Photo by John Geliebter/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
After spending the last few months in limbo, Austin Berry is set to embark on a new adventure, one that will take him halfway across the world from his previous home with the Philadelphia Union.
Berry is set to join FC Anyang of South Korea’s K League Challenge on loan from the Union and will join up with his new team Wednesday, one month ahead of the start of the K League season. The move for Berry comes after an offseason-long search for a new club, which included a training stint with the New York Cosmos that failed to produce a deal.
The 26-year-old centerback, who was recognized as MLS Rookie of the Year in 2012, told SBI that the process “moved pretty quickly” and that he has no hard feelings with regards to how things ended with the Union. Although he has never been to Asia, Berry is looking forward to the new experiences that come with a move abroad.
“I always thought soccer would be something that would take me on a little bit of an adventure, take me out of my comfort zone and into a different culture,” Berry told SBI. “Over the last few months, I didn’t know where it would take me.
“People have been asking me if I’m nervous at all, but since it’s been brought up, I’ve been really excited about it,” he added. “I’m really eager to get over there and I want to embrace it as much as I can, learn the culture, learn the language and kind of build a future for myself.”
That future begins with the move to South Korea. Berry played just six games last season for the Union in a campaign that was marred by injuries, but the centerback is looking forward to getting a chance to prove that he can remain healthy for the long haul.
“I’m just focusing on taking it one day at a time right now,” Berry said. “Nothing’s really going to happen for me if I don’t stay healthy and have a good year. I’m really going to embrace this experience and I can really see myself staying overseas for a long time now. It’s a good situation and I like it. I’m not looking at it as a stepping stone. I’m looking at it as a possible permanent stop for me.
“I’ve just got to get some games back under my belt. I want to go in, compete, earn my spot on the team, get some games in and show what I can do and see where it takes me over there.”
What do you think of Berry’s move? See it as a good one for his career, or wish he would have stayed in MLS?
Share your thoughts below.
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true professional in Chicago, thought it was a horrible decision on Yallup’s part on letting Austin go. Thought with the right coaching he would be on the radar of national team. Sad to to see him go, hope he proves everyone wrong!
I completely saw this coming.
You mean you com-preet-ree saw it coming.
Do we just post stupid, racist drivel on this site now? Is that what SBI has become?
Lighten up Frances! Have you ever seen Blazing Saddles? It’s good laugh once in a while.
To answer your question,…apparently SBI has become home to left wing politically correct fools who want to find racism and hate in every word anyone utters or writes and spend all day debating it. Who are you? Eric Holder?
SBI has always been this way.
No idea why MLS teams won’t sell players, but keep loaning them out.
It’s like Pokemon – gotta catch them all!
I think this is the path a lot more mls teams should take. Moves like this give your lower tier players a chance to play and if they become valuable to the loaned team they can be sold on. The usl connection is outstanding but this kind of move could fill those gaps that the usl partnership doesn’t cover.
Sending a guy 12,000 miles away to play in the Korean second division? Doesn’t sound like much of a game plan to me.
He burned his bridges with the Union, and then went public about his issues with the team and destroyed his trade value in MLS. This is more about getting him out of the locker room than anything.
Neal, this guy never burned any bridges. I don’t know what “issues” you are talking about, do you? He wants to play. And he did not destroy his trade value; other teams tried to acquire him. This guy’s a team player and a professional – he was NOT a problem in the locker room.
Gutsy move, S. Korea is a notoriously racist country, but he is white and so he might be treated as a king of sorts.
South Korea is a homogeneous society just like Japan. I would say it would have to do more with ignorance than racism.
Interesting. While decrying South Korea’s supposed racism, ted manages to be racist himself.
Ted is good at that.
Can we not bring up racism? I visit this site to escape the nonsense. Just read an article by a female African American professor at Howard University claiming that when Patricia Arquette said “we” during her acceptance speech at the Oscars, she didn’t mean to include women of color,…because everybody is racist. (Washington Post) OMG!!!
I disagree with President Obama’s policies,…so I’m racist. I enjoy watching Luis Suarez play soccer,…so I’m racist. I went to Korea,…their all racist. All Chelsea supporters are racists,……no,…wait,…
Korean 2nd division!!! Not too long ago this guy was talked about in regards to the national team.
… maybe he’ll be on JK’s RADAR since he’s no longer playing domestic football.
Big Chicago Fire fan and I’m heading back to Korea to live there for the second time, so I’m happy for the opportunity to see a Yank and former cf97 guy playing in the country. K League Challenge is the second tier though, so it’s going to be a bit difficult to watch games. The K League’s first division (Classic) is a step below MLS, but still a damn decent league. If he has a decent showing, he could easily get transferred to a first division club as the defending is usually quite awful and a TON of teams could use a solid CB.
Is it that much lower than MLS?
South Korea seems to have a lot of players who play at a high level in Europe.
Criminally underrated comment.
if this move to S.Korea doesen’t work out for him I hear there is a lot of money in the banana stand * *
Cool. Different. I’d like to see some Americans in Australia and a few other leagues. A move like this paid off for Nguyen in Vietnam.
Impressed with his attitude. That’s a long way from home.
Can’t wait to see SOUTH KOREA on the next American’s Abroad post…
Also wondering if ex-Union play Garfan every gets mentioned on that post?
I’d be interested in hearing how this opportunity came about. There has to be some connection…
My guess: Berry’s agent. That’s usually the answer for strange moves like this.
Mark Rennie is a manager there now. He is going to the is Korean 2nd Division, btw.