Monday, November 19, 2012
The Chicago Fire’s Austin Berry was named the MLS Rookie of the Year on Monday, capping a remarkable season that saw the former member of the Fire’s PDL side become a permanent fixture in the club’s first team as it made its way to the MLS Playoffs.
Berry featured for the Fire PDL in 2010, appearing in all 16 regular-season contests for the side while scoring a pair of goals. Taken with the No. 9 selection of the MLS SuperDraft this past January, the former University of Louisville standout made his debut for the Fire on May 4 against Chivas USA. He made an immediate impact, scoring his first goal for the club, and became a fixture in the starting lineup for the remainder of the season, making 28 consecutive starts and scoring three goals.
Berry was part of a record-breaking Chicago Fire PDL draft group that saw 11 players selected in January’s MLS SuperDraft. The first player selected of the group, Berry had other former teammates such as Los Angeles Galaxy defender Tommy Meyer and Montreal Impact midfielder Calum Mallace also put in solid rookie seasons.
Berry won more than 50 percent of the vote in both the club and media voting for Rookie of the Year, and was also the top vote-getter among players. D.C. United’s Nick DeLeon finished second, while the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Darren Mattocks finished third and Toronto’s Luis Silva, a former standout for the Orange County Blue Star, took fourth.
Berry follows in the footsteps of 2011 Rookie of the Year C.J. Sapong of Sporting Kansas City, who spent time with Reading United in the PDL before making the jump to the professional ranks. Other former PDL players to have claimed the award include the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Sean Franklin and former New England Revolution defender Michael Parkhurst.