From Second Chair to Maestro of Defiance – Danny Robles

Burien’s own sets the rhythm for Tacoma Defiance.

An orchestra is the sum of its whole. Every instrument plays its part and is essential to the vitality of a performance. Those without solos provide depth and volume. The dream of those accompanists is to develop into prominent roles. When 2019’s season began, Danny Robles was expected to be a supporting member of Defiance. By the end of the season, he’d progressed from supporting player to featured soloist. Then when it was his time, Robles took the conductor’s baton and became the Maestro of Defiance.

Eventually preferred over more seasoned players, Robles pulled the strings and made sweet music in Tacoma. When the season ended, he was starting as the coveted #10. The 18-year-old became the central attacking midfielder for the Men in Black, with the team playing with his lead.

In the final 11 matches of the season the Burien, Washington product started seven games and entered as a sub two times. He scored twice, gathered one assist, and showed that the song of Defiance is strongest when he is leading the band.



Danny keeps his head up, always watching what his players are doing. He’s looking to cue his teammates towards the open spaces where their note will come through clearly. When it works, he records assists. Cheney Stadium echoes with the sound of scoring. He can still perform a fine solo. Both of his professional goals came on a crescendo, piercing the net off shots from similar spots. Both goals beat a keeper to their left.

But it’s ball movement and overloads when Robles’ impact on the tune is strongest. He works in side channels more than at the top of the 18. That’s where the beat is in Defiance’s favor. Look for Danny to work to emphasize the sound of Hinds or Burke-Gilroy as those fullbacks feature in chorus with two attacking mids and the forward in a 4 v 3 situation.



When attack wanes most of the four key attackers seek to pester the opposition. Their goal is to slow things down, more than get ball back at their feet. Often Robles drops from that first line to fill the central hole. His job is even less concerned with recapturing the tune.

His focus is to get the deep bass on the backline in time and in shape. Danny will not put up strong defensive numbers, but if he masters control of pace even without the ball, the whole team succeeds. The booming bass tackles of Rogers, Atencio, and Daley start with proper control in the midfield.



Of all the teens on Defiance, there is no one with the upper body strength of Danny Robles. He has the fire hydrant frame of an American football running back. In the high-contact role as the CAM, his core strength keeps him upright and over the ball.


2019 Stats

16 starts | 8 sub appearances | 1,407 minutes | 2 goals | 1 assists | 5 shots | 23 key passes


Off the Pitch

On hand to help open the Valley Ridge Playfield in SeaTac, the Highline student featured as Defiance joined Cristian Roldan and Luis Silva at the RAVE Foundation event opening the mini-pitch. Robles also popped into Tacoma to surprise youngsters at a YMCA soccer practice and at Mary Bridge Children’s hospital. Even though he’s a regular at community events Danny isn’t willing to consider himself a role model, yet. There’s still work to be done before he can accept that label.


Looking to 2020

It’s his show now. He will determine the rhythm and pace of Defiance in 2020. When he wants the vibrant play of dynamic artists like Gonzalez and Vargas, he will feed them the ball. The power of Dhillon or Defiance defenders is available on set-pieces, and when the ball goes crashing into the net? The roar of the crowd is the final note of the stanza.

The song of 2020 may be written by Coach Little and the technical staff, but on the field it will be Robles who translates their writing into music.


Defiantly Tacoma

For more on Danny Robles and your 2020 Tacoma Defiance roster:

The 2020 schedule is out – Mapping Defiance: Tacoma’s 2020 Campaign.

Single match tickets are now available. Wave the flag for our defiant crew on opening night or join us for the full season as our players explore the region and test their mettle. Check out our Season Tickets options.