Andre Shinyashiki was nominated MLS’ Rookie of the year 2019. The young Brazilian footballer, chosen during the Superdraft 2019, was one of the protagonists of the Colorado Rapids season. Here is our exclusive interview.
How did your passion for soccer come about and what were your first experiences?
Since I remember myself as a person I love soccer. I think is a part of the culture in Brazil: my dad really loves soccer so it kind of stayed in me you know, I remember me as a person that I really like soccer so I can really say how it happened but just happened.
From Brazil to the United States, how did it happen?
I was playing Europe in a kind of amateur tournament and with a mutual friend of the coach. He brought me in the Academy in Florida with my dad and his friend and I kind of saw an opportunity to come to the US and look for a location in soccer and I made the move just for coming here for a year for high school then I ended up staying two years then college and then the pro.
You have received many awards during your athletic career at school and in the University. You were also part of the Senior Class Awards. What was your experience?
It was insane, it was unique. Everything that I could ask for, you know what about soccer, a lot about myself is truly to me and unique opportunity very grateful that I played at the University of Denver.
From Sao Paulo to Colorado, what are the differences?
I think that the cold is something we’re not used to have in Sao Paulo and in most places in Brazil. The culture is different, here people are more laid-back it’s not so busy all the time there’s not much traffic not so much happening outside all the time and I think these are is a big difference because, you know in Sao Paulo, you never sleep, always busy, always something happening here it’s no laid-back. It was a little bit of a change for me.
Tell us about your SuperDraft 2019.
SuperDraft was amazing, it was really incredible and how was organized at this stage for me personally it was a very positive experience because I ended up in a club where I wanted to be. Just a true incredible moment all your hard work it’s coming to that that one moment it was very good
How important is for a football player to study at a university?
I think that every player is different. If you are ready to be a professional, there is a plan and that’s a good opportunity for you, but through the college you can better yourself and you also can get an education and something that you’re always very valid. I recommend to everybody who is still developing and try to figure things ou,t but as said if you have the opportunity go pro at a young age is still good plan that’s a good thing.
You have been chosen by Colorado Rapids, for you Rapids represent a sort of home, how was the start in the first team?
It wasn’t easy you know. We are figuring things out and see if you’re really belong there, there were a lot of doubts in my mind but I was able to put all aside and work hard and then I got respect from the guys and that’s when I was at my best feeling comfortable with myself.
Rapids have started the season badly and then the team has improved a lot, touching the feat of reaching the playoffs. How would you describe this 2019?
I can describe it as a as a learning lesson we learn a lot of the things that we had to learn sometimes so it was the hard way how to learn it I think we are more prepared for our next year because we have a core group of guys that there are very settle on what we want to do and I think that’s the most important thing.
During the season you have grown a lot and you have been fundamental for the team. What contributed to your excellent season?
I think a lot of things. I think my off-season work at the University of Denver especially was incredible the guys we had help me a lot to develop just better myself and I think that all the time of the you help me for this moment. I learn a lot of about who I was and and being comfortable on my own skin so when I was making mistakes they were on my way, I knew that I was able to turn it around.
Awards and Rookie of the Year?
It was incredible. You know, I haven’t even thought about those things when I was getting drafted door or the first couple weeks in preseason but for me it’s a dream come true, it’s more than I can ask especially voted for from the members of the other players and teams and something that it’s really incredible for me.
What are the Rapids goals for 2020?
I think making the playoffs is the main thing it’s something that we want achieve, something that we already said to us that making the playoffs as the main goal for a club
Tim Howard, probably the best US goalkeeper in history, has just retired. What did he teach you?
Tim help me a lot to know how to be humble at work, because I came in with the mentality that “I’m a big deal because I am the fifth pick of the draft” but he helped a lot to get the other guys, get respect and for me it was very important.
Who are the players who inspired your way of playing, and which are the coaches that you are most attached to?
No other players, more the coach of the University of Denver and the coach of Montverde, but ultimately I try to be myself something that makes me unique.
How do you consider the current level of MLS? What are the strengths and what are the defects?
I think that there are a lot of good things about MLS, there’s more growing, more money being invested there and they’re good players they want to come here. I think that’s positive. I think the level is very high and that’s important and, who knows where I could workout. Nobody knows really where the ceiling is and it just keep growing and we’ll see, it keeps growing so we’ll find out.
Would you advise Brazilian players to come and play in MLS?
Yes hundred percent. I think that’s here are very organized, team are several, it’s serious league so you know it’s not that you’re as you gonna come here and don’t see any competition. It’s very competitive, they are very competitive players so anybody who has the chance to come here check it out.
In conclusion, do you like Italian soccer? Do you have any favorite teams and players?
I love Italian soccer I watch a lot of soccer because especially my both grandparents are Italian so my grandmother supports Juventus my grandfather supports Torino, so just a big rivalry there so that’s why I watched Italian soccer when I was rowing up on the channel Italian channel called Rai. I watch a lot of Italian soccer and I think I love it and I think it’s very physical it’s very good, everybody has to respect because it has been one of the biggest leagues in the word and still it is.
Special thanks to Omar Gonzalez, Director of Communications of the Colorado Rapids.