season ended with a playoff play-in loss at Nashville. Trapp played his first seven MLS seasons for his hometown Columbus Crew — most of them with current Loons veteran Ethan Finlay — before he played in 2020 with expansion Inter Miami after a January trade.
"As a player, you want to go somewhere where you're wanted," Trapp said in a video conference call with reporters. "Minnesota from the beginning was the strongest and most boisterous about it. It's like real estate: Your first offer tends to be the strongest, so we negotiated and found something that worked for both sides."
It didn't hurt that Trapp followed the Loons' playoff run as they came within minutes of reaching the MLS Cup final.
"I was very excited to see a team that was in the playoffs, that was playing so well, that wanted me to come help them take that next step," Trapp said. "It's certainly something we're very excited about."
Heath in a statement called his club "obviously delighted to get a player of his age, quality and experience" as well as a veteran who has played 20 games with the U.S. national team, dating to 2015. Trapp is not one of 12 USMNT players training in a joint camp with the U23 national team that starts Saturday in Florida.
"My job is being the link between the back half of the team to the front half," Trapp said. "That's something fans can expect, linking the team together. When it's firing on all cylinders, it's usually because I'm doing my job well."
His Columbus team won 1-0 at TCF Bank on July 4 during Minnesota United's inaugural 2017 season and lost by the same score at Allianz Field in May 2019. A month later, he visited the new stadium with his national team for a CONCACAF Gold Cup game.
"It's a place that packs a punch," Trapp said. "Now to be on the other side, to sing the 'Wonderwall' thing, I can't wait."
• United midfielder Hassani Dotson was called to the U23 national team camp to prepare for Tokyo Olympics qualifying. So, too, was San Jose midfielder Jackson Yueill of Bloomington.