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Charlotte FC Player Connected to Sexual Assault Leaves for Azerbaijan
Andre Shinyashiki, who hasn't played for Charlotte FC since April, signed by Azerbaijan club Neftçi PFK.
Editor’s Note: the below story has been updated to reflect Charlotte FC’s announcement of the mutual termination of Shinyashiki’s contract.
Soccer Sheet has learned Charlotte FC forward Andre Shinyashiki, who was linked to a police report of a sexual assault in March and has not played in months, has signed a two-year contract with Neftçi PFK in Azerbaijan. He will wear #9 for the team.
Soccer Sheet was told by sources with knowledge it is not a transfer nor a loan, meaning that Charlotte FC was not involved with the move.
After this story was originally published, Charlotte FC announced Shinyashiki and the club mutually terminated the contract. The mutual termination frees up roster and salary space for Charlotte FC.
Any additional contract or termination terms were not available at press time. Neither Neftçi, Shinyashiki, nor Major League Soccer replied to an immediate request for comment.
Since the story broke, MLS has not replied to any requests for comment nor have they answered questions from this publication.
Soccer Sheet has asked MLS communications officers on multiple occasions whether or not the league takes allegations of sexual misconduct seriously. MLS has not as of yet replied to the question.
Neftçi PFK is currently playing in Europa Conference League qualifying rounds, the third tier of FIFA/UEFA international club competition in Europe. Azerbaijan is 6,278 miles from Charlotte, perhaps indicative of the trouble Shinyashiki had finding a new club.
The story that benched Shinyashiki and former Charlotte player Nuno Santos was first reported by The Charlotte Ledger. Since that time, Santos has left the squad.
The [death of Anton Walkes] may have had a domino effect. In the wake of Walkes’ passing, offensive player Andre Shinyashiki wrote multiple heartfelt social media posts about his friend.
“I don’t know how I’m going to look in to your locker and not see you, I don’t know how I’m going to get through training everyday with you not being there. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you, I will forever love you and will honor your name while I can,” Shinyashiki wrote in a Jan. 19 Facebook post.
Soon after, the former MLS Rookie of the Year would effectively end his career with Charlotte FC.
Sources with knowledge of the situation say Shinyashiki was partying heavily as the season began — something that’s frowned upon if not forbidden on soccer clubs given the athletic nature of the sport. The Charlotte Ledger first reported that on March 2, he and teammate Nuno Santos were connected to a police report of a sexual assault in Charlotte.
No charges were filed, and Shinyashiki and his agent claimed that he was cleared to play by an MLS investigation, but neither he nor Santos has played for the squad since before the story broke. Santos has since been traded away, and though all Charlotte FC players are MLS employees, Major League Soccer has ignored multiple requests for comment from Queen City Nerve.
The effective suspension of Shinyashiki and Santos cost Charlotte FC over $1 million in payroll, which is important to the club’s recruiting prospects since MLS rules limit the amount teams can spend on player salaries outside of three “designated players” that are not subject to salary caps.
The losses of Walkes, Shinyashiki and Santos as options have also hurt the team on the pitch as they struggle with injuries and shifting lineups.
More details as the story develops.
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