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Men’s Soccer: Shipp embraces new role as captain

By Isaac Lorton | Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Three senior captains will lead the No. 7 Irish as they charge into ACC play.

Two of these captains are vocal defenders who are the heart of a staunch Irish defense, but the other member of the trio is a silent forward who leads by example.  

Senior Harrison Shipp does not say much, but when he does, his words do not go unnoticed. 

“[Shipp is] a phenomenal player, he’s one of the best players I’ve ever had in the program,” Clark said. “You know, being a captain is something new for him, but he’ll be a very good captain. He’s one of these quiet captains. He doesn’t say much, but when he does speak, everybody listens. That’s who he is.”


A man of few words, Shipp said he prefers to allow his play to lead the team. 

” I think those two guys, [defenders] Grant [Van De Casteele] and [Andrew] O’Malley, are a little more vocal and outspoken as a leader than I am, but I think on the field, actions speak louder than words,” Shipp said.

In three seasons, Shipp has yet to miss a game. He said his teammates feed off of his consistency, dedication and competitiveness. 

“I like to compete,” Shipp said. “I’ve had a lot of small injuries. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have any significant injuries. We’ve had some guys tear their ACLs and stuff, which is always incredibly sad. I think just not ever wanting to miss a game, it shows teammates that I do want to play every game, no matter how hurt or sore I am.”

Shipp was an integral part of the Notre Dame offense last season, playing alongside former Irish midfielder Dillon Powers and forward Ryan Finley. Both Powers and Finley were drafted in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, leaving Shipp as the anchor of the new offensive attack. 

 “One thing we wanted to focus on going into this year is not replacing [Powers and Finley], because they were two great players who are doing well in the pros now,” Shipp said. “So we implemented a new style where we’re more fluid and everyone in the attack interchanges, and I think it will help us be harder and more unpredictable for other defenses to stop.”

One of the best defenses in the country last season, all of the backline starters will return to the Irish.  Shipp said Notre Dame’s new offense would not impact the team’s dominant defense.

“I think our defensive shape kind of starts with the forwards, so getting that organized and helping them defend our own goal from the front, that really helps the whole team succeed,” Shipp said.

Shipp collected numerous accolades after last season, including third team All-Big East, second team All-Great Lakes Region and Academic All-American honors, as well as a Scholar All-American award.  Despite the individual awards, Shipp said he wants to have the whole team improve this season.

“Hopefully, we take the program to the next level,” Shipp said. “I think as a whole senior class and as a team, we talked about wanting to elevate the program to be a consistent threat for the national championship. Last year was a big stepping-stone for us, because the year before, we didn’t make the tournament, and I think last year we honestly felt that we were the best team in the country, and could have easily won a national championship. So I think this year, [we want to] build on that, and hopefully elevate the program to be consistently ranked in the top one, top two in the country.”

Shipp said music puts him in the right mindset before games, but he doesn’t listen to the typical pregame music one would expect.

“I like to listen to music that’s a little different than what people would usually consider pump-up music,” Shipp said.  “Last year I picked Taylor Swift, and I listened to Taylor Swift before every game. … This year I haven’t decided, but I’m going to pick one artist and listen before every game. But I haven’t decided that. I’ll decide before Friday.”

On Friday in Bloomington, Ind., Shipp will pick a new artist and then quietly lead the Irish against UCLA. 

Contact Isaac Lorton at ilorton@nd.edu