Ahead of his debut season in MLS, Atlanta United FC defender and 2017 MLS Draft #2 pick Miles Robinson took time to chat with Hawk and Thomas about how he and the team are progressing in preseason.
After being named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in his 2016 fall soccer season at Syracuse University, Miles Robinson was ready to take the next step and enter the MLS draft. After impressing throughout the draft combine, Miles was touted as one of the top defensive players in the draft and was projected to be selected very early on. Going into the draft itself, Miles says he was “Nervous, but also pretty excited.” Sure enough, Miles heard his name called at #2, and after donning an Atlanta United scarf and firing off a quick thank you speech, Miles Robinson was an MLS player.
“When my name was called it was a whole heap of emotions, but it was just a matter of hugging my family and getting up there”
We ask Miles if he knew beforehand that Atlanta United was interested in selecting him, and he responds, “There’s always rumors leading up to the draft, but I didn’t really listen to any of those. It was just me going up there and seeing who would draft me.”
With less than two months between the MLS Draft and the start of the season, Miles immediately had to turn his focus to preseason. “It’s always somewhat difficult to start a whole new franchise.. New players, new coaches, getting to know the players.. But so far I think it’s going really well and I think you should expect some good things for the inaugural season.” Although playing at a new franchise has it’s difficulties, there are also many opportunities for young players to earn playing time and develop quickly, and this is especially true when a world-renowned coach like Tata Martino is thrown into the mix.
Gerardo “Tata” Martino will hope to guide Miles Robinson to stardom and Atlanta to success in the franchise’s inaugural season
When asked how Tata Martino was different from his former coaches, Miles says, “His coaching style is great. To compare him to other coaches, he loves to have the ball.” Martino has coached incredible teams such as Argentina and Barcelona, and Robinson is delighted to be able to play for such a prestigious manager.
On whether he models his game after any professional role models, Miles expresses his admiration for Vincent Kompany: “He leads his team as a center back. He was my favorite when I was a kid.” However, Miles stresses that he does not model his game after anyone, but rather he wants to create his own style and make his own mark on the world.
“I’m not sure if I model my game after anyone in specific, I like to try to be my own player”
The fact that he is a high draft pick will put pressure on Robinson to make an impact for his team, but he is more focused on keeping his head down and working hard. He values giving a good account of himself and competing every day in training, and hopes that he can “become a big player for the team, a major contributor for the team, to try to get Atlanta United as far as possible.”
Miles Robinson has already had the chance to play in several preseason matches and has been unfazed even when faced by superstars. “It was definitely great to be up against those guys, like Dempsey.” Although most youngsters might balk at the prospect of playing against international stars, but Miles Robinson felt up to the task: “These guys are always playing really fast, but I was pretty comfortable with it.” Most 19-year-olds don’t have the chance to line up against their country’s international soccer heroes, and Miles will relish the prospect of playing against quality players like Dempsey throughout the course of the upcoming MLS season.
“My goal has always been to compete at the highest level possible”
After answering questions from EiF fans and followers regarding Syracuse, his car search, the New England Patriots’ dramatic Super Bowl victory and who the best FIFA player on Atlanta United is, Miles left us to head back to the training pitch. We here at EiF certainly hope to see his hard work, humility, and talent pay off in what will be a dramatic debut season for both himself and his new club.
Write-Up by Nick Hawkins