This time around we are going to take a different approach. Instead of doing a profile on a SuperDraft prospect, we are going to do a profile on potential Homegrown Player Chris Ritter, who is a midfielder at Northwestern University. Potential Homegrown player Harrison Shipp has been getting a lot of press lately, but Ritter is a prospect for the Fire who has just as much upside.
Name: Chris Ritter
College: Northwestern University
Height/Weight: 6'2"/190 lbs.
Chris Ritter hails from Winnetka, Illinois and attended New Trier High School where he won two state championships in 2006 and 2008, scoring the game winning goal as a senior. Ritter had options of going to other colleges like Michigan, Wisconsin and Colgate, but instead opted to stay local and attend Northwestern University.
Ritter is a fifth year senior at Northwestern. In 2012, Ritter had a breakout year for Northwestern in central midfield as he started every single game for the Wildcats and lead them to a second consecutive Big Ten Championship. Along the way he scored five goals and notched six assists, both career highs.
Ritter returned for his fifth season in 2013 and duplicated his 2012 performance. In his final two seasons alone, Ritter appeared and started in 42 games, logged 3,932 minutes, scored 10 goals and was credited for 11 assists. Ritter has essentially been the engine in the Northwestern for the past two season..
Early on in the 2013 season, Ritter was listed as one of the potential MAC Herman Trophy candidates by TopDrawer Soccer, just behind his Fire Academy cohort, Harrison Shipp:
The numbers don’t look great for Ritter with only two goals (one from a penalty kick) this season, but he is the heart and soul of the Wildcats, which is quickly surging up the rankings after slipping up during the first week of the season. Ritter is third on the team in minutes, which is an impressive feat for a center midfielder in the physical collegiate game.
When a central midfielder is 6'2" and 190 lbs, he is probably the one who is making the college game physical.
On the most recent TopDrawer SuperDraft Big Board, Ritter was ranked at 58th.
SportsNight on the Northwestern News Network did a profile on Chris Ritter back in November. The two minute profile talks about his decision to return to Northwestern for a fifth instead of going pro and includes an interview with Larry Sunderland, who is Academy Director for the Chicago Fire.
The clip does not show a lot of highlights of Ritter playing, but it does showcase who Ritter is as a person, which is sometimes just as important. Ritter's decision to return to Northwestern to get a degree says a lot about his level of maturity. There are a lot of athletes in other sports who leave college as soon as they have a chance to turn pro.
Will The Fire Sign Him?
Chris would like to play professionally and would love to do it in his home town. The Fire seem to like what they see in Chris and offered him a spot on the team last year. It is hard to imagine that this won't happen. With Jeff Larentowicz already on the roster, the Fire could bring Ritter in and groom him for a season or two if needed.
Ritter already seems to have a good head on his shoulder, and with people like Larentowicz, Logan Pause and C.J. Brown working around him, he will have some great examples of leadership to emulate. I might be getting a little too far ahead of myself, but Ritter has the potential to become a fixture in the Chicago Fire's lineup and possibly even become captain one day.
Nothing in this world is guaranteed, but if the Fire don't sign him, it would be a pretty big disappointment.