UPDATE: The Sounders officially announced Shipp’s re-signing on Wednesday.
While significant holes remain on the roster — most notably on defense, where just one natural centerback is under contract — the Seattle Sounders have at least moved to shore up their depth in the midfield with the re-signing of Harry Shipp, sources have confirmed to Sounder at Heart.
Shipp’s contract was due to expire following the season and he was exposed to the expansion draft, but had notably not been among the players available in the Re-Entry Draft, despite being eligible. That suggested he was at least in active negotiations with the Sounders if not already re-signed.
Bringing back Shipp makes a ton of sense, especially with the almost-certain departure of Victor Rodriguez. The 28-year-old midfielder is coming off one of his most productive professional seasons. In less than 1,400 minutes, Shipp had five goals and three assists. The only players on the roster with more goals each played at least 400 more minutes and the only players with more assists played at least 600 more minutes apiece. With a reported salary of less than $250,000, Shipp also seemed to be a bit of a bargain.
Despite playing solidly off the bench and scoring several important goals, Shipp played just 63 minutes over the team’s final nine matches and didn’t make a single appearance during the playoffs. There was an obvious line of thinking as to how the Sounders saw him fitting in.
Shipp’s re-signing suggests he values stability and playing on a team consistently competing for silverware over being assured of more playing time somewhere else. With the Sounders almost certainly playing more competitive matches this year with the addition of Concacaf Champions League and the Campeones Cup, there will also likely be more opportunities for Shipp to see the field here.
This story first appeared on Dec. 11, 2019 and was updated on Jan. 7, 2020.