One of the University of Denver’s greatest-ever athletes, senior soccer striker Andre Shinyahshiki, was selected fifth overall in the First Round of the MLS Superdraft by the hometown side, the Colorado Rapids.
The most decorated student-athlete in program history, Shinyashiki’s senior offseason has seen him win the 2018 Senior CLASS Award, be named the United Soccer Coaches’ Scholar Athlete of the Year and earn MAC Hermann Trophy finalist honors.
Shinyshiki, a first team all-American who led the nation in scoring this season (28 goals) and rewrote much of the DU soccer record book in the process, will join former DU teammate Kortne Ford on the Rapids’ roster. The Sao Paulo, Brazil-native has already signed an MLS contract and will join the Rapids in the pre-season camp on Jan. 21.
The Rapids, a club in dire need of goalscoring, have been following Shinyashiki’s progress at DU for four years now, and have also seen him play on the Rapids’ summer development team. The Rapids were apparently eager to sign Shinyashiki, trading up in the draft to get him, giving up the 15th pick in the first round and $100,000 of allocation money to the Chicago Fire in return for Chicago’s fifth overall first-round pick in this year’s draft. Additionally, the Rapids are also using one of a limited number of international MLS roster spots for the Brazilian Shinyashiki.
“We’re thrilled to get Andre,” Rapids Executive Vice President and general manager Pádraig Smith told Denver’s 9News, 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 to 9News, who is also in Chicago for the SuperDraft
Shinyashiki made 83 appearances, including 67 starts, in his four-year Pioneer career, netting 51 goals and adding 15 assists. In 2018, Shinyashiki bagged 28 goals in 21 matches, including his first five career hat tricks and a four goal game in the Summit League opener at Omaha. Shinyashiki ranked first in the country in points per game (2.86), total points (60), goals per game (1.33), goals (28), game-winning goals (11) and shots on goal per game (2.86) this fall.
Shinyashiki is the latest of 10 Pioneers drafted by MLS teams in the last 11 seasons.
The Denver co-captain joins:
2019: Andre Shinyashiki (Colorado – 5th Overall)
2018: Graham Smith (Sporting Kansas City – 18th Overall)
2017: Reagan Dunk (Real Salt Lake – 13th Overall) and Sam Hamilton (Colorado – 15th Overall)
2015: Taylor Hunter (Houston – 49th Overall)
2014: Zach Bolden (Chicago – 61st Overall)
2013: Drew Beckie (Columbus – 28th Overall)
2011: Joe Willis (D.C. United – 50th Overall)
2010: Kris Banghart (Real Salt Lake – 64th Overall)
2009: Kyle Christensen (Chivas USA – 35th Overall)
In the last four seasons, both Ford (Colorado – 2017) and Jordan Schweitzer (Seattle – 2016) signed homegrown deals with their academy parents clubs prior to the draft.
We are also following DU senior Moshe Perez, who was among the 60 NCAA players selected for last week’s MLS Combine to see if he is selected in the final two rounds of the 2019 MLS Draft on Monday, Jan 14.