Harry Shipp is excited for his new opportunity with the Seattle Sounders, even if he doesn’t know where exactly he’ll be playing.
In Sounders preseason training this week in Tucson, Ariz., Shipp has employed the No. 6, No. 8, No. 10 and outside winger roles. A versatile 25-year-old with a ton of pace, head coach Brian Schmetzer has a lot of options with his new signing, and he’s trying to determine where he’ll fit best.
“Right now, I’m just trying to compete and be a part of the 11 that plays week in and week out,” Shipp said. “Wherever [on the field] that ends up being, I’ll do my best to contribute to the team.”
Regardless of where Shipp does eventually land on the pitch, his job is a simple one: Put playmaking teammates like Nicolas Lodeiro and Clint Dempsey in good positions with the ball. The rest, he said, will take care of itself.
“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,” said Shipp. “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.”
Shipp joins the Sounders after a one-year stint with the Montreal Impact, a place where he never felt settled after his hometown Chicago Fire unexpectedly jettisoned him to Quebec following the 2015 MLS season. He said he already feels more comfortable in Seattle and is looking forward to wearing the Rave Green.
“Seattle is one of the places I targeted and trying to get there, I’m thankful it worked out,” said Shipp. “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.”
Shipp will get his first taste of life as a Sounder on Saturday when the club takes on the rival Portland Timbers in a Desert Diamond friendly (5:30 p.m. PT; SoundersFC.com). It’s a chance for him to make an immediate impression and put his early stamp on the Cascadia clash.
“I felt a little bit of it with Montreal versus Toronto,” said Shipp. “That was maybe not quite the same level, but it is in terms of teams disliking each other. [Sounders versus Timbers will be] that same passion amped up a notch.”