Well he wasn’t the flashiest player in this year’s MLS SuperDraft but as today’s Rookie of the Year announcement has shown, Austin Berry was the most MLS-ready player selected back in January.
His success this season also confirms the club’s ability to use the annual selection process to its benefit.
A look at Frank Klopas’ first choice lineup this year shows a strong draft history. Four of the starters (Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Sean Johnson and Patrick Nyarko) were selected in the last five SuperDrafts.
Berry, Anibaba and Johnson have all entrenched themselves as regular starters on the backline while Nyarko has been the club’s most consistent player, leading the team in assists each of the past three seasons.
Going back a bit further, the Fire struck gold late in the 2005 draft, selecting both Chris Rolfe (29th overall) and Gonzalo Segares (35th overall) in the third round. In those selections, the club found its second all-time leading goal scorer and one of the best left backs in Major League Soccer.
Harkening back to the 2003 Draft, the Fire picked up midfielder Logan Pause, also in the third round (24th overall).
Currently the longest tenured player for any MLS team, the 10-year Fire veteran just finished his second season as club captain and sits second on the team’s all-time appearance list with 304 games played.
In total, the seven players featured here have played in 63,024 minutes across 1011 competitive matches, scoring 81 goals and 84 assists for the Fire.
Not a bad haul through the SuperDraft…