Signed to the Revolution II inaugural USL League One roster on January 16, 2020, Ryo Shimazaki joins the professional ranks after a stellar college career at Virginia Commonwealth University. The Japanese defender made a strong impression throughout preseason and is looking to make even more waves in his first professional season in USL League One. Let’s learn more about Ryo:
1. A Young Prodigy
Shimazaki was a member of the Kawasaki Frontale academy program in his native Japan for eight years. Through elementary school, Shimazaki was an attacking player, slotting in as a winger and even as a striker for several years before converting to outside back at age 15. He quickly showed his skills as a defender, going on to represent Japan on the Under-17 Youth National Team.
2. Coming to America
There were a few factors that influenced Shimazaki to play college soccer in the United States, but the biggest reason was the opportunity to both study and play at a high level. Virginia Commonwealth University emerged as the best academic option for Ryo. With the Rams, he found a group of coaches who helped him grow as a player and person over his four years and 69 appearances.
3. Super Talented
After attending a Seattle Sounders match as a child, Shimazaki’s primary career goal was to make it to Major League Soccer. The 23-year-old had a brief taste of MLS when he was selected in the third round (59th overall) by Columbus Crew SC in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. Shimazaki remains on the pathway to one day making his MLS debut, but will continue on that journey with Revolution II, having signed with New England after going unselected in the first two rounds.
4. Entrepreneurial Endeavors
Outside of soccer, Shimazaki has started his own apparel brand called Inc.Lusion. The brand is a high-quality clothing brand that shows the equality of people and the beauty of diversity. Starting a business is something he endeavored to do from the very start of his time in college. His hope is to start selling products soon and to make sure all of his teammates are geared up for game day when the season begins.
Here are a few more fun facts about Ryo:
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: French Vanilla
Favorite Music Artist: Ed Sheeran
Favorite TV Show: Friends
Favorite Vacation Spot: Hawaii
Favorite Sport outside of soccer: Surfing
If you could have dinner with any celebrity who would it be: Will Smith
If you could be anything besides a pro soccer player, what would it be: Airline Pilot