Colorado Rapids

Yosuke Hanya showcases "intelligent and savvy" playing style in call ups to first team 


Midfielder Yosuke Hanya received his fourth call up with the Rapids first team on Saturday night, joining the attacking battle for an equalizer against FC Cincinnati after being subbed on to start the second half. He played a full 45 minutes at altitude in the eventual loss to the Eastern Conference opponent.

Hanya currently leads Rapids 2 in goals scored, tallying at least one goal in every match he's played this season with exception to the second team’s 1-0 victory over Austin FC II. Through his accomplishments with the second team, he's earned the attention of first team coaches and players to achieve two appearances in MLS.

Hanya has impressed since last year after scoring four goals and recording three assists for Rapids 2 in 2022. Preseason in Querétaro, Mexico was a large breakthrough for the Japanese international in terms of making an impression on first team coaches and players.

“He had a really good preseason with us,” said Head Coach Robin Fraser. "He's got savvy, he's got intelligence...and he makes good decisions. He makes good decisions going forward, picturing a particular goal--in preseason that happened because of him.”

"He's really shown it all year, whether it's preseason, what he's doing with Rapids 2, what he does in training with us. He's a very intelligent player and a technically very good player.”

Hanya’s seen similarities in the styles of both teams, nodding to the club’s effort to foster a consistent playing environment, whether it’s through the academy, on Erik Bushey’s Rapids 2 squad, or all the way to the first team. The largest difference between the MLS and MLS NEXT Pro is the speed of play.

“When you have the ball you have less space and time, so you have to know what you have to do before you receive the ball,” Hanya said.

His second half spent in DICK’S Sporting Goods Park against Cincinnati was the first time he played in front of thousands of fans at altitude.

“This is great, playing in front of a lot of fans means a lot to me being a second team player right now that's trying to get to the first team,” he said. “So I'm really happy to play a decent amount of minutes and I want to keep it going.”

Saturday’s call up was Hanya’s fourth and final with the first team this season. In order to gain more minutes with the first team in 2023 the midfielder will have to be signed to a first-team contract, a scenario that players and fans alike could easily envision after his performances this month.

“We talked to him before the game and said just keep doing what you're doing with Rapids 2 and I think he showed flashes of that tonight,” said fellow midfielder Cole Bassett, who played alongside Hanya for the final 15 minutes of the match after making his first substitution in two months due to injury.

“It's good on the club for rewarding players that are playing well with the second team and bringing them up. To be able to get called up for four first-team games, I doubt there's many other players in MLS NEXT Pro that are doing that. So props to him and if he keeps working I think he'll be with us soon.”