Now that the USL Pro season is over, D.C. United's loanees to the Richmond Kickers have made their way back to the District. However, following them today are three members of the Richmond Kickers: Nate Robinson, Alex Lee, and Juan Arbelaez.
If the name Nate Robinson sounds familiar, its because he was just named as a finalist and then won the USL Pro Rookie of the Year award. Robinson scored three goals this season, was third in the league with 9 assists, and was fourth on the team with 1810 minutes played. He is a quick right winger who likes to get to the endline and then cross the ball into the center, but he is also not afraid to cut inside and take on defenders. And as a rookie, he split corner kick and free kick duty with Houston Dyanmo loanee Brian Ownby. If you want to read more about Nate, there was a nice article about him in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Alex Lee is a former FC Dallas Reserve League player and a graduate of the University of Maryland in 2011. After a slow start due to injuries, Lee earned a starting spot in the latter half of the season and was a key player through the stretch run and throughout the playoffs. He is a hard nosed, pugnacious right back whose fiery temper can sometimes be a detriment; however, that cooled as the season went on.
Juan Arbelaez's season was the opposite of Lee's: After becoming a starter early, his minutes slowly tailed off as long time Kicker Sascha Goerres reclaimed the starting left back role. Throughout the rest of the season he was used as a reserve and spot starter at left back and left midfield, especially when Brian Ownby was out of town. Arbelaez was a supplemental draft pick of the Montreal Impact this year out of Richmond's Virginia Commonwealth University, but did not sign with them.
As of now, these three players are up in Washington only for training; however, they have garnered at least enough interest from United's coaching staff that they want to take a closer look at them. Robinson is the one who I am sure will someday be given a chance in MLS, but perhaps Lee and Arbelaez can join him there. This is the other advantage of affiliating with a USL Pro club: Getting the inside look at players that may be able to help your team.