The Philadelphia Union traded for Austin Berry before the 2014 season but a hamstring injury limited him to just six games. Berry then plied his trade in South Korea for a season. Berry is back in the states these days playing for the red hot USL franchise FC Cincinnati. The Union Deux caught up with Berry to get his thoughts on his days with the Union and how things are shaping up in Ohio.
What was your first thought when you heard you were coming to play for the Union?
First thought was surprise/shock. I was running out for a preseason training with Chicago fire and the staff stopped me and said I was traded. I couldn’t say goodbye to any of the guys because I had to catch a flight to meet up with the Union. The whole organization was very welcoming when I arrived and helped me in the transition
Do you still have friends in the team?
Most of the guys that I spent the majority of time with have moved on but there are several guys still there that I keep tabs on
How do you feel about the SOB’s?
Definitely up there with supporters in regards to passion for the game and their team getting results. They expect a winning product on the field
What’s your fondest memory of your time in Philadelphia?
I think the first home game was a fun memory even though I had to leave injured. But I would say there’s so many more memories from there. The team was much closer in age/distance in the city that we were always hanging out. I miss that.
Who was the biggest prankster on the Union?
Battle between Mo and Fred I would say
How often do you make it back to Philly?
I have not been back there yet.
FC Cincinnati’s average attendance is higher than most MLS teams, why do you think?
I think the city has just been yearning for something new. I grew up here in the ups and downs of Reds and Bengals, so the aspect of it being exciting and new attracted a lot of people. Secondly I would just say it’s a good example of the growth of soccer in the country. There’s a huge population of youth soccer in Cincinnati and that creates a good base for our fan base. Also the casual or non-soccer fans are becoming more involved. I think the atmosphere of the stadium, constant action and shorter duration of a game are driving more and more fans to us.
Is FC Cincinnati ready for MLS?
That is something that is out of our hands. That would be great if we get the bid. Obviously a lot goes into those decisions so all we can do as players is continue improving as a team and continuing with community outreach. Controlling stuff that we can actually control.
Is there anything you would like to say to the Union fans?
I would just say try and keep positive and help push the boys on. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Players definitely feed off of the fans’ energy and all you need is a couple results to grow momentum to go on a run. Once in the playoffs it’s a whole new season. I wish them the best of luck.