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Goalkeeper Yarbrough helping power historic Rapids season

William Yarbrough joined Colorado in 2020 and has quickly become one of the best goalkeepers in the MLS.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Behind the Colorado Rapids defense is one of the best goalkeepers in MLS: William Yarbrough.

Yarbrough was brought back to the Mile High City on a multi-year deal after impressing the club during the 2020 season.

"You know it means a lot [that they gave me a new contract]," said the Rapids goalkeeper. "But it comes with a lot of responsibility. And my commitment is that much more now with that club since they’re trusting me you know I have to prove them right."

Colorado’s keeper has surely proved them right this season.

He finished tied for first in Major League Soccer with 13 clean sheets. Letting up goals just isn’t his thing, but he won’t solely take all the credit for his play on the field.

"It’s the product of 11 guys and five subs doing an amazing job," he said. "There isn’t a single person on this team who doesn’t contribute to those clean sheets, and to the defense work this team has done this year."

Yarbrough was actually born and raised in Mexico, which led to him playing for Club Leon, the team he spent seven years with before transferring to the Rapids last season.

"[It was] a lot of fun dude. It was playing in dirt fields. It’s an amazing culture. I’m very grateful for the people down there and the way that they’ve treated my family for the past 38 years."

The goalkeeper grew up speaking both English and Spanish -- English at home and the rest of the time was spent speaking Spanish. So playing goalie for the Rapids actually isn’t his only job. He also plays as a translator.

"To help them [Spanish-speaking teammates] feel even more a part of the locker room and being able to engage in conversation makes the chemistry of the locker room that much better so I don’t mind it one bit."

At the Rapids end-of-the-season Gala last week, three-time team award winner Michael Barrios, who does not speak much English, pointed at Yarbrough, telling him to come up on stage and translate his speech.

When Barrios finished his first line, Yarbrough jokes, "Yeah, I don’t know what he said." He and Barrios had a laugh and Yarbrough then translated the whole speech.

"I’ll translate things in the wrong way sometimes on purpose but yeah it’s fun."

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