As the team ramps up preparations for the MLS is Back Tournament next month, Sounders FC players and staff took a moment to reflect Harry Shipp’s contributions to the club following his retirement on Tuesday.
Sounders forward Will Bruin, who joined Rave Green mere days after Shipp signed in 2017, is sad to see him go, but acknowledged that his former teammate is setting himself up for a successful post-soccer career.
“I wish Harry all the best,” said Bruin. "He was a good friend of mine on the team. I know he’s going to be doing great things in next chapter. I’m sure it was a very difficult decision, but it was something that he did not take lightly. I’m sure he made the right decision for himself.”
Midfielder Cristian Roldan expressed a similar sentiment, pointing to the gravity of a player’s decision to step away from the game they love.
“I don’t think people understand how difficult of a decision it is to retire so early,” said Roldan. “He probably was contemplating it for a while now. We understand that Harry is such a smart individual, and that he has qualities elsewhere off the field. He was a fantastic player for us, such a good, reliable player to have… I’ve got nothing but great things to say about my boy Harry Shipp.”
For Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, Shipp’s remarkable reliability on the pitch is an attribute he always admired. On top of his on-field contributions, Schmetzer noted that Shipp’s positive influence in the locker room and work with the MLS Players’ Union will have a lasting legacy on the club.
“We certainly are going to miss Harry a lot,” said Schmetzer. “What I love about soccer players in general is if they’re consistent. When you put them on the field, you know what you get. Harry fit that to a tee. If I put Harry on the field, I knew exactly what I was going to get. To me as a coach, that was very valuable. He was good in the locker room. He was very good about the Union and all of that stuff earlier in the year.”
Turning their sights toward looming matches, the return to full-team training and interacting with teammates has been a breath of fresh air during a tumultuous time.
“Being able to be with the group and play unrestricted, and just have everyone together, has been fun,” said Bruin. “It’s been a crazy year, so I think it’s just good to have everybody enjoying soccer again and being able to do what we love.”
While the squad is enjoying being back out on the pitch, the objective for the MLS is Back Tournament is crystal clear: they want to bring home a trophy.
“I think it’s going to be a very intense tournament, a very competitive tournament,” added Bruin. “I think we’ve just got to focus on us. We’ve shown when we do that, our track record speaks for itself.”