Seattle Sounders: How to Make the Most of Harry Shipp

Jun 24, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Fire midfielder Harry Shipp (19) practices before the game against D.C. United at Toyota Park. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Fire midfielder Harry Shipp (19) practices before the game against D.C. United at Toyota Park. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

Harry Shipp has the versatility to line up in a number of positions for the Seattle Sounders, but where is he best suited to play in order to maximize his impact?

In the eyes of some, Harry Shipp has a reputation for being an enigma. Once considered one of the league’s rising stars, he has seen that reputation somewhat tarnished, after two trades in less than a year.

Of course the second trade has seen Shipp end up with the Seattle Sounders, who acquired him from the Montreal Impact, in exchange for general allocation money. As far as the Rave Green are concerned, they are in a position to take advantage of his potential.

In that respect “position” is an appropriate word, given where the 25-year old has lined up so far during preseason training. As reported by Ryan Krasnoo of, he has employed the No. 6, No. 8, No. 10 and outside winger roles.

Depending on your perspective, being a versatile player can be considered a blessing or a curse. At this point it should be considered the former, as the Sounders look to find the best position for him to line up.

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As for Shipp himself, he’s just concentrating on working hard and showing what he can do. As he told Krasnoo: “Right now, I’m just trying to compete and be a part of the 11 that plays week in and week out.”

In that respect, the youngster is keeping an open mind on his position: “Wherever (on the field) that ends up being, I’ll do my best to contribute to the team.”

Shipp will be the first to tell you he had a tough time during his one season in Montreal. Limited to 20 starts, it was certainly his toughest year yet in MLS.

In that respect, the 2013 ACC Offensive Player of the Year has been giving a new lease of life, after joining the Sounders: “Seattle is one of the places I targeted and trying to get there, I’m thankful it worked out.

“The quality of the organization, the fans, the city, the quality of the teammates…all those things combined make it a desirable thing for me. Hopefully I can stay here for a little while.”

If the early signs are anything to go by, Shipp certainly has the chance to turn that hope into reality. He has stood out during training sessions and it’s already clear that he is an extremely intelligent player.

Showing a refreshingly humble nature, the former Chicago Fire homegrown talent downplays any attempts to praise him. As far as he’s concerned, playing with the likes of Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris makes his job easier.

Shipp said: “It doesn’t take too much hard work for me to set those guys up in good positions, because they’re able to do their magic especially in the final third. I’m taking the first few weeks of preseason to try and learn people’s tendencies so when it comes to the beginning of March and we’re ready to play games, I don’t have to think about what everyone is going to do on the field.”

Of course none of this answers the question of what position the Lake Forest, Illinois native will play. What I can say with confidence at this stage, is he will be in the starting XI to begin the regular season, probably lining up in one of the three midfield positions in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

Next: Where Does Gustav Svensson Fit in?

What was your opinion when the Sounders first acquired Shipp? Further, what kind of impact do you expect him to have in Seattle? Share your thoughts in the comments section.