USMNT Roundtable: What about Harry?

Should the Fire man have got a USMNT call-up this January? (sbisoccer.com)

Should the Fire man have got a USMNT call-up this January? (sbisoccer.com)

The USMNT roundtable has looked at the squad for Kamp Klinsi and is wondering whether there might have been an oversight…

Jurgen Klinsmann has named his squad for USMNT’s January training camp. The tradition for these beginning-of-the-year rosters is to call up a number of players who have performed well in the preceding MLS season and have a look to see how those skills translate to the international set-up.

This year’s camp brings a new consideration: the 2016 Olympics and the qualifying tournament that precedes it.

So Klinsmann has brought in some new faces – like LA Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes and DC United’s Steve Birnbaum – and some guys who are kicking around on the edge of this thoughts (like New England Revolution’s Lee Nguyen and Minnesota United’s Miguel Ibarra) to join some established veterans of recent USMNT squads, such as Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler and San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski.

And whole bunch of kids who are age-eligible for the Olympics (which is more or less an Under-23 tournament): Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps), Julio Morales (Chivas de Guadalajara) and Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), to name but a few.

And Brek Shea, who is in the category of player known as “Brek Shea”.

It's easier if you dress yourself with the lights on, Brek (thefootballramble.com)

It’s easier if you dress yourself with the lights on, Brek (thefootballramble.com)

Should be fun to watch how they all fit together in upcoming friendlies against Chile (January 28) and Panama (February 8).

Oh…one thing though…is Kamp Klinsi missing someone? Should a young Chicago Fire player who had a helluva rookie season have got a place on this roster? The USMNT roundtable gives the question some thought…

Brian Howe Battle

So what gives Klinsi?

I was very close to chalking this up to Jürgen using team call-ups as “statement” opportunities. It was a statement not to bring Landon Donovan to Brazil, it was a statement to invite NASL’er Miguel Ibarra to USMNT camp, it was a statement to bring a college kid- Jordan Morris – along for Euro friendlies in November… but I have realized this is not another Klinsmann “statement” move. There might actually be logic to this one.

The biggest demerit on Harry’s CV isn’t his skill set, or even his birthplace… it’s his birthday: November 7, 1991. Other up-and-comers to receive a January invite (specifically Dillon Serna and Wil Trapp) are young enough to play in the 2016 Olympics. Shipp, and his equally-promising former Notre Dame teammate Dillon Powers, are not.

So, it’s not that Shipp hasn’t earned an opportunity, it’s just bad timing.  His parents merely chose a terrible time to give birth. As if they hadn’t even considered the FIFA Cup Cycles when conceiving. What’s worse, they then urged him — like the terrible people they are — to get a good college education instead of just playing soccer. Huge mistake, Mr and Mrs Shipp. HUGE. MISTAKE.

On the subject of mistakes... (instagram.com)

On the subject of mistakes… (instagram.com)

Rob Thompson

I absolutely think Harry Shipp should have been in the USMNT January camp.

Shipp placed second in the MLS 2014 Rookie of the Year vote, and actually had slightly better regular season stats than winner Tesho Akindele.  In my opinion, Akindele won the ROY title by being on a team that made the playoffs – and he further raised his profile by scoring in those playoffs.

But Shipp had a solid year in 2014. The only criticism that might be leveled against him was he seemed to fade a little as the season wore on.

Now I should say Akindele earned his call-up on merit, but I also believe coach Klinsmann is motivated by trying to cap the American-Canadian dual-national before our neighbors to the north get their hands on him.

For Harry Shipp it’s not IF he makes a USMNT roster, it’s WHEN he makes the roster.

The January camp would have provided a perfect opportunity to display his attacking midfield skills and vision to coach Klinsmann. When he gets his call, I see Shipp playing as an understudy to the starting #10.

As the USMNT gears up for 2015 Gold Cup and the 2016 Olympics it’s appropriate that this January squad was balanced with both veterans and youth. However, I do have a beef with some of the selections. Chris Wondolowski just won’t go away.

Wondo has been a great servant to the team, but at his age I don’t think that he can play at this level for another year. I’m sure Klinsmann called him up to be a veteran presence, but I honestly thought his game against Ireland was going to be his last in the Red, White, and Blue.

Another player on the roster whose call-up is questionable: midfielder Miguel Ibarra from the NASL. Ibarra has some great accolades for his work in the NASL, but it’s the second division. I would have liked to have seen Harry Shipp take Ibarra’s spot.

Shipp has won the NCAA Div 1 College Championship and placed second in the MLS ROY vote by the slimmest of margins. Shipp deserved selection over Ibarra on just those merits alone.

Coach Klinsmann is a crafty character and sometimes his motives for particular roster decisions are not so obvious to the naked eye (Read: Landon Donovan), but I do think we will see Harry Shipp in the Red, White, and Blue sooner rather than later.

James Vlahakis

I think it’s a simple question to answer: Yes, Harrison Shipp should have been called up for the January camp.

Simply stated, the kid deserves the call-up, after finishing a close second in the MLS Rookie of the Year vote. Having said that, I believe Harry is a patient person and that he knows his time will come. I’m also very confident that Chicago Fire’s Head Coach Frank Yallop and Technical Director Brian Bliss have worked hard on managing Harry’s expectations and his overall mental state.

On a side note, Brian Bliss is a former USMNT player, and while he hasn’t aged much at all from his USMNT days, I think it’s safe to say that we are living in a different era, let’s just call it the era of “Klinsmann-Does-What –He-Wants-When-He-Wants-For-Whatever-Reason(s)-He-Wants.”

Hasn't changed a bit... (nasljerseys.com)

Hasn’t changed a bit… (nasljerseys.com)

My point is that it’s almost impossible to understand what’s going on in Jürgen’s mind. But let me give it a shot…

First let me set the scene. Imagine Klinsi typing up a list on some Apple device while Enya’s Greatest Hits plays in the background on a Bang & Olufsen sound system. There’s a breeze flowing through his hair and a smell of sea salt in the air. Jürgen has just finished kale salad with roasted squash and morsels of grated cheese (artisanal, of course). Jürgen is wearing the infamous pajama top with a wind breaker. Yes, the pajama top with the ENORMOUS crest.   Yes, this shirt!

Never knowingly underbranded... (usatoday.com)

Never knowingly underbranded… (usatoday.com)

[JV’s Note:  This shirt was so ridiculous in person that I sent it back to Nike when I ordered pre-release.]

Back to the scene: Enya, pajama top, sea breeze tousling a USMNT head coach’s hair, a lonely leaf of kale on an otherwise empty plate. And a list. Jürgen is checking off his list and sees the following:

  1. Top college player*
  2. MLS Rookie sensation
  3. Hat trick vs. Red Bulls in NY
  4. Hard working local kid playing for his local team
  5. Humble kid, no ego, team player
  6. Sensational on corner kicks, confident on set pieces
  7. A marauding midfielder (I just like how that sounds)
  8. Great name = great chant & great t-shirts (look them up yourselves!)
  9. Hit “rookie wall”
  10. After reaching point 9, completely ignore points 1-8 (citation: Jürgen’s mind, rule 1,450)

Consume that last kale leaf. Job done.

[* JV’s note:  As a Michigan State graduate, it is extremely difficult for me to like anyone from Notre Dame, but Harry’s a class act and a great all-around person.]

A salad. Enya and sea breeze not included. (foodnetwork.com)

A salad. Enya and sea breeze not included. (foodnetwork.com)

In other words, it’s very possible that Klinsi may think Harry is 90% ready for a call up but because Harry hit a bit of rookie wall that 90% of rookies hit (I just made up that statistic), Jürgen deemed Harry “unready” to join camp.

I don’t mean “unready” in the sense of unprepared or uncommitted, as Klinsmann may have felt was the case with Landon Donovon.  Rather, I’m simply chalking this one up to Jürgen-being-Jürgen. If I think too much about this, it won’t make any sense.

I trust that Harry thinks the same way, as he deserves the call up for all of the reasons set forth above. I understand that many of these points don’t translate into a call up, but what does these days?

In Jürgen I trust, but after the Landon debacle which sent the team to Brazil without a backup for Altidore, I’m scratching my head and don’t really have an answer to explain Harry’s omission, other than my made-up scenario.

Nonetheless, don’t worry: Harry will be there soon enough. And we Fire fans are going to have one hell of a time chanting “Holy Shipp, Holy Shipp” when he scores for the USMNT.

Some day soon, Harry, some day soon... (mlssoccer.com)

Some day soon, Harry, some day soon… (mlssoccer.com)

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Have your say in the comments!

Or knock on our Twitter door: @OTFSoccer

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Follow OTF contributors @owengoal@roblthom66, and @jvlaha.To join the next roundtable, contact OTF’s USMNT editor, Austin Fido@canetop.

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