The Chicago Fire announced today that Notre Dame midfielder and ACC offensive player of the year, Harry Shipp, does officially count as a homegrown prospect per MLS guidelines. Shipp - currently finishing up the season with Notre Dame - was projected to be one of the higher picks in the 2014 Superdraft. but will now instead be able to sign directly with the Fire if the club extends him a contract.
An unknown team challenged the Fire's homegrown claim on the Notre Dame product. Apparently, the evidence of Shipp's time spent with the Fire Academy, PDL, and Super-20 sides was enough to have the club claim him as homegrown.
For the Chicago Fire, this is great news. The ability to sign a player who significantly raised his game in the college ranks without having to be lucky on draft day is something that the club should take advantage of immediately. If the club does sign Shipp, it would be like getting two top-ten picks in this year's draft. The ability to pay him a decent salary without having it count against the cap is another piece of good news, as he could possibly play a significant role for the club for years to come.
There still remain two questions, though: Will the club extend an offer? And, would he then accept it, or would he bolt for Europe?
In my opinion, if he is the type of player that is needed on this team, than I say yes, go for it. Here is another "Chicagoan" that you can add to the roster, just like you did with Magee. In terms of Shipp's likely response, only the player can answer that. Even if he does go try his luck in Europe, his rights will still be held by Chicago if he chooses to come back at some point. But I would expect the club to sign him before the start of training camp.