[MLS ROOKIE CLASS: Ten to Watch]One only needs to look at last year's rookie class to see the importance of MLS homegrown players signed out of college. DeAndre Yedlin,Scott CaldwellandWil Trappout of Akron and Gyasi Zardes from CSU Bakersfield all contributed right way -- in key roles -- for their teams. Of the eight 2014 HG players signed out of college, Chicago's Harrison Shippis given perhaps the best chance to contribute immediately. What's surprising is that he wasn't a starter until his senior year at Notre Dame.
MLS Rookie Class: Ten to Watch
1. Jordan Allen (Univ. of Virginia-signed with Real Salt Lake)
Read his story. Follow @jayalllen.
2. Steve Birnbaum (Univ. of California)
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3. Marlon Hairston (Univ. of Louisville)
Read his story. Follow @MARLYG10
4. Christian Dean (Univ. of California)
Read his story. Follow @christiandean22
5. Pedro Ribeiro (Coastal Carolina Univ.)
Read his story. Follow @pedronalribeiro
6. Andre Blake(Univ. of Connecticut)
Read his story.
7. Patrick Mullins (Univ. of Maryland)
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8. Schillo Tshuma (Univ. of Maryland)
Read his story.
9. Harrison Shipp(Notre Dame Univ.)
Shipp only started four games in his first three seasons at Notre Dame but enjoyed a big senior season for the Irish, who won their first national championship. He finished with 12 goals and 10 assists in 24 matches, earning ACC Offensive Player of the Year and All-ACC First Team honors.
Shipp, who played in the Fire academy program in 2009 and 2010 and spent his summer with the Fire U-20 and PDL teams, never thought of leaving school early to sign a homegrown contract. He's a finance major with a 3.883 cumulative GPA and was named the 2013 Capital One Academic All-American of the Year for Division I men’s soccer.
In Pete LaFleur's excellent profile of Shipp, Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark calls Shipp the model student-athlete.
"He is a near-perfect student who has wonderful time management skills," said Clark. "On the soccer field, Harry is a magician. I call him a wizard since he can conjure up amazing feats when none seem possible. Lastly, he has quietly grown into a true leader of the team. He really doesn't talk much, but what he does say has great meaning and carries tremendous weight within the team. He has been an absolute pleasure to coach, and we will miss him greatly."
Shipp took over in the Irish midfield for Dillon Powers, who is a pretty good judge of what it takes to make the jump to the pros and says Shipp should adapt to MLS quickly.
"Harry can really unlock defenses," the 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year told LaFleur, "and that is what teams will be looking for. I watched some of the Notre Dame games this season with some of my Rapids teammates, and they were pretty impressed with Harry and the way he plays the game. I've never had a connection with any other teammate like I had with Harry."