Sports stats

 FC Cincinnati

To Represent Your Country Is Always an Honor and Miles Robinson Aims to Not Only Represent, But Excel with USMNT

June 10, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
FC Cincinnati News Release

Miles Robinson imagines conversations with his younger self regularly. He imagines a 16-year-old high schooler in the Boston area and what that version of himself thinks of his career. He imagines what a 21-year-old Robinson at Syracuse University would think of where he's come from and where he is now. He imagines a 23-year-old who's making his first national team camp and what that guy would imagine of himself now, just four years later, a trusted regular for the senior US Men's National Team looking to not only compete at international events, but with the expectation and aspiration to win them.

As a method of goal setting, Robinson imagines what those younger selves would think of him and how he can continue to live up to their dreams and exceed even his own imagination.

When the American defender came to Cincinnati, signing for The Orange and Blue in one of - if not the biggest - MLS free agent signings in league history, there was much chatter (externally) about what was best for Robinson. But many, if not most, who engaged in that discourse rarely considered what was actually best for Miles.

Many an internet commenter said Robinson should have departed overseas. He should have gone to "Europe" - a vague ideological understanding of an amalgamation of suitable leagues in Western Europe - to better profile as a top player for the US Men's National Team. Suggesting that the very concept of "Europe" would make him a more respected player and therefore worthy of playing for the National their eyes.

That time may come when the moment and situation is right. However, when Robinson came to FC Cincinnati, his goal was to continue performing at a world-class level and be the player he knew he could be. Knowing that if he did that, he would continue to get call ups to the National Team and opportunities to represent his country.

"My goal is to have the best season of my career and bring hardware to Cincinnati," Robinson said. "Cincinnati is a great fit for me. It's just about setting the standard as high as possible, and we'll all grow stronger together. If we do that, everything else will come."

Robinson's call-up to the national squad is the second time this year the defender has been invited to a training camp. Robinson, along with Ian Murphy and Roman Celentano, were all invited to the January training camp, which was built towards a friendly with Slovenia on January 20 at Toyota Field in San Antonio.

In that friendly, Robinson was given the honor of being named captain of the USMNT for the first time in his young career. Miles says he will remember that honor for the rest of his life. But it also presents an example of how he approaches challenges and responds to them.

"It was such a weird experience, honestly, because I still consider myself a younger player," Robinson said on the selection. "I'm only 26. I feel like I've got a lot more to learn and room to grow. I understand it was a younger group, but coach could have called in an older group and I could have been the younger guy again. So it was kind of learning on the job, to be an older veteran teaching the younger guys about what it means to play for the United States."

"There's definitely a lot of responsibility. You have to lead the guys out, lead the country and set the standard as high as possible, and unfortunately we weren't able to get the result but just to have that experience is going to make me a better person on and off the field."

The Americans lost that friendly 1-0 to Slovenia. The Eastern European side brought a far more veteran squad to the contest as the USMNT fielded a team of mostly U23 players as the leadership behind the team sought information as to who could be selected for the Olympics later that summer, and some others who had to make a national team appearance. Robinson was the lone player in the starting XI who had made previous US Men's National Team appearances in senior competition.

Given it was a friendly and exploratory roster to some extent, the loss was shaken off quickly in the public consciousness. However, as captain, Robinson felt the sting of defeat hard.

"If we had won 1-0 I would have been absolutely over the moon, and I feel like we had the squad to be able to do that," Robinson said, remembering the match. "But I know the younger me would be appalled. He would be like 'Are you serious? You lost to Slovenia and you were the captain?' I just know there's a me who would have thought that and it's a reminder to keep working."

Robinson is as American as they come, and takes great pride in representing his country. Named after American Jazz Musician legend Miles Davis. His father, Jeff, a professional Jazz musician and accomplished Saxophone player in his own rite, imbued Miles with a cultural background of what many refer to as America's greatest artform.

Thus, it makes sense that Robinson's game mimics some parts of Jazz. His improvisational nature, mixed with technical proficiency to create a harmonic rhythm with his teammates, is, at the very least, plain to see for those who watch, if not nearly intentional, in the way Robinson plays the game.

The Arlington, Massachusetts native claims he did not have the musical gift his father did despite some brief attempts as a youngster (a singular guitar lesson). His flexibility as a defender and skills with the ball draw parallels to great musicians and make obvious why he would be considered for national team selection.

While not yet confirmed, and potentially not happening at all but widely reported by national media sources, Robinson could miss significant time with FC Cincinnati while away with the national squad this summer. Should he make the Copa America squad (as he is not unexpected to do) he will miss at least four and as many as six FCC matches while on national team duty, and could be gone as long as the opening stages of Leagues Cup before returning if he is selected as an overager for the Paris Olympics as well. A likely possibility now as well given recent reporting.

"I understand why conversation is had around that," FC Cincinnati General Manager Chris Albright said in an exclusive interview with on Robinson's potentially lengthy absence. "And I think it's just the way our league season is structured. But if you ask any other player, any other sporting director in the world, 'Is as a player playing for their national team deter you from signing them?' It's like, they would laugh at you! (They'd say) 'What do you mean?!'"

"That means he's a really good player. He's a great player. Those are the players we want. So when you look at them on balance and all the other times that those players are going to be available for you - and this could be one of the longer absences -you still want to have the best players in your team, and the best players play for their national teams."

Miles Robinson is a clear talent in MLS and is one of just three players selected from the league for the USMNT pre-Copa America camp. His selection to the team is not sentimental or for show; he is one of the premier American defenders internationally who happens to play in MLS. But a selection to the Olympic squad would bring a different degree of responsibility and leadership to the Copa America.

At Copa America, played this summer in the United States, he is still one of the younger players in the squad. At the Olympics, where the rosters are by rule a U23 event with three overagers permitted to augment the squad (of which Robinson would be one), the role would be expected to be far more of a leader, if not captain, of a team of under 23 players who may be making their national team debuts or their debuts in major international competition.

"I'm excited to compete for the country," Robinson said after FC Cincinnati's match with Nashville SC, the last game before the defender left to join the national team camp. "It's always a great time being with those guys... I'm just honored to be part of that group, and it's about putting my head down and getting to work."

"It's always an honor to represent the national team. Whether it be the (Copa America) or Olympics or any competition. I'm just trying to always be ready when my name is called when it's about representing the country."

As it was when FC Cincinnati had a pair of players join the USMNT for the Gold Cup, and others joined their National Team for an array of international events, it is a massive success for the club to see its players play on the world stage.

"You can obviously represent your club and brand on the weekend like we do at TQL Stadium for matches. But players representing their country is the next most prestigious way to represent what we are as FC Cincinnati," Albright added. "I think it's great for Miles, he is certainly deserving as an elite player and I look forward to him helping our national team compete and win some things."

In some ways, FCC has become a haven for American national team players. So, while on this occasion, The Orange and Blue only had Robinson called in, the next round of selections could see far more FCC options called in to represent their club.

"I think there's other guys that are certainly deserving. Matt (Miazga) DeAndre (Yedlin), he's been there regularly. Ian (Murphy) and Roman (Celentano) have been in the mix and January camp. I think we have a lot of good American players. It's something we're proud of. Coaches have their opinions and (Robinson) is the only one called this time, for whatever reason."

• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...

Major League Soccer Stories from June 10, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central