FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Inter Miami CF took another important step toward their MLS debut this Sunday (5:30 pm ET on ESPN) when coach Diego Alonso named veteran goalkeeper Luis Robles as the club’s first team captain.
“I’m truly honored. I’ll do everything I can to represent the guys and this franchise well,” said Robles just moments after his teammates, coaching staff and co-owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas congratulated the 35-year-old at Inter Miami's new training facility in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday.
Robles joined Inter Miami in December of last year after more than seven years with the New York Red Bulls, where he won three Supporters' Shield titles and was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2015. The Inter Miami keeper is the most senior player on the roster and, according to David Beckham, he exudes the attitude you’d want from your captain.
“There are certain players who walk onto the field, onto the training field, onto the stadium and they’ve got an aura about them," Beckham said. "They’ve got a leadership about them. That’s why he’s our captain.”
When asked what were some of the reasons Alonso gave him for being appointed as the franchise’s first captain, Robles said it was about more than just the leadership qualities he offers on the field.
“He gave me several reasons but the thing that sticks out is that I need to get to the gym and work on my biceps because the MLS trophy is heavy," Robles quipped. "But more than anything, I represent not just this team but this community. For me, that’s truly a privilege. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity.”
According to Jorge Mas, the decision to choose Robles as Inter Miami’s captain was made by Diego Alonso and his staff, but the Inter Miami managing owner, like Beckham, is in full agreement.
“I have been witness to Luis’ leadership within the team," Mas said. "He is someone who from day one has put Diego’s vision into practice and I think it’s a great choice so I congratulated him because it is well deserved on his part.”
Extratime Analysis: Inter Miami
Inter Miami, led by sporting director Paul McDonough, have assembled a roster featuring a mix of MLS veterans, like Robles and U.S. international midfielder Wil Trapp, and young South American talent like the club's first Designated Player Matias Pellegrini. And, being Miami, there is a sprinkle of star power mixed in in the form of Mexico international Rodolfo Pizarro.
While Mas and Alonso have outlined lofty expectations for Inter Miami right out of the gate, Robles is approaching the team’s debut on the road at 2019 Supporters' Shield winners LAFC with long-term goals in mind.
“As we continue to work hard each and every day, we believe everything that Diego is preaching to us, that we can be a truly exceptional team," he said. "But it’s going to take time. So as we go into this weekend and face LAFC, we don’t expect perfection. We expect that there is going to be some growing pains but more than anything, we expect that we are committed to this project and our heart is going to be on display and as long as we continue to do that, it will continue to get better and better.”