Photo by Jeff Vorva
The Fire traded Harry Shipp for cash
The Chicago Fire shipped out popular midfielder Harry Shipp and he didn’t take the news well.
“When I was told out of the blue that I would no longer be a member of the Fire, I immediately broke down and started crying,” Shipp said in an open letter to Chicago. “It was totally shocking and overwhelming. This club and this city have meant everything to me. Not just for the past two years, but since I started following the Fire over 15 years ago.’’
The Lake Forest native was traded Saturday to Montreal for general and targeted allocation money.
"Harry is a homegrown player and an obvious fan-favorite, which makes this trade more emotional than most,” said Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez. “However, we believe this trade will prove to be beneficial for our club and for Harry's career."
Shipp, 24, had 10 goals and 14 assists in 66 games for the Chicago Fire during his two years with the club. He also made eight appearances for the Fire during Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play, helping the team reach the semifinals both years. Shipp initially signed with Chicago as a Homegrown Player on Jan. 9, 2014.
During the first day of camp, he was asked by the media about taking a leadership role with the team since he was a second-longest tenured player on the team.
Now he will learn a new team and new system.
“With this door closing, I am so grateful to the Montreal Impact and the city of Montreal for giving me this next opportunity in my career,” Shipp said. “Fortunately, I have a new outlet to direct my energy/focus and I plan on making the most of it.
I can’t wait to get to meet my new teammates, get to work, meet some of the fans, and do my best to learn a little French.’’
He added that he wished he could have helped the Fire more.
“My passion in the past two years was to help make soccer relevant again in Chicago,” Shipp said. “This is what got me out of bed every single morning. I wanted to look back 10 years from now and be proud of how I was able to contribute to the growth of this club and its interaction with the city of Chicago.
I wanted to continue to be a role model for kids growing up playing soccer in Chicago. There was no single part of this job I liked more than being able to relate to these kids and give them a realistic end-goal to dream for.
“Unfortunately all I was able to contribute was two of the statistically worst seasons in Fire history, and that genuinely breaks my heart more than you could imagine. I’m sorry that I was unable to do more for the city, because if anyone understands what this city deserves in a soccer club, it is me.’’
Acclaim for Accam in preseason win
David Accam had two goals to lead the Fire to a 4-2 preseason friendly last Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. Nick LaBrocca and Gilberto scored in the second half for the Fire (2-0).
"We're very happy because when you're working on concepts and you see that the team believes, tries to play and give their best in every game, in every session, it's very good for us,’’ Fire coach Veljko Paunovic. “I think that playing an MLS opponent is very hopeful for us. We believe that our guys did a great job in terms of following the game plan that we had and then giving it their best, all requirements that we have for our team. They played, they enjoyed the game, they knew how to compete, also they were organized, which is very important, and they were passionate about the game."
It gets Simple from here
The team is in Oregon and will open play in the Simple Invitational in Portland. The Fire plays the Vancouver Whitecaps at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Providence Park.