ORLANDO, Fla. — After leading the nation with 28 goals during his last collegiate soccer season, Andre Shinyashiki isn’t worried about where he might possibly land in Major League Soccer. He just wants to play professionally.
The former Denver University forward arrived late on Saturday to Orlando and played his first and only game on Wednesday, recording a goal during the final day of the 2019 MLS Player Combine.
Pro Soccer USA spoke with Shinyashiki about his time at Denver, playing at the combine and his overall thoughts on Friday’s MLS SuperDraft in Chicago.
Q: What’s your focus on during the MLS combine?
Andre Shinyashiki: “I think it’s hard playing with some of the players you don’t know, but there’s a lot of high-quality players. I was able to find a goal. I think I could’ve done better on the ball, but overall I think it was a good performance.”
Q: How do you describe your time playing at the University of Denver?
AS: “Denver taught me a lot of things, but the most important thing was to find out who I was. I think when you find out who you are and you’re playing at your best, then it’s hard to stop. My time there was phenomenal. I played with many great players. Now, onto new things, but I’m glad to be a Pioneer.”
Q: You’re back in Orlando, where you attended the Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy. How was that?
AS: “SIMA is very important. They really showed me what U.S. soccer looks like because it’s very different from what I did in Brazil. They really prepared me for the college experience. Some of the things that I did there, when I came to college, I was already prepared compared to other players that came from the academy.”
Q: What feedback have you received from coaches thus far?
AS: “You really don’t know too much going in. Obviously, you have interviews going in, but I don’t like to think too much about it. I just focus on playing soccer and let all the [external stuff] for my agents to deal with.”
Q: Is there an MLS team you hope to get selected by?
AS: “I just want to play professional soccer.”
Q: How often do you pay attention to mock drafts?
AS: “I don’t really focus on mock drafts. I don’t like to think too much about it. I just want to play soccer and wherever I end up, I’m sure it will be good place.”
Team Copa's Mitchell Osmond, left, and JJ Williams battle for the ball during a training session at the professional soccer MLS Player Combine Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack for the Orlando Sentinel)