Sounders FC midfielder Harry Shipp announced Tuesday he’s retiring from professional soccer.

Shipp, 28, played seven Major League Soccer seasons, and played a pivotal role in Seattle’s 2019 MLS Cup run.

Shipp also represented the team as part of the MLS Players Association, navigating the new collective-bargaining agreement and return to play after the league shutdown in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This was not an easy decision because of all the amazing people at the Sounders, but I am excited to take this next step in my life,” Shipp said in a statement Tuesday. “I am grateful that I was able to live out my childhood dreams.”

Shipp is transitioning to pursue a MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He received an undergraduate degree at Notre Dame, where he played soccer from 2010-2013 and helped the Fighting Irish win a NCAA title his senior season.

A native of Lake Forest, Illinois, Shipp was signed as a Homegrown Player by the Chicago Fire in 2014. He was a finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year that season and played for the Montreal Impact (2016) before joining the Sounders in 2017.

Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer always complimented Shipp’s dependability and cerebral approach to the game. When the Sounders suffered from numerous injuries and international call-ups last season, Shipp provided steady veteran leadership on and off the field.

“Since he arrived in Seattle, Harry has shown that he is a reliable player and a consummate professional,” Schmetzer said in a statement. “I’m happy for Harry to start a new chapter in his life. I know how hard it was to walk away from our club, and we will miss him both on and off the field.”

Shipp started 15 of his 25 matches last season for the Sounders. He scored five goals and had three assists in his 1,382 total minutes. Shipp had 164 overall appearances in MLS competitions.

“My long-term goal is to run an MLS club,” Shipp told SoundersFC.com. “I love soccer and I’ve been alive in this growth period of the sport in this country. I feel invested and I want to see that process out, where MLS is treated the same as the NFL, NBA and MLB. I think there’s been great strides in that, and I think as the league continues to grow, there will be more power at the team level to drive that growth forward. And being a part of that growth on a team level is something that’s super appealing to me.”

Most recently, Shipp has been involved with raising awareness through his social media accounts about police brutality and other injustices black people face in America. Shipp stated in a recent Instagram post he’s spent the time during quarantine to further educate himself.

“As a white person, this is our problem to fix,” Shipp wrote. “They (black people) need our help. Today. Tomorrow. Until we live in a just society.”

The Sounders returned to full training last week in preparation for the “MLS Is Back” tournament in July at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

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