Following knee surgery in 2009, Eddie Robinson was told it would likely take him two years to fully recover. After rushing back to return last season, the Houston Dynamo defender now admits that prognosis was probably correct.
“I thought I would be back a lot quicker, but it really did take the better part of two years,” Robinson said. “Last year I had issues with my leg strength, and it affected the way I played on the field, and it affected me mentally.”
After a disappointing 2010 campaign concluded, the Dynamo declined Robinson’s contract option, and he was exposed to both the Re-Entry and Expansion Drafts. Despite the move, Houston made it clear to Robinson they wanted him back, and after the second Re-Entry Draft, the Dynamo re-signed the 32-year old center back.
“He’s a good player, and he’s still a good center back in this league,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “He’s a good person to have in the locker room, and he’s won a lot of championships.”
That experience and locker-room presence will be needed this year as the Dynamo dropped their average age from 28 in 2010 to 24 in 2011. With the youth movement, the club will look to Robinson to provide guidance both on and off the field.
“He’s a great guy day in and day out in the locker room, and it’s a role that most people don’t get to see,” said center back Bobby Boswell.
Robinson acknowledges that he’s one of the more lighthearted guys in the locker room, but he feels his leadership stems from the work ethic he brings every day.
“In order to be respected, you have to be a leader by example and not just in games but in training every day,” he said. “Guys respect that, and they will give that to you in return.”
While Robinson’s status as a team leader is not in question, he enters 2011 with no guarantees regarding his role on the field. With four new defensive players, the Dynamo have what Robinson believes to be the “most competition for spots he’s seen since I joined the club.”
Finally feeling healthy, Robinson is ready to show he can be a regular contributor and help the club put last season behind them. The team’s preseason success and the competition for starting positions have him believing the club will redeem itself in 2011.
“The competition for places on this team is fierce, and it causes guys to work so much harder, and that makes the team much better,” said Robinson. “With the new guys, it’s like last year never happened.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.