Abdul Rwatubyaye Eyeing Rwanda National Team Again

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SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 20: San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski (8) has a shot on goal despite the defense of Sporting Kansas City defender Abdul Rwatubyaye (3) during the MLS match between Sporting Kansas City and San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on April 20, 2019 in San Jose, CA. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Editorial (May 20, 2019) – Abdul Rwatubyaye is starting to get settled in the State of Colorado. But he’s got eyes on returning back home in a certain way.

Abdul Rwatubyaye Eyeing Rwanda National Team Again

The Rwandan international center back made his Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC debut on Saturday. He played a full 90 minutes in what was ultimately a lackluster loss for the Boys in Black.

Rwatubyaye has had a crazy couple of months. He signed with Sporting KC in February, having played his entire professional career in Rwanda before that. The 22-year-old played in just two games for SKC and spent some time with Swope Park Rangers (their USL affiliate) before being traded to Colorado.

He was then loaned down to the Springs days later, playing his first game after just one training session:

“He didn’t have any training with us until yesterday, a walk through really. The kid’s talented,” Switchbacks manager Steve Trittschuh told Last Word on Soccer. “He needs games just to get up to the speed with things.”

While the Rapids need help at the center back position, Rwatubyaye is still young, raw, and getting used to the game in America (and America itself probably). There’s also the issue of getting fit at altitude. Plus his place in the team will be decided by the new manager.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been playing games. If I get back to playing games and getting my fitness up, I’ll be good,” he told Last Word on Soccer.

While there’s a lot of uncertainty, a few things have to happen for Rwatubyaye before any of this gets sorted out. He needs to get fit and play regularly. It looks like that will happen in the Springs for the rest of 2019.

But a few things are certain. He’s excited to be playing again. He wants to get into the first team eventually. And he wants and believes that will lead to getting more time for Amavubi. Rwatubyaye made his debut for them in 2015. He has 22 caps and was part of the squad for Africa Cup of Nations qualification.

Getting used to altitude won’t be a big deal. Rwanda is very high above sea level. Rayon Sports, his club prior to Sporting, is in the capital of Kigali which sits about a mile above sea level, just like Denver. He knows what playing at altitude is like. He just needs time to re-familiarize himself.

Rwatubyaye told Last Word that his main goal is to just get fit and play well regularly. The RAFF is happy that he’s playing again. That’s the most important thing for him right now.

In that, his club team and country are on the same page. Given the Switchbacks gave up three goals on Saturday, there’s plenty of work to be done to get him where he wants to be.

If he can help turn around their season, he’ll put himself in a great position for 2020 with both the Rapids and Rwanda.

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