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Syracuse men’s soccer alum Miles Robinson chooses MLS over Europe

The former Syracuse and current US National team defender turned down calls from Europe to sign with FC Cincinnati.

United States Training Session Photo by Roy K Miller/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images

In what has been a busy year so far for former Syracuse Orange men’s soccer players, Miles Robinson was announced as an FC Cincinnati player earlier this month.

After featuring for the Syracuse Orange in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Robinson was drafted to Atlanta United second overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

Robinson, who features exclusively as a center back, was an absolute monster during his two years with Syracuse. As a true freshman, Robinson started every game and was a key part of a defense that guided the Orange to a spot in the 2015 College Cup.

In his sophomore season, Robinson was again a key part of the squad, earning a spot on the NCAA D1 All-American First Team. Impressively, during his time with the Orange, Robinson racked up eight goals from defense in just over 40 matches.

Upon his ascension to the MLS, Robinson was an extremely hot prospect. As an athletic, dominant, and intelligent defender after only his Sophomore season, most teams would have been happy to see Robinson fall to them.

Atlanta United ended up being the lucky winner as they acquired Robinson with the second pick overall. After taking some time to adjust, Robinson had his breakout campaign in 2019, still as a 21-year-old. Robinson starred for a very strong Atlanta side, even earning honors as a defender in the MLS 2019 Team of the Year.

Robinson was even called up to the US National team for the first time in 2019. The defender debuted for the US in a friendly match against Mexico. Since this breakout campaign, things have only gone up and up for Robinson. The American has established himself as one of the top center-backs in the MLS, as well as a fixture for the US National team. Unfortunately a torn Achilles kept Robinson from joining the USMNT in the last World Cup.

Despite the high hopes following Robinson’s move to Cinci, the decision was one that surprised many. With Robinson approaching the typical prime years of center-backs (around ages 27-32), some believed that Robinson could make the move to one of Europe’s top clubs.

One club that has been most heavily linked to Robinson in the past year is PSV Eindhoven, based in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. PSV has won the second most titles in the history of the Dutch first division or ‘Eredivisie.’ The historic club finished second in the league last season, and is currently on pace to blow away the competition for another title this season.

According to FOX Sports, Robinson turned down PSV as he bet on himself. Robinson explained to FOX that he believes he can be worthy of an even larger contract than that he was offered at PSV. Robinson instead decided to go to reigning MLS Champion Cincinnati on a $1.65m annual salary for two seasons.

MLS: MLS Cup Eastern Conference First Round-Game 3-Atlanta United FC at Columbus Crew SC Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Robinson described to FOX that the best possible outcome would be to see out his two years in Ohio, before taking the next step of achieving his English Premier League dreams.

This decision is one that could certainly go either direction. On one hand, Robinson has proven himself as one of the top players in his position in the league. If Robinson can stay healthy, improve his on-ball skills, and feature regularly for both his club and national teams, then he will have a great chance to move on from the MLS to a bigger challenge.

Unfortunately, the transition from the MLS to the Premier League is one that most players cannot tackle. Players who starred in the MLS such as Matt Turner, Chris Richards, and Brenden Aaronson have found it very difficult to adjust to the jump in talent seen in England.

Some players such as Miguel Almiron and Tim Ream have made the switch successfully in recent years. Because of this massive step in quality, it seems that Robinson might have missed his chance to gain more experience in a competitive league such as the Dutch Eredivisie. The step straight from the MLS to the EPL is huge, and most players have been more successful after playing elsewhere in Europe before moving to its largest stage in England.

With the regular season starting next month, Syracuse fans will get the chance to see Robinson in action for Cincinnati. If things go according to Robinson’s plan, perhaps not long from now, we might just see the first ever ‘Cuse Men’s Soccer Alum in the Premier League.