Inter Miami CF goalkeeper Luis Robles admits that considering everything going on in the world currently, the news that MLS and the MLS Players Association have come to an agreement on a new CBA that would allow for the league's season to resume at a tournament in Orlando feels insignificant.
With that in mind, speaking with reporters on a video conference call on Thursday, Robles said his ultimate hope is that a return to the field will be about more than the games being played and give MLS players an expanded platform to help push the conversation forward and be part of a spark for change.
"Players recognize that we can be a conduit of change, that we can be a force for change and what’s happening across our communities — we have to be able to use our platforms," Robles said. "So, in order for us to use our platforms in the biggest way possible and the loudest way possible, I think we have to be on the field.
"I’m not saying Orlando becomes this perfect opportunity for us to be an agent of that change, but it helps," he continued. "So as we look forward to getting back onto the field, as we look forward to progressing this league and getting the results that allow our organizations to be successful, it’s just kind of somber in a way because there’s so much going on in our country. And I think we have a very responsible and insightful player pool that recognizes that and they’ve already reacted in such positive ways to be influential for the right reasons. I think by us getting back onto the field and the spotlight being on our play again, it just opens that up."
Robles said he was inspired at seeing what players in the Bundesliga, which resumed play two weeks ago, have been doing to speak out regarding the police brutality protests that were sparked all over the world following the killing of George Floyd. Robles cited Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and US men's national team and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie as examples of players who have shown how athletes can use their platforms to help keep the issues of systemic racism and police brutality at the forefront of our minds.
"What a beautiful thing that we’ve been able to witness in the Bundesliga, with Jadon Sancho, the way that he stood up for George Floyd’s fight and the fight that so many people have taken on," Robles said. "For Weston McKennie to really galvanize such an incredible group of players and athletes to represent what change could look like, I look at these things and I’m hopeful, I’m optimistic about what change could look like and that change is possible."
With Thursday's news that MLS has lifted its team training moratorium implemented on March 12 and teams can submit individual club plans to return to full-team training, the hope is that return to the field is on the horizon.
From the soccer side of it, Robles said he and his teammates are looking at the tournament as an opportunity to establish a winning culture for an expansion side that only played two matches before the league's hiatus, remaining competitive in both, but finding themselves still in search of a first MLS win.
"The incentive is to continue the journey, the journey that started from the moment I signed, to the journey that dates back to the moment David Beckham activated his clause," Robles said. "As we continue and get back to play in Orlando, we haven't won a game yet. That's going to be a story, when we win our first game. But we want to win. In our mind, we're developing a winning culture, our results haven't said that so that's something we have to rectify right away.
"We have winners on this team. You look at Roman Torres, you look at [Rodolfo] Pizarro, Lee Nguyen, AJ DeLaGarza, Wil Trapp, I could go on. There's guys who understands what it takes to be successful and win. So we want that process to continue and we want it to culminate in not only victories, but trophies. And the only way we can do that is to get back onto the field and if Orlando is that then that's what it's going to be -- an opportunity to continue that journey."