Goalkeeper Matt Lampson (shown here during the 2013 season) and midfielder Wil Trapp were selected for the 2014 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game 10 p.m. Aug. 4 at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.



Columbus Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter hopes backup goalkeeper Matt Lampson and midfielder Wil Trapp provide inspiration to the other players currently in the Columbus Crew Academy program. Lampson and Trapp are among 20 players selected for the 2014 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game 10 p.m. Aug. 4 at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.

The Crew is one of seven teams that placed two players on the all-star squad, which will play the Portland Timbers’ Under-23 side in a game that will be streamed live on WatchESPN.com and MLSsoccer.com.

“We’re excited for Wil and Matt to have this opportunity,” Berhalter says. “Their selection is a testament to the hard work and success of the Crew Youth system, and specifically our Academy program. We’re pleased to be among the MLS leaders in Homegrown Player development. We’re proud of all seven of our current Homegrowns and their contributions to our organization.”


“Any time you get grouped with players of that caliber it’s a good thing, especially in the inaugural game,” adds Lampson who will share goalkeeping duties with Sporting Kansas City’s Jon Kempin. “It’s a sign of what the Crew Academy has to offer and it will be a little inspiration to the guys who are there now.”


If Academy players need someone to aspire to be, Lampson would not be a bad choice. Diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma his senior year at St. Charles Preparatory School, the keeper has fought his way back to have a stellar career at Ohio State and become the second Homegrown player selected by the Crew in 2011.

The invitation to play in the Homegrown All-Star game is not the first time Lampson has been honored by the MLS. Lampson, who often wears green ribbons on his goalkeeper gloves to raise awareness of Hodgkin’s disease, was awarded a MLS Works Humanitarian award for his work as a spokesperson for Ohio’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Lampson teamed up with the LLS to create Team Lamp Strong, a group dedicated to raise money for cancer awareness and research. In its first year, Lamp Strong raised over $14,000 for the Central Ohio LLS Chapter.

“That award was significantly bigger than myself,” he says. “The award shows what people can accomplish post treatment.”

When he was a senior in high school, Lampson knew something was wrong with his body but he didn’t know what. He was constantly short of breath and had severe night sweats. He was fainting and unexpectedly dropping weight.

Two weeks before graduation from St. Charles, Lampson learned he had Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a blood cancer that causes cells to grow abnormally and hampers the body’s ability to fight infection.

“There had been symptoms but, at the same time, you don’t think it’s cancer,” the Hilliard resident says. “When I found out it wasn’t necessarily a depressing moment. The thought of failure never entered my mind. My immediate thought was ‘what do I have to do to beat this?’ That’s all I really cared about for a year or so. That is one of the reasons why I was so successful coming out.”

Soccer took a backseat while Lampson underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments for the disease. He was red-shirted by Northern Illinois and eventually transferred to Ohio State. He attributes his desire to get back into soccer shape as a key factor in pushing himself to recover from his treatment.

“During treatment, your blood count is so low and you don’t have any energy to do anything,” Lampson says. “Soccer was massive for me to get through. It’s the little moments when I could go out there and kick a soccer ball or play around with a group of guys that keep you going.

“At the same time, it was excruciating because you can’t play at the level you used to do. It was kind of a Catch-22.”

Eventually Lampson regained his form and became a stand-out keeper for Ohio State. He finished second on the Buckeyes career shutouts list with 24. In his first season back to competitive soccer, he earned the Big Ten co-Freshman of the Year and a second team all-Big Ten selection in 2009 after guiding the Buckeyes to a 10-4-3 record. He collected nine shutouts (the fourth best in Ohio State season) and had 0.73 goals-against average.

Lampson had an even better sophomore year, collecting 10 shutouts and led the Big Ten with a 0.72 goals-against average and a .858 save percentage as Ohio State finished 11-6-3 overall. He made first team all-Big Ten and All-Great Lakes Region. His junior year, he had a 1.13 goals per game with five shutouts and was named the team’s co-MVP after a 10-7-2 season.

After college, Lampson was thrilled when he signed with the Crew, a team he grew up watching.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to represent the city I grew up in,” he says. “It’s a cool message to send for kids who are doing what I did. It shows them you can do it. It’s not easy but you can do it.”

It hasn’t been easy for Lampson. After starting in all 56 games with Ohio State, the keeper has had to patiently wait his turn with the Columbus Crew. He has yet to log any minutes in the first 20 games this season and serves as a backup to Steve Clark.

However Lampson knows things can change in a hurry. After playing only three games in his rookie season in 2012, Lampson was thrust into action last season after Andy Gruenebaum (now with Kansas City) was injured. Lampson compiled a 7-6 record with five shutouts and a 1.38 goals against average in Gruenebaum’s absence.

“Injuries are a part of the game. I was waiting for my opportunity,” Lampson says. “Last year I took it and ran with it. I really developed into a quality goalkeeper. That’s the reality of professional sports: you have to get opportunities like that and as long as you make the most out of them it will work out for you in the end.
“I know I’m a starting caliber goalkeeper in this league. I’m just waiting for my shot.”