MLS Ticker: Shipp sails into retirement, Najar announces LAFC move, and more

MLS Ticker: Shipp sails into retirement, Najar announces LAFC move, and more

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MLS Ticker: Shipp sails into retirement, Najar announces LAFC move, and more

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Harry Shipp is retiring from Seattle Sounders FC after a seven-year career capped off with a 2019 MLS Cup championship.

“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,” said Shipp. “I am grateful that I was able to live out my childhood dreams.”

The 28-year-old recorded 164 appearances for Seattle, the Montreal Impact, and Chicago Fire FC. He finishes his career with 22 goals and 24 assists in MLS competition. Ship is also an AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year finalist, 2013 NCAA champion with the University of Notre Dame, a MAC Hermann Trophy finalist, and NSCAA First Team All-American.

The Seattle midfielder also served as Sounder FC’s MLS Player’s Union representative, helping negotiate the agreement to return to play after COVID-19

Shipp is now pursuing an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management with the ultimate goal of running an MLS club.

Najar confirms LAFC move

Andy Najar formally announced his move to Los Angeles FC on Tuesday, taking to Twitter to officially unveil himself as the newest acquisition for the Supporters’ Shield winners.

The 27-year-old Honduras international is expected to compete for minutes at right back and right wing this season. The acquisition represents an opportunity for Najar to revive a career that has been derailed by injuries in recent years.

Najar began his career in MLS, as a homegrown player for D.C. United. He won MLS Rookie of the Year honors in 2010 before moving on to Anderlecht in January 2013, Najar represented Honduras at the 2014 World Cup.

Impact extend Lappalainen loan spell

Finnish winger Lassi Lappalainen, on loan from Italian club Bologna FC 1909, will continue playing for Montreal until December 31, 2020. Since joining the squad in July, he has started eight times, scored five goals, and recorded one assist in 12 MLS games.

“We are really pleased with Lassi’s loan extension and we’re happy to have him stay with us,” said Impact Sporting Director Olivier Renard. “He is the type of player with a profile we like in our roster, meaning a young player with huge potential. He showed his qualities in MLS since last July and we put a lot of trust in him. Lassi feels good in this city and wanted to remain in this club.”

Lappalainen has an abundance of experience representing his former club, HJK Helsinki, in the UEFA Champions League. He also helped Finland qualify for Euro 2020 by playing in five qualifiers.

Stam holds first training with FC Cincinnati

Only three weeks remain until the opening whistle in Orlando, but Jaap Stam is just getting started. The new FC Cincinnati head coach was appointed on May 21, but was unable to enter Cincinnati from the Netherlands due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to do a lot of work to be as strong as we can for the tournament,” Stam said. “We need to do a little bit of everything. We don’t have a lot of time to prepare, of course.

“In preseason, normally you’ve got six or seven weeks, at least. Now it’s a lot shorter.”

FCC fired its previous head coach, Ron Jans, just before the regular season. Yoann Damet, one of Stam’s assistants now, filled in as the interim coach for the first two games of the season.

Stam is most well-known for his uncompromising personality and playing style, as well as his playing stints with PSV, Manchester United, Lazio, and the Dutch national team. He has coached for Reading FC, PEC Zwolle, and Feyenoord in recent years.

Trio of teams announce Homegrown contracts

The Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, and Seattle Sounders have been busy signing up-and-coming talent through Homegrown Player contracts.

Juan Castilla is the newest Dynamo signing. The 15-year-old is the youngest-ever Dynamo Homegrown player, and was part of the U-17 Dynamo squad that qualified for the Generation adidas Cup Final earlier this year.

The Impact finalized two deals of their own on Wednesday. Keesean Ferdinand and Tomas Giraldo both represented Canada at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil last year.

The Seattle Sounders signed Josh Atencio and Ethan Dobbelaere. Atencio has started 23 times for Tacoma Defiance (Seattle’s affiliate) in the USL. Dobbelaere has called Seattle home for six years, and started against the Netherlands in the U-17 World Cup last year.

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