Last week, Antonee Robinson received a phone call that he had waited for since December 20, 2014. That’s when he left his first and only Youth National Team camp: a week-and-a-half stay in Marbella, Spain with the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team for two friendlies against Germany.
Since then, Robinson has risen through the ranks of the Everton Academy, roared back from a devastating knee injury and rooted himself as a regular starter while on loan at English Championship side Bolton.
“I’ve been waiting for a while to hear back from the National Team since the last time I got called up,” Robinson said. “I was just really excited at that point. They said that they’ve been watching my progress and that they’d been impressed.”
There’s opportunity abound for the entire roster gathered in Cary, N.C. ahead of the MNT’s March friendly against Paraguay on March 27. With an average age of 23 years and 84 days, all 23 players will try to make their claim to be a part of the program’s future. Now back with the USA, Robinson wants to make an impression. He hopes to ensure there won’t be nearly as long a wait for his next call.
“All the young lads are looking to make an impact,” Robinson said. “Obviously, the team’s now looking at the next generation of players, so we’re all looking to take our chance. I think it’s a good opportunity.”
ANSWERING THE CALL
Robinson had settled into bed next to his girlfriend when his phone rang with an unknown U.S. number. On the other end: the call he had waited for.
“I answered and it was Dave Sarachan saying that he was interested in calling me up,” Robinson said. “I pressed mute on my phone so my girlfriend and I could shout to each other how excited we were.”
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