He moved up to the first team during the 2009-10 season, making his debut, at the age of 20, in a 6-1 Ukrainian Cup win against Dnister Ovidiopol (now called FC Odesa). He made his league debut for the club 16 days later, coming as a substitute on 31 August in a 3-1 victory over Zorya Luhansk. His first goal for Shakhtar came in the following round of the Ukrainian Cup in a 3-1 victory over Yednist' Plysky. He also set up the third goal of the match for Oleksandr Gladkiy. Rakitskiy scored his second goal of the season in a 4-1 group stage win over Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League. He ended his first season in the Shakhtar first team with 37 appearances, of which 24 came in the league, and 2 goals. He picked his first trophy at Shakhtar, with the team winning the league.
Yaroslav made his debut for the national team on 10 October 2009, at the age of 20, in a 1-0 victory over England in a World Cup qualifier. His first goal for Ukraine came just four days later and a 6-0 win against Andorra. He scored his second goal in a 2-1 friendly win over Chile on 7 September 2010  and scored his third goal in another friendly match, a 2-2 draw with Romania which saw Ukraine take victory 4-2 in a penalty shootout.