D.C. United forward Patrick Mullins and defender Jalen Robinson will spend time training with English Premier League side Swansea City A.F.C. this offseason to gain important experience and match fitness leading into the 2018 MLS regular season. Swansea City are also owned by United's managing general partner and CEO Jason Levien, creating a partnership that allows Black-and-Red players the chance to learn from the players and technical staff from one of the leading leagues in the world.
Swansea City are in their sixth consecutive Premier League season since being promoted to the top flight of English soccer in 2011. Survival in one of the world’s most competitive leagues is a testament to the Welsh team’s resilience and ability on the field. Mullins and Robinson will join the team at their new state-of-the-art Fairwood training base to continue their critical offseason training and to build on their promising 2017 seasons.
While the pair showed flashes of quality on the pitch in 2017, they were ultimately limited by injury and opportunity. This offseason, Mullins will strive to overcome the injuries that limited his playing time, and Robinson will look to continue his upward trajectory after making a career-high in appearances last season (6).
Swansea’s new training ground will provide Mullins and Robinson the opportunity to use technology at the forefront of player development to help them gain a competitive edge in the upcoming season, but the Premier League players around them will also provide vital insight into how to compete at the next level. Both Mullins and Robinson will be surrounded by offensive and defensive players who have made a name for themselves in the top tier of English soccer, giving the Black-and-Red members an invaluable opportunity to gain guidance from some of the world's top footballers.
Mullins is no stranger to training alongside top attacking talent, having played with Spanish legend David Villa at New York City FC. The 25-year-old will now get the chance to learn from proven Premier League strikers like Wilfried Bony. Bony made a name for himself with Swansea City in his first stint with the club (2013-2015) when he scored 34 goals in 70 appearances for the first team. His commanding presence caught the interest of powerhouse Manchester City who bought the player for £28 million in 2015. Although limited in playing time at City, Bony still managed to score 10 goals in 20 starts for the Sky Blues and rejoined Swansea on Aug. 31, 2017, after being loaned to Stoke for the 2016-2017 Premier League season.
Robinson will also get the chance to sharpen his defensive knowledge by training alongside prominent Swansea defenders like Àngel Rangel and Federico Fernández. Rangel has been a stalwart for the Swans since his arrival at the club in 2007, making more than 350 appearances for the Welsh team and asserting himself as a proven veteran in the back line, something from which 23-year-old Robinson can learn as he continues to rise in his own career. Fernández will be another source that Robinson can tap into, as the Argentine international has become a linchpin in the heart of the Swansea defense. The 28-year-old has 32 caps with Argentina (three goals) and has started in 12 of Swansea’s 15 games in the 2017-2018 season.
The partnership made possible by Jason Levien will give Mullins, Robinson, and other Black-and-Red players priceless experience through an opportunity that isn’t available to most Major League Soccer sides. As Mullins and Robinson dive into their offseason training with Swansea, they will strive to return to D.C. fully prepared for an important 2018 campaign for United.