Despite trip, Berry ready to plant his feet in Chicago

Austin Berry’s Chicago Fire career didn’t exactly start on the right foot.

In fact, Berry took a tumble on the stairs while trying to get on stage to give his speech after the Fire selected him ninth overall in Thursday’s SuperDraft.

Fortunately, the Louisville center back recovered quickly from his misstep, successfully delivering his speech and joking around about the incident with reporters later in the afternoon.

“I was really, really excited,” Berry said on a conference call on Thursday. “I think I was too overly excited and on my first play as a Fire defender I tripped on the last step of the stairs.”

Berry is hoping he doesn’t repeat Thursday’s fall while on the field in 2012. The 23-year-old defender played with the Fire’s PDL squad and intermittently trained with the first team in the summer of 2010, giving him extra experience he feels will help him adjust to the pros.

He also spent five years with Louisville before draft fay finally arrived on Thursday.

“I don’t want to make a claim that I’m going to be starting from day one, but I’ve certainly had a good career and good experience that came with being [at Louisville] an extra year,” Berry said. “I bring good experience, I’ve been around the college game for a while, and I think it’s got me prepared for the league.”

One of the best parts of Berry’s game is his ability in the air. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound defender was lauded by some as the best header of the ball in the entire draft class and is good in front of goal, scoring 11 times in college.

“I’ve always prided myself on is being good in the air, not just defensively but on the attack, too,” he said. “I hope to bring a lot of experience and just be a good overall defender. Hopefully that makes up for the fact that I just tripped on the stage.”