Fire Defender Austin Berry Named Finalist for 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year Award
CHICAGO, Ill. (Nov. 15, 2012) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Thursday that rookie defender Austin Berry has been chosen as one of the three finalist for the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year award. The finalist were determined by votes from national media members and MLS players, technical staffs and front offices. A former Fire PDL player, Berry is the sixth player in Fire history to be nominated for the MLS Rookie of the Year Award, previously won by Carlos Bocanegra in 2000 and Damani Ralph in 2003.
Berry is joined by D.C. United midfielder, and college teammate at the University of Louisville, Nick DeLeon and Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Darren Mattocks as finalist for the award. The 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year Award winner will be announced Monday, Nov. 19.
Selected in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Berry joined the Fire after a standout collegiate career at the University of Louisville, where he led the Cardinals to the 2010 NCAA Men’s College Cup championship match and was named the 2010 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. While at Louisville, Berry was also named to the All-BIG EAST First Team in 2010 and 2011.
Berry made his professional debut when he started against Chivas USA May 4. With his goal in the 25th minute of the match, Berry became just the third rookie in Fire history and the first since 1998 to score in a debut MLS appearance.
Since his debut, Berry made 28 consecutive MLS Regular Season starts and played every minute of his 28 games, breaking the record of consecutive starts by a Fire rookie, previously held by Carlos Bocanegra, the 2000 MLS Rookie of the Year.
With three goals to his credit this season, including the game-winning header against Toronto FC Aug. 4, Berry tied with Gonzalo Segares for goals by a Fire defender.
The Cincinnati, Ohio native was an instrumental cog in the Fire defense that held opponents to just 41 goals this season, tied for second best in the Eastern Conference. In 2012, the Men in Red went 17-11-6 and earned 57 points, tied with the 2000 season for the highest point total in club history, and qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 12th time in the club’s 15-year history.
Berry started and went the full 90 minutes of the Fire’s 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Knockout match Oct. 31.