As the Colorado Rapids have begun to find success as a group, rookie sensation Andre Shinyashiki has followed suit as well. Gaining his confidence little by little, the former Denver University product is beginning to show just why he’s being counted on more and more by the Rapids coaching staff to bring an offensive punch to Colorado’s recent resurgence in the Western Conference.
“Ultimately, it’s knowing that I’m a good player and they believe in me,” Shinyashiki told Burgundy Wave. “I didn’t make it to this level by not knowing how to play soccer, so they know and they trust me.”
“It feels really good to be able to help the team, regardless of how I’m helping—scoring goals or giving out assists, defending. I think the coaches and my teammates have given me a lot of confidence and that’s the most important thing. The confidence has grown into me and I think that’s why I’ve been playing better,” said Shinyashiki. “There’s definitely hard times, but you try to stay the course and just do what you need to every day. “
Andre admits MLS has definitely been an increased challenge from his days at DU, but has shown he can play against the league’s best, finding the back of the net along the way. “Everybody in the league is smart. The physicality is hard,” admits Andre. “The defenders are big but you’ve got to find your way around it, whether that’s dribbling, touching give-and-gos… but you have to adapt and it has to happen quick.”
“I just have to improve a little bit in my defending,” he continued. “Not playing as a winger for a long time, it’s been a little different. It’s been really good so far. I’ve gotten a lot of support, a lot of guys who care about helping young guys, and the coach has given me a lot of confidence.”
As far as his next step, Shinyashiki explains being ready for whatever role you’re needed for has been a big part of his learning curve. “The toughest part is you come from playing 90 minutes every game in college and (here) you sit on the bench, or not on the roster, things like that. Getting into the game as a sub is way different than starting a game, so you just have to get used to that. You get in the game and there’s no time to waste. You have to make an impact.”
Making an impact is exactly what he has done for a Colorado side that struggled to score goals in the early part of 2019. Shinyashiki is learning behind some MLS veterans who know what it takes to not only score goals, but to succeed over time as well.
“The veteran guys on the team really like to help you and tell you do this and do that. I know sometimes it’s hard to hear some of the things they say, but you just have to get on with it and try to do what they’re telling you to do because obviously they’ve made a career so you have to trust them.”