The Chicago Fire announced on Thursday that they have secured Notre Dame forward Harrison Shipp to a Homegrown contract, netting one of college soccer's brightest stars for new coach Frank Yallop's rebuilding project.
Shipp captained the Fighting Irish to their first-ever NCAA national championship last month, providing the game-winning assist in Notre Dame's 2-1 win over Maryland in the College Cup final at PPL Park.
“Harry’s a local guy, one of the best college players in the country and we are extremely excited to have him join the Fire,” Yallop said in a statement. “It speaks very highly of our player development system where a player of Harry’s caliber can thrive and have a direct route to the first team.
“He’s trained with the first team over the summer and we expect a smooth transition for him from the college game to the professional ranks.”
A native of Lake Forest, Ill., he notched 12 goals and 10 assists in 24 matches as a senior, earning 2013 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and All-ACC First Team honors as well as a raft of other awards for academic and athletic achievement.
Shipp appeared most comfortable as a withdrawn striker during his Notre Dame career, but has signaled his willingness to fill multiple roles for the Fire.
“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,” he told MLSsoccer.com this week.
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“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.”
Over his four-year collegiate career, Shipp scored 23 goals and tallied 24 assists in 83 matches. He is one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, college soccer's top individual honor, which will be announced on Friday.