SBI MLS Rookie of the Year: Austin Berry

SBI MLS Rookie of the Year: Austin Berry

SBI MLS Awards

SBI MLS Rookie of the Year: Austin Berry

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

The 2012 MLS Draft class was a strong one, but the cream of the rookie crop was easy to sort through when the regular season came to a close. Nick DeLeon became an integral part of D.C. United’s impressive run to the playoffs and Matt Hedges stepped in to an injury-hit FC Dallas defense and enjoyed a standout rookie campaign.

Then there was Austin Berry. A steady force in the central defense for the Chicago Fire, Berry was an integral part of the Fire’s run to the MLS playoffs. A dominant figure in the air, Berry’s poise and consistency made him the perfect centerback partner for German veteran Arne Friedrich.

The Louisville product played every single minute of the Fire’s final 28 games, recording three goals and providing a reliable presence in the back-line for a Chicago side that was challenging for first place in the Eastern Conference until the final weeks of the regular season.

Berry beat out a strong field of contenders for the honor. Here is a rundown of the runners-up:

NICK DELEON

Started the season in strong fashion, looking early on like he might run away with the award before eventually hitting a rookie wall in mid-season. Finished the regular season on a roll, and wound up with six goals and four assists.

MATT HEDGES

Another rookie who started out on the bench before establishing himself two months into the season, Hedges made 22 consecutive starts for FC Dallas, scoring three goals and emerging as a skillful centerback with a bright future.

DARREN MATTOCKS

For a two month stretch in the middle of the season, Mattocks looked like he would emerge to run away with the Rookie of the Year award, scoring seven goals in those two months. He couldn’t keep up that torrid pace though and faded late in the year.

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There were plenty of other impressive rookies in MLS in 2012, from Connor Lade to Luis Silva, but the four players mentioned above stood out the most and none enjoyed as strong a rookie season as Austin Berry, SBI’s pick for 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year?

What do you think of our selection? Which rookie impressed you the most in 2012?

Share your thoughts below.

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