Chicago Fire didn’t enjoy the best of seasons in Major League Soccer this year but one bright spark for the team was rookie Harry Shipp and his performances will give the team hope for the next campaign.
Shipp made the transition from college football to professional standard look incredibly easy in the first half of the 2014 season despite the fact the Fire struggled to find form.
His performances dipped slightly as the season progressed, and he admits that getting used to losing was a tough adjustment to make.
“Obviously from a team standpoint it was a disappointing year. Coming off being successful at Notre Dame, it was hard to come in here and have a realistic expectation that you’re not going to win every game and I think that was an adjustment for me,” he said.
“But the good thing about these guys is that we didn’t stop fighting all year, just unfortunately I think we were unable to sustain possession.
“I think there were key points in games where we let the other team dictate the game, and we were always on the back foot reacting to what they were doing rather than being proactive on the field. That’s definitely something we can work on going into next year.”
Shipp is expected to win the MLS Rookie of the Year award for his remarkable season as he scored seven goals and led the team in assists with six in 2014.
He played in all but one game and has become an integral part of the Chicago team, and will be again next season regardless of who is brought in during the offseason.
“I learned to play out wide this year, both on the right and left and that’s something I’d never really done before so that was part of the learning experience.
“It doesn’t matter who comes in here as the more positions I can play means there will always be a role for me on the field and that was my goal coming here.”
The 23-year-old believes that he can become more and more of a leader for the Fire as his career progresses and the team will already be looking ahead to next season.
“As the season went on I tried to take on more responsibility and I think as I grow in my career I’ll take on more and more leadership and that’s what I foresee for myself, but I learnt so much from the older guys this season.”
Chicago are planning to strengthen the squad ahead of the next campaign and are looking at bringing in “two or three” designated players as they bid to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012 next time out.
Full interview with Harry Shipp (via Chicago Fire on YouTube):