Robinson is just a family guy

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

When Toronto FC players arrive in Boston today for their game tomorrow against the New England Revolution, midfielder Carl Robinson almost certainly will have his cellphone to his ear.

He'll be getting an update on the daily activities of his two children -- a girl and a baby boy -- from wife Laura back here. For Robinson, it's much more than a perfunctory "We have arrived safely" call.

The man his teammates call "Robbo" takes being a husband and father just as seriously as he does playing Major League Soccer at BMO Field.

"When I am on the pitch, that is all I care about," the Welsh international said yesterday. "But once we're off, it's family time."

The 31-year-old native of Llandrindod, Wales, said he learned the value of family from his mom and dad.

"I came from nothing," Robinson said of his childhood. "My dad has had the same job for 35 years as a lorry (truck) driver, who would leave for work at five o'clock in the morning and not be back until seven o'clock at night. He and my mom sacrificed everything so I could play football."

It is with the same sort of dedication that Robinson plans to raise his young family.

"Everything I do is for my family," he said. "I want to give them everything that I didn't have when I was growing up. I am not going to spoon feed them, but I will help them learn the values that make a person succeed in whatever they want to do."

The move across the Atlantic Ocean last season from the English League Championship side Norwich was deliberately made to have a life that was not all consumed by soccer, as is the case with top players in England.

"I want to be able to go to the supermarket with my kids like a normal person," he said.

Robinson said the respect for family in Canada was another reason for his move.

"Family life is given such a high priority here," he said. "The other day we were out with the kids and people were coming up, not caring who I was, but telling us what a beautiful little girl we had and what a nice baby."

It's not like he is abandoning his Welsh heritage as he proudly wears his country's colours in international matches each season.

But his moving to Toronto is a sacrifice, much the same way his parents sacrificed so he could have a better life.

"I took a big decision to cancel my contract at Norwich and it was a big risk because it was a lot less money than I was guaranteed in England," he told his hometown newspaper, The County Times. "But it is the best decision I have ever made."

It also helps that TFC is playing a much better brand of soccer this season. Robinson said that tomorrow's game against the league-leading Revolution will be another test for the improved Reds.

"(Management) has brought in better players this year," Robinson said. "And as a result, we're a better football club.

An away win in New England would be one sign that Robinson is right in his assessment.


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