There’s a vital mentality for any young athlete: be ready when your name is called, and when the opportunity comes, take it. No one has personified that mentality quite like Miles Robinson this year. Largely a bit part player last year, the former #2 pick in the MLS SuperDraft has blossomed in his first real run of first-team minutes this year.
“Miles has been fantastic all season long,” said Michael Parkhurst after Sunday’s match. “He’s probably been our best player. He’s taken his opportunity and run with it, and now, we can’t take him off the field.”
Sunday was no exception. Robinson’s dominant defensive display was a big reason Atlanta United earned another league point. His goal-line clearance saved a certain goal, and his steady hand in the back snuffed out threatening chance after chance.
“He’s playing with a new-found confidence,” added Brad Guzan. “That’s what happens when you get chances and you play well to take those chances. You continue to produce quality performances. He gets everything that’s coming his way. He’s been probably one of our best players this season.”
The performances go well beyond this week. Robinson has gone head to head with some of the best attacking players in North America, from Wayne Rooney to Monterrey’s Rogelio Funes Mori. And each time he’s come out with his head held high –– and it’s caught his coach’s eye.
“He’s an unbelievable athlete and just a normal guy who wants to play football and work hard,” head coach Frank de Boer said. “When you play against these kind of opponents or in tournaments like the Champions League, you see those players grow because they are playing against very tough opponents and for him it’s a great experience. We have to treasure that he’s now playing on this high level because he’s still young.”
In a typical display of humility, Robinson deflected praise aimed his way after Sunday’s match. He pointed to the coaches and the veterans around him that have helped mold him as a professional and taken his game to the next level.
“There are veterans all around me,” he said, “and it helps learning from them and them teaching me along the way, which they have been doing for the past two years. Now, it is my time to show what I have.”
Robinson’s play hasn’t gone unnoticed outside of Atlanta, either. Nearly three years since his last call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team system, he’s back in the system again after being called up to the U.S. U-23’s for the first time. And rest assured, Robinson’s feet are planted firmly on the ground as he remains focused on his continued growth.
“I am just trying to go out there and play hard every day, and that is what I have been doing, and I am just happy I am still out on the field.”
A great blend of young promise, current production, and a mindset that will serve him well through the future. It seems the rise of Miles Robinson has only just begun.