The no-nonsense midfielder already wanted to get into coaching when he joined the New York Red Bulls in 2010, and it was at that club where he would eventually get a foot in the door.
Fast-forward five years and Robinson is now the head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps, but remains grateful for the chance he was afforded under former Red Bulls boss Hans Backe.
"It's something I'll never forget. I think people sometimes tend to forget where you come from and the opportunity you were given," said Robinson. "I'm in a very fortunate position now as the head coach of this team, but Hans Backe was fantastic with me. A massive influence on my career."
Robinson's final season on the field in 2011 was spent in the dual role of player-coach under Backe at New York. After he retired, Robinson joined the Whitecaps' staff as an assistant and is now in his second season in charge.
"(Backe) taught me a hell of a lot," said the 38-year-old Robinson. "I still go back to the book that I kept notes on when I was working under him.
"When I need advice, which I do now and again, he's one that I usually go to."
Whatever advice Robinson has received from Backe, who left the Red Bulls in 2012, or anyone else this season seems to be working, especially on the road.
The Whitecaps (8-6-2) visit the Red Bulls (4-4-5) on Saturday in their third of five straight away games while B.C. Place Stadium is occupied for the FIFA Women's World Cup.
An impressive 4-3-1 on the road this season in Major League Soccer, Robinson's men are coming off a bye week following the club's first-ever away win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on June 6, a result that snapped the reigning champions' 29-game unbeaten streak at home.
New York, meanwhile, has lost three straight in the league, but did pick up a victory in U.S. Open Cup action on Tuesday.
"Obviously they're going through a tricky patch now, but they're playing well. They've got good players," said Robinson. "If we go with the same mentality as we did to L.A. and we're disciplined, we're organized, we'll get our chances."
The Whitecaps also had a bright start to 2014 in Robinson's rookie season at the helm, but they stumbled in the summer months and are hungry to avoid a similar swoon.
"We can't take our foot off the gas," said Vancouver defender Jordan Harvey. "It's very important that we maintain this focus, the concentration on the field, and continue doing what we're doing."
Goals remain an issue for the Whitecaps, who have scored just 18 over their 16 games and just five in eight road outings. But players and coaches alike continue to be reassured by the fact that the chances are there.
"The goals will come," said Harvey. "I think we've been saying that a lot. It's pretty redundant, but we truly believe that."
Apart from another tough road test, Robinson is eager for his first game in charge at Red Bull Arena, a stadium where he soaked up valuable lessons from his mentor.
"(Backe's) honest, he's up front, he's very detailed and disciplined," said Robinson. "You've got to treat players in a certain way. Every individual's different, but it's more about the team. He taught me how to deal with top players.
"Watching him in action every day was very interesting, to say the least."
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