Macklin Robinson: “I would never have guessed this in a million years that Cincinnati would be such a hub for American soccer right now.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Macklin Robinson’s emotions ran the gamut from amazement to pride when it was announced earlier this week that FC Cincinnati would join Major League Soccer as an expansion team.

The Cosmos B goalkeeper and Cincinnati native has seen the interest in soccer, particularly at the professional level in the southern Ohio city, figuratively go from zero to 60 in six seconds.

The United Soccer League franchise was welcomed into MLS Tuesday.

“To be honest, the first thing I publicly said on it was [Tuesday],” he said after training at the Mitchel Athletic Complex earlier this week. “I shared the MLS announcement and I said the growth that I saw in five years, I would never have guessed this in a million years that Cincinnati would be such a hub for American soccer right now, in three years to get an MLS team.”

FC Cincinnati has been around for only three seasons, brining in crowds of 30,000-plus to Nippert Stadium.

“Coming from there and growing up there, that’s just a crazy thought to me,” Robinson said. “But it’s great. It’s awesome to see. This is my sport, this is my hometown and to see so many people that I know get behind it, that’s awesome. I just hope going forward that they can keep the positives going that we’ve seen the past three years and continue to make Cincinnati a bright spot in U.S. soccer. Can’t really go wrong with something like that in your hometown. I’m grateful and happy and excited to see what they do with the chance.”

When the 24-year-old Robinson was growing up, there was no way Cincinnati was confused with being Soccertown, USA. In fact, to challenge himself and improve as a player, he had to go out of town, way out of town.

“I took a different path to professional soccer than a lot of the guys here,” he said. “Ironically, I was raised in Cincinnati, but before the FC Cincinnati thing. No one really cared about soccer. There were not a lot of opportunities as far as academy and things like that.”

So, Robinson made four-hour round trips to play for the Columbus Crew Academy for two years.

“That was tough,” he said.

But the road to a higher level of soccer has been worth it.

Cosmos B (4-0-0, 12 points) will reach the midway mark of its 10-game regular season schedule in the National Premier Soccer League when it visits Rhode Island Reds FC (0-2-1, 1) Saturday at 7 p.m.

The North Atlantic Conference leaders want to finish the regular season unbeaten and win a league title as well.

“That’s the goal, to run the table and not lose a game,” Robinson said. “There’s a lot of guys in this country that have the talent, but they don’t have the mentality or work ethic. I think every single guy here has the mentality, the talent and the work ethic. If we stay focused, I think that’s a very realistic possibility to run the table and to win an NPSL championship.

“You’ve got to have that belief and all of the guys do. We’re trying to build off that, every day trying to improve. In today’s game you have to adapt. You always have to be working to have that one step ahead.”