William Yarbrough’s debut with the Colorado Rapids against Sporting Kansas City may have ended in a loss, but the goalkeeper was proud of his new club nonetheless.
In a press conference on July 19th, Yarbrough said he felt good about his debut, but admitted to having some mixed feelings, “especially since we didn’t get the result we were expecting and it was kind of a heartbreak... when we were able to tie things up with two guys down and concede that goal late in the game. But I say mixed feelings because I think the fight that the team put on out there was amazing and it’s a privilege and an honor to be part of a group that fights that way.”
Yarbrough finished the night with five saves. One of the goals against him was a penalty shot from Alan Pulido and the other was a redirection/own goal off Sam Vines (which was credited to Graham Zusi). All things considered, he had a solid first showing.
Head Coach Robin Fraser called Yarbrough an “extremely accomplished goalkeeper with many, many attributes: shot-stopping crosses, ability to cover behind the back group, ability with his feet, distribution. So he brought a great deal of tangible assets with him.”
Yarbrough is also establishing himself as a leader on the team, despite most of his time with the group having been Zoom sessions. “The intangible that’s worked out to be great is that he’s a fantastic team guy and a very good leader,” explained Fraser. “He’s done extremely well. He’s integrated himself really well. He’s done everything he can do, certainly on his part, he’s an absolute student of the game, and tries to make sure he’s well-versed in every single aspect of it. As a result, his leadership behind the group comes quite naturally and he does a good job with that as well.”
Veteran defender Drew Moor recently called the 2020 Rapids squad “about as tight as it gets” and Yarbrough credited that team unity as one of the reasons why he felt so comfortable so quickly, despite only having a few days with the team in-person before the COVID-19 shutdown. “It’s a great group of guys. I think the locker room is great,” he said. The Zoom sessions helped everyone become familiar with each other, but Yarbrough felt “comfortable right away” once they got back into training at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. “It’s a great group of guys like I said, and that I think, the biggest part of everything is that the locker room is so tight... it feels like a family in other words.”
As the club looks towards their third and final Group Stage game against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night, Yarbrough is staying positive. “It might sound crazy, but I think mentally we’re strong right now. I mean, if you look at our first game, and our second game, there’s a huge difference... I think we showed who we truly are in our last game. I think that, you know, as a player, you can be proud to be a part of a team that fights the way we did in our last game... if I have to lose that’s the way I want to lose—playing like that, with that determination and that heart.”
When asked if he would be starting on Wednesday, Yarbrough smiled. “You’re right asking the wrong guy,” he said. “All I know is that I train, I practice every day as if I were going to play, and that’s my mentality. That answer is not up to me.”