Notre Dame's Harrison Shipp close to coming to terms with hometown Chicago FIre
Harrison Shipp hasn't had much time to revel in the glory of his senior season at Notre Dame.
Between winning the College Cup, where he was named tournament MVP, taking final exams, which allowed him to graduate in three-and-a-half years with a degree in finance, and negotiating his first professional contract with the Chicago Fire, who own his Homegrown rights, his only time to sit and think about his accomplishments during the first three weeks of the offseason came during a family trip to Colorado and a short trip home to Chicago.
And if Shipp and the Fire each have their way, the Homegrown player prospect will reach terms with the club soon, and his short respite will come to an end when the team begins preseason training later this month.
“It's all been very positive,” Shipp told MLSsoccer.com by phone about negotiations with his hometown club. “We're still in the process right now, but something should be coming out very soon. I think it's a good fit for both sides, so I'm really hoping it works out shortly.”
If the signing is completed, the Hermann Trophy finalist will give the Fire another central attacking option, where he is most comfortable playing as a second forward or an attacking midfielder.
But the Lake Forest, Ill., native said he's also made a commitment to learning to play all over the field.
“My most comfortable position is kind of playing that dropped forward or attacking midfield role, but I know that in MLS, that position is always the most competitive on the whole field, and it's hard to get on the field,” Shipp said.
“That's why I wanted to make a point, in the last couple of years in college, of becoming versatile, learning how to defend, learning how to play out wide, and just using my assets as a soccer player in order to kind of increase the number of possible positions I can play, which will increase my chances of getting on the field as a rookie or second-year player.”
Shipp has transformed over the last year from a heavily-used bench player into one of the best players in college soccer. He credits his marked progression to his time playing behind 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year Dillon Powers, as well as a summer spent training with the Fire and Swedish second-division club Hammarby, who were coached by current Crew coach Gregg Berhalter.
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Had Berhalter stayed with the Swedish club, Shipp said he could have seen himself heading overseas.
Now, it appears Chicago have the talented midfielder all but locked up. If Shipp signs, he could be the Fire's first of three Homegrown players not only to become a significant contributor, but to play in an MLS game.
“I'm not looking to come and set up for the future, I want to contribute now,” Shipp said. “Once I get comfortable in preseason, kind of learning all the players and what their tendencies are, I think that's when I'll start to thrive in terms of putting people in the best position to succeed on the field.”