LOS ANGELES—Miles Robinson can’t wait to get on the field and show fans at Atlanta United FC what he can do.
Selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, the defender joins an Atlanta side that had a need for backline players as they coalesce their first ever Major League Soccer squad.
“[I’m excited to] show myself, prove myself to the coaches and teammates,” said Robinson. “Show what I have to offer to the team.”
Robinson, who spent two years at Syracuse playing on a three-man backline, is excited to work under a big-name coach in Gerardo “Tata” Martino and a player he grew up admiring in Atlanta Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra.
“[Miles] has way better physical qualities than I did,” said Bocanegra. “So he’s got a head start. But look, I’m really excited to work with him.
“Obviously Tata’s going to be out on the field with him every day but just having conversations with him about what does he see, what is he looking for, watching game tape with him. I have high hopes for him, and he’s a nice kid on top of it.”
Those qualities include a toughness that leads to many balls won in the air, both offensively and defensively, and a quickness which allows him to start attacks from the back. As a Generation adidas player, he gives Atlanta United someone who can contribute right away while still freeing them up to make necessary player acquisitions on the attack.
His 1-on-1 defending and ball-winning are natural skills, but the attacking part of his game, he developed in college.
“I developed on the ball,” said Robinson, “being more comfortable with longer ranges of passing. Developed even faster speed of play, but also going forward and being more offensive and attack minded on set pieces.
“At the next level there’s always guys that are quick, smart, the type of players that you really haven’t played against yet. I’m definitely excited to show what I have to offer defending those players.”
Martino, the former FC Barcelona coach, is known for his possession conscious, defensive-minded, and counter-attacking style of play, which will require defenders who are comfortable being a part of all aspects of play on the field. Unsurprisingly, Atlanta United president Darren Eales was excited by more than just Robinson's defensive attributes.
“His pace is another big thing,” said Eales. “For a center half, particularly in Tata’s style of play where he likes to play a high line and press against opposition you need to have pace to be able to do that.
“Miles has got it in spades...We’d been watching him all through his play at Syracuse, Carlos [Bocanegra] played that position and he was really high on him, and Tata really just like the tools he was putting on display.”