The Colorado Rapids season is over, there are only a couple more weeks of training left before the off-season officially starts, and Andre Shinyashiki just won MLS Rookie of the Year. But that doesn’t mean he can relax.
“It’s still kind of sinking in,” Shinyashiki says of winning RoY. “But the reality is that nothing changes, you know. I’m still what I am, I still have to prove myself every day in practice. So, I appreciate the recognition and all the messages that the fans sent me but works the continues now.”
Looking back at the 2019 season—filled with ups and downs and three different head coaches—makes it even more impressive that Shinyashiki was able to find consistency in his game. “I don’t think too much of it,” he admits. “Honestly, I think that you have to focus on yourself and the rest is external. You don’t expect to come in and have three different coaches in your first year, but that happens. So when it happens, you have to be ready for it. That’s why you have to work on yourself so that you’re ready every day to show up and be the best regardless of who’s the coach or anything else.”
What makes Shinyashiki special
Rapids Head Coach Robin Fraser remembers Shinyashiki from the MLS combine back in January. “His awareness is different. He was, for me, the best player at the combine and his awareness of what’s around him in terms of his own players, defenders, space—he was the best at that. And it’s not surprising that he’s won Rookie of the Year, considering how he looked when I saw him a year ago.”
Fraser went on to describe him as a “mature forward... He makes decisions that are atypical, probably, as somebody coming right out of college, and he just knows how to get himself facing forward, he knows how to get himself into dangerous positions, and he’s a very good and cool finisher.”
“The most important thing is to listen to what Robin wants because, you know, ultimately he decides who’s on the field and I think that it’s not something that I can do to my body or to my feet or anything like that,” says the Brazilian. “It’s more about the mental part of the game of understanding his ideas and applying them to my game.”
Fraser believes that for Andre, “consistency is everything for young players, especially. Oftentimes in different environments, you can have six great moments and five bad moments, and that’s good because you’ve had more good than bad. But in the professional world, percentages need to be higher.
I think for everything that Andre is good at, he needs to continue to be more and more consistent—like there are certain opportunities, certain places, you can’t lose the ball. And recognizing that in those situations, you need to be simple, and then for him to continue to be as dangerous as he is in tight spaces, even more so aware of what’s around him and being able to execute more and more.”