Harry Shipp writes emotional goodbye to Fire fans

New Montreal Impact midfielder Harry Shipp has written an emotional goodbye to the fans of his former team, the Chicago Fire.

The 24-year-old midfielder, who was born in Lake Forest, Ill., was signed as a homegrown player two seasons ago, but was sent to Montreal on Saturday for both general and targeted allocation money.

The Fire struggled in both seasons, something that Shipp admitted made the trade even harder, in a letter was written after he spent hours trying to compose himself.

However, despite his disappointment, Shipp also said he is looking forward to the challenge in Montreal and “meet my new teammates, get to work, meet some of the fans, and do my best to learn a little French.”

The letter in full is below:

Dear Chicago,

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to put in words. The last few hours have been extremely hard for me.

When I was told out of the blue that I would no longer be a member of the Fire, I immediately broke down and started crying. It was totally shocking and overwhelming. This club and this city have meant everything to me. Not just for the past 2 years, but since I started following the Fire over 15 years ago.

I know this is a business and nothing is personal, but this is inherently personal for me. I went to games at Soldier Field, at the temporary stadium out in Naperville, and throughout the Blanco era at Toyota Park. I even went to practices at Lake Forest College whenever I could convince my mom to take me.

My passion in the past 2 years was to help make soccer relevant again in Chicago. This is what got me out of bed every single morning. I wanted to look back 10 years from now and be proud of how I was able to contribute to the growth of this club and its interaction with the city of Chicago.

I wanted to continue to be a role model for kids growing up playing soccer in Chicago. There was no single part of this job I liked more than being able to relate to these kids and give them a realistic end-goal to dream for.

Unfortunately all I was able to contribute was 2 of the statistically worst seasons in Fire history, and that genuinely breaks my heart more than you could imagine. I’m sorry that I was unable to do more for the city, because if anyone understands what this city deserves in a soccer club, it is me.

To my teammates and Fire staff over the past couple years: I loved being in the lockerroom and getting to know you outside the lockerroom every single day. It meant the world to me, and I’m grateful for it all. You will all be missed.

To Section 8 and all Chicago Fire fans: Thank you so much for everything you have given me over the past couple of years. Although I tried to remain focused during games haha, I truly appreciated every single cheer, sign, and t-shirt directed my way. I felt like I was part of your group. And that may be because I am one of you.

Heck my bedroom at my parents’ house is still covered wall to wall in signed Fire jerseys and memorabilia from when I was younger. I wish I could’ve gotten a chance to chat about soccer or Chicago or life with every single one of you. Please know I will always have a soft spot in my heart for you.

With this door closing, I am so grateful to the Montreal Impact and the city of Montreal for giving me this next opportunity in my career. Fortunately, I have a new outlet to direct my energy/focus and I plan on making the most of it.

I can’t wait to get to meet my new teammates, get to work, meet some of the fans, and do my best to learn a little French.

PS Just because my allegiance on the soccer field has changed doesn’t mean I’ve changed allegiances on Chicago sports. Go Cubs Go #worldseries2016. The Bears need Von Miller and Alshon. I believe in Fred Hoiberg over the long-term. And the Blackhawks need to keep doing the same thing they’ve been doing for 6 years. Goodbye for now.

Love, Harry

Dear, Chicago. Took some time to compose myself and write down my thoughts in the attached notes! pic.twitter.com/kH0gG67Bhm

— Harry Shipp (@championShipp11) February 13, 2016

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