It's a good thing the Reinhardt men's soccer team plays its games in the fall, because Cass senior Anthony Robledo is ready to get on the field with his teammates.
After having his senior season, which took place this spring, end in heartbreak, Robledo is geared up to begin his collegiate career having signed his national letter of intent Wednesday in the Cass High gymnasium.
"I'm just excited for this new start," Robledo said after the ceremony. "I just want to go ahead and start the season and see what it has for me."
It's safe to say Reinhardt head coach Joey Johnson is looking forward to having Robledo take the field for the Eagles.
"Anthony has great vision as a distributor, he's a good passer of the ball, very solid technical skills and also his ability to finish in front of goal is evident by him having 21 goals this year and being a first-team all-region player," Johnson said.
However, that's only half of what drew Johnson to Robledo.
"For me, it's two things that are really important," said Johnson, who will be entering his fifth season in charge of the Eagles. "One is that a player has a tremendous amount of potential on the field, but also the type of person [they are] is important to me.
"Anthony possessed both a really solid technical base, but also we really just enjoyed having him on campus during his visits as a person, as well."
When the free-scoring forward attended a camp this spring, he instantly connected to Johnson and the rest of the coaching staff. He also said getting the chance to play with so many gifted players is a huge draw.
"The facility is really nice, I really like their field," Robledo said. "I got to practice with their team. Most of the team is just great players, and they know the game pretty well. That's really the best part, I get to play with some guys who play the game very well."
Reinhardt is coming off a mostly successful season. The Eagles went 11-4-2 in 2017 and finished unbeaten in Appalachian Athletic Conference play. Although, the campaign came to a shocking end in the quarterfinals of the AAC tournament.
With a vast majority of the team returning this fall, Robledo will have to acclimate quickly to the college game to get on the field. He seems up for the challenge.
"I'm very excited," Robledo said. "I really just want to make a big impression there and, hopefully, help the team out a lot."
His high school coach, Terry Floyd has seen firsthand the ability Robledo possesses. He helped Cass break a long playoff drought with a berth in the 2017 state tournament before seeing their bid for a return thwarted by an unfortunate tiebreaker.
Floyd believes Robledo deserves as much credit as anybody for making the Colonels relevant again on the pitch.
"It was largely his part and his leading the team — last year and this year — that lifted us up to this point," Floyd said. "I don't mean to slight anybody before that, but during my two years, he's been the one that really's carried us forward."
Floyd expects that to carry over to the next level, and he also said he expects Robledo's personality to allow him find a leadership role with the Eagles at some point during his time in Waleska.
"There was just something about Anthony that when he stepped on the field, the team just migrated to him," Floyd said. "Whatever he was doing, the mood he was in, that translates to the rest of the team. That kind of quiet leadership that he maintains, I think that will show up at the college level, maybe not the first year, but it will show itself. He just has that personality. But his drive to compete is really what will move him forward."
Robledo has apparently had that determination for most of his life. His father instilled it in him more than a decade ago.
"My dad has trained me since I turned 7," Robledo said. "My goal was to make him proud [and for] all the effort he put in to get a good outcome from it."
Seeing his father hold up his new jersey for the cameras during his signing, Robledo should know he's achieved his objective. He'll have a chance to make him even prouder when he gets up to Reinhardt — something that can't come soon enough for Robledo.
"I want it to start as soon as possible," he said.