After eight successful seasons in Mexico with Club Leon, including two Liga MX titles, William Yarbrough was ready for a new challenge.
Born in Mexico to American parents, the thrice-capped USMNT goalkeeper amassed 192 appearances with Leon, but had made just six league starts since the 2017-18 season kicked off. With a heavy heart, Yarbrough decided it was time to move on.
“It was 100 percent my decision," Yarbrough told MLSsoccer.com. "I have a great relationship with (club chairman) Jesus Martinez and his family, I was ready for a move, a new challenge. I personally thanked them for allowing this to happen, I’m thankful they made this happen. ... I literally have nothing but good things to say about the city, fans, staff, teammates, coaches and everyone I’ve come in contact with. You hold those experiences close to your heart forever.”
Leon acquiesced to his request, brought in another goalkeeper, and the parties began plotting a deal to suit everyone. Yarbrough was interested in moving north of the border for the first time in his professional career.
He stayed up on MLS in Mexico, saying he watched four or five games a weekend. With the league's growth coinciding with his time coming to an end at his beloved Leon, Yarbrough decided MLS was the right choice.
“I had opportunities in the past to come (to MLS), but for one reason or another I stayed back in Mexico, but [now] it was time," Yarbrough said. "I couldn’t be happier with the decision I made.”
But which club would he play at and was the right club interested? He wasn't short of options.
Before Yarbrough eventually joined the Colorado Rapids on loan in March, the Houston Dynamo were reportedly interested in bringing him aboard. Yarbrough confirms the contact, but a deal never materialized.
“There was communication with Houston, but as it happens every day in soccer across the world, we weren’t able to come to an agreement," Yarbrough said. "I’m more than happy with the way things turned out, I’m happy and thankful to be with Colorado.”
After moving on from that potential deal, of which news first broke in December, Yarbrough had to wait until the beginning of March before officially getting his move.
The Rapids did their due diligence and conversations with the player went smooth.
“They didn’t try to sell me on anything, that’s what I appreciated the most," Yarbrough said. "They were straightforward and honest. The type of players they had, how they want to play. I felt what I can offer fit in with how the team plays, that made it an easy decision.”
Yarbrough was the latest piece in an exciting offseason in Colorado. The Rapids signed Designated Player Younes Namli, winger Nicolas Benezet, traded for US youth national team center back Auston Trusty and more. The mood around the club was high after an impressive final two-thirds of their 2019 season.
The club got off to a perfect start to 2020 prior to the league's suspension, a pair of 2-1 wins. Yarbrough only officially signed the day before the second game, thus wasn't ready to feature. The following Thursday was when the MLS season came to an abrupt halt.
Even so, Yarbrough is bullish on the club and his new teammates.
“It’s great, man," Yarbrough said. "It’s a young locker room, but for as young as a lot of these guys are, their mindset is as if they’re the veterans. They strive to be better every day. It’s a great combination in this team with youth and experience, it’s a great group of guys.”