DENVER — Andre Shinyashiki won’t have to travel too far for his new home in Major League Soccer.
The former University of Denver standout forward was selected with the 5th pick of the 2019 MLS Super Draft by the Colorado Rapids, who traded spots with the Chicago Fire in return for the 15th pick and $100,000 of GAM (General Allocation Money).
“I’m stoked to be staying in Colorado,” Shinyashiki told 9News over the phone only minutes after being selected by the Rapids. “I don’t have the words to describe it. I’m just so happy. Overall it’s a great day.”
Shinyashiki is a proven goal-scorer, netting a DU record 51 career-goals, 117 points, and 18 game-winning goals in his four seasons with the Pio’s. The MAC Hermann Finalist, 2018 Senior CLASS Award Winner, United Soccer Coaches First-Team All-America, and Google Cloud Academic All-America First Team selection also holds records for Denver in single-season points (60), goals (28), and game-winning goals (11).
A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Shinyashiki has been working with the Rapids Premier Development League U-23 team since 2017. He says that Colorado “had a vision” for the future of their club that included the 5-foot-9 speedy striker.
“We’re thrilled to get Andre,” said Rapids Executive Vice President and general manager Pádraig Smith, who has been following Shinyashiki’s career for the last few years. “He’s driven, coachable, and wants to be a top-level player. We believe he’s the best player in the draft and we’re very lucky to get him with the 5th pick.”
Smith added that he’s not just a top-class finisher, but it’s his intelligence and his mentality that make him the complete package, something he credits to DU head coach Jamie Franks and his staff.
“Coach Franks produces not just good players, but good men,” said Smith, listing out current Rapids and former Pioneer Kortne Ford as well as Sam Hamilton, who was released by Colorado last November.
“Our mission is to develop authentic leaders who strive to make the best version of themselves every day,” said Franks, who is also in Chicago for the SuperDraft.
“He deserves everything he’s earned,” added Franks when asked on what he said to Andre following his selection. “He’s changed our program and I’m forever grateful.”
Franks believes that his resilience will be key on making a successful transition into the MLS.
“Every time you jump up a level, the physicality, the speed…he has to understand how he can make an impact and learn and grow from his mistakes.”
When asked how quickly Shinyashiki could make an impact with the Rapids, Smith wants to play it smart.
“We’re going to do what’s right for his development. How quickly that comes? We’ll have to wait and see.”