Fire's Shipp selected for 2015 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game


Fire's Shipp selected for 2015 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game

Chicago Fire midfielder Harry Shipp was one of 22 players selected for the 2015 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game, the league announced Monday.

Shipp, who signed with the Men in Red on Jan. 9, 2014, is making his second straight appearance after earning a call-up to play in last year's inaugural event. LA Galaxy and U.S. national team legend Landon Donovan will coach the MLS Homegrowns, who will face Club América's Under-20 side at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., on Tuesday, July 28 at 8 p.m. CT as a preamble to the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game the following evening.

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A member of the Fire Academy from 2009-10, the Lake Forest, Ill. native became the first Homegrown player to appear in a MLS match for the Fire when he started against the Portland Timbers on March 16, 2014. Shipp, who notched seven goals and a team-leading six assists in 33 matches last year, finished a close second in Rookie of the Year voting, losing out to FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele.

In 2015, the Notre Dame standout has started all 19 league games for the Fire, playing a total of 1,662 minutes and logging two goals and five assists in the process, earning MLS Team of the Week honors to boot.    

2015 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Roster

Goalkeepers (2): Matt Lampson (Columbus Crew SC), Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas)

Defenders (6): Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Eric Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy), Tyler Turner (Orlando City SC)

Midfielders (10): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake), Jay Chapman (Toronto FC), Sean Davis (New York Red Bulls), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union), Memo Rodriguez (Houston Dynamo), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Harry Shipp (Chicago Fire), Ben Swanson (Columbus Crew SC), Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Alex Zendejas (FC Dallas)

Forwards (4): Coy Craft (FC Dallas), Kianz Froese (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal Impact), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes) 

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

After failing to qualify to play in this summer’s World Cup, the United States’ pain was alleviated on Wednesday morning after earning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

But why is this bittersweet for Chicagoans?

Even though the World Cup will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada in eight years, matches will not be played in Chicago.

The city chose not to be one of the potential hosts of the world’s largest sporting event, despite using Soldier Field as a venue for the 1994 World Cup.

One of the reasons could be the low seating capacity of Chicago’s historic stadium. Soldier Field would be the second smallest spot out of any World Cup host option, seating only 61,500. The massive competition also draws enormous crowds, possibly causing logistical concerns for a highly-populated place like Chicago.

Ten out of 17 different cities in the United States will be gifted the opportunity to host 2026 World Cup games. The list includes Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium) and Nashville (Nissan Stadium), which are the closest domestic locations to Chicago.

The bright side is that fans from the Midwest won’t have to travel very far to see a match. For bigtime soccer fans in the Chicago area, having the chance to attend world-class matches in United States could be exciting enough.

Out of the 80 games taking place in 2026, 60 of them will be located in the United States.

Can this bid with Mexico and Canada at least help the relevancy of U.S. Soccer in the Chicago area?

The U.S. men’s national team missed this year’s World Cup at a very unideal time, just when it seemed like the sport of soccer was gaining more and more popularity in the United States.

Plus, the United States might not even get an automatic bid to play in their own World Cup as hosts.

But becoming a member of the first trio in FIFA history to host the World Cup, coupled with the expanded 48-team field in 2026, could help the United States retain the fans they have across the nation and around Chicago.

The World Cup might not be coming to the Windy City, but Chicagoans will still have something to be excited about in 2026 with games being played right around the corner. If the U.S. can qualify for the upcoming World Cups, having the tournament in North America will be much sweeter.

Until then, the 2018 World Cup kicks off this Thursday night in Russia.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?


Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.

OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet. 

From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.

Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.