Football has no language and no nationality. The prime example is Japanese footballer Ryo Shimazaki who plays defender in an American football club, New England Revolution II.
Shimazaki moved to the USA, leaving his football career in Japan to pursue his higher studies.
However, he did not know English and struggled in America due to the language barrier and culture shock.
But, he knew football, and that’s what helped him to secure his place in America. He made new connections through football and established a career out of football.
Today, he plays for the prestigious club of New England Revolution II and is a rising name in football.
So, how come an international student became a prominent part of the American football club, and what is his story?
In this article, we have covered the struggles he faced during the journey to his football career.
Ryo Shimazaki | Quick Facts
|Full Name||Ryo Shimazaki|
|Age||25 Years Old|
|Birthdate||August 6, 1997|
|Height||5’9″ (175 cm)|
|Weight||68 kg (150 pounds)|
|High School||Tachibana High School|
|University||Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)|
|Profession||Footballer, Athlete, Entrepreneur|
|Football Goal||To play in Major League Soccer (MLS)|
|Net Worth||Not Available|
|Merch||New England Revolution II Items|
|Last Update||December, 2022|
Ryo Shimazaki | Early Life and Education
Ryo Shimazaki was born on 19 April 1997 in Kawasaki, Japan. Shimazaki started playing football from his kindergarten. His father influenced him as his father was a huge football lover.
His father wanted him to join in extra circular activities and gave him a choice to choose between a gym class and a football class.
Shimazaki remembered watching the football with his father and was ultimately drawn to it. So he chose football, and when he was in 4th grade of elementary school, he made it to Kawasaki Frontale U-12 selection.
Likewise, he used to play as an attacking player and became a member of the Kawasaki Frontale Academy Program for eight years.
Shimazaki believes that joining Kawasaki Fronatle Academy was a stepping stone for his football career. He says that he learned the basic skills of football from there. Ryo also showed his skills as a winger, striker, and defender.
Moreover, he represented Japan at the Under 17 Youth National Team. He was enrolled in Tachibana High School and focused on both his studies and a football career.
Ryo Shimazaki | Moving to America
Shimazaki was not selected to be the top team in Japan. He initially thought about moving to the USA for higher studies, but he was also looking to enhance his football career.
Moreover, he was interested in MLS, which kept growing every year, and had a dream to win it.
Ryo was inspired by a senior named Kosuke Kimura, who went to Colorado Rapids in a draft and won the MLS.
Therefore, he emailed hundreds of schools, of which 20 schools wrote back. But, the poor TOEFL score of Shimazaki even narrowed down his choices of university.
Finally, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) accepted him as a student with a condition of admission to its language school.
Ryo Shimazaki | Football Career
Ryo moved to the USA for his higher studies, but nothing stopped him from pursuing a football career. Thus, he went to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and joined the college football team.
Shimazaki wanted to continue his football career along with his studies. So he met with coaches who helped him to grow his football career.
In his freshman year, Shimazaki made an appearance in 14 games. He made his first appearance against the University of Nevada on August 28, 2016.
During his sophomore years, he played 19 matches, initially playing as an outside back. He kept moving forward in his career with six points, two goals, and two assists.
He marked his first-ever football goal over Davidson on 4th October 2017. Ultimately, Ryo and his team won the match with 4-1 wins.
Shimazaki started playing as outside back initially for the 18 matches in the junior college season. He scored one goal and set three assists in the season.
Atlantic 10 Regular Season Champions
Ryo also helped VCU become the Atlantic 10 Regular Season Champions and received VaSID second-team all-state honors.
As a senior, Ryo started as an outside back for 18 matches with four goals and an assist in the season.
The Japanese footballer scored a goal in a match against Dayton on 9th October 2019, and the team won with a 2-1 score.
Ryo also converted a penalty and won the game at the last minute in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals against George Maison.
Likewise, he was named the Player of the week on 30th September 2019 and earned the A-10 all-conference first-team spot.
In his career at VCU, Shimazaki made 69 appearances and played four seasons. He registered seven goals with six assists.
Ryo and his team won the Atlantic 10 Regular Season Championship in 2018. Shimazaki also earned the spot in the All Atlantic 10 first team in 2019 and second team in 2018.
2020 MLS SuperDraft
Ryo was selected in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft by Columbus Crew SC. Consequently, he made it to the third round of the drafts.
The Colombus Crew SC announced that Ryo Shimazaki was selected for the 2020 MLS Superdraft.
It was a step closer for Ryo as he had always dreamt of playing in MLS. But, Ryo was worried about the result as he thought he wouldn’t make it as he was a foreigner.
He wanted that dream to come true, but he saw the thin lining of it happening.
However, he received a separate offer from New England Revolution II. MLS takes the draft system, but the clubs also scout the potential players in parallel.
He was skeptical about the result, so he accepted the offer. However, since he took the offer, Shimazaki did not make it to the drafts.
When asked about it, Shimazaki responded that he had no idea if he would make it or not, so he preferred to be on the safer side.
New England Revolution II
After two unsuccessful attempts, Shimazaki finally signed to New England Revolution II on January 16, 2020.
He played 14 matches under New England Revolution II in USL League One. Out of 14 matches played, Revolution II won four matches. He scored a goal in the league.
Furthermore, it might be the second season of the USL league, but for Revolution II and Ryo Shimazaki, it was their first appearance in the league.
It’s a crucial league for Shimazaki and his team as it is the place for the young players to have exposure where they get to increase their chance of being called for MLS Parent club, the New England revolution.
The ultimate football goal for Ryo Shimazaki is to play in Major League Soccer (MLS). He had this dream of MLS after Columbus Crew SC selected him in the third round at the 2020 MLS Superdraft.
He wants to fulfill his goal. As a result, Shimazaki is paving his path to achieve that goal with New England Revolution II.
Moreover, Ryo is doing his best in the USL league to be selected for New England Revolution and then competes in MLS, the dream league he had always dreamt of.
Ryo Shimazaki | Clothing Brand
Along with his football career, Shimazaki wanted to build his own business. So he started a fashion brand named Inc.Lusion, which is a high-quality fashion brand.
This brand aims to show equality between people and to promote the beauty of diversity.
It was hard for Shimazaki to start a business, but he wanted to do it since his college days. As a result, he is soon about to launch his clothing brand.
Ryo Shimazaki | Girlfriend
There has been no information regarding the girlfriend or relationships of Ryo Shimazaki.
He is presumably single right now and is focusing on his football career. He has no rumors or affairs and is currently in a relationship with his football career.
Ryo Shimazaki | Social media
Ryo is active in his social media, particularly Instagram and Twitter. He has more than a thousand followers on both platforms.
Shimazaki shares his personal opinions and achievements there. In addition, he uses it as a platform to connect with his well-wishers and close ones. Links are given below:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why did Shimazaki start his clothing business?
Shimazaki enrolled as a Business major at VCU before playing as a footballer in the team.
Along with his football career, Shimazaki also wanted to be a successful businessman. It was something he wanted to do. So, he started a clothing business named Inc.Lusion.
What is the net worth of Shimazaki?
The net worth of Shimazaki is not known to the public. Neither is there any information about his assets and property.