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Fire plucks Louisville defender Austin Berry in MLS SuperDraft

AustBerry ninth player taken first round Major League Soccer SuperDraft by Fire takes podium after his selectiwas announced.  |

Austin Berry, the ninth player taken in the first round of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft by Fire, takes the podium after his selection was announced. | Shane Keyser~AP

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Updated: February 14, 2012 10:28AM

Austin Berry wants to reassure Fire fans that he is sure on his feet, despite a stumble when he walked on stage during the Major League Soccer ­SuperDraft in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday.

“First off, I’m really excited, and I think I was too overly excited, and I tripped on the last step of the stage,” Berry said. “I hope to bring a lot of experience and be a good overall defender. I’ve been envisioning this and working on it most of my life, and it’s breathtaking. But at the same time, I’m ­really excited and driven to be successful at this level.”

Berry, a 6-2 defender out of Louisville, was the ninth player chosen. He was one of three Louisville players selected in the first round, along with midfielder Nick DeLeon (seventh, D.C. United) and forward Colin Rolfe (18th, Houston Dynamo). Berry already signed a deal with MLS before the SuperDraft, but details of the contract were not disclosed.

Berry, 23, was a two-time All-Big East first-team selection. He played in 95 matches with Louisville, scoring 11 goals and adding five assists. He also has a history with the Fire as a member of the 2010 Fire Premier Development League team, and he impressed coach Frank Klopas at the MLS combine last week in Lauderhill, Fla.

In the second round, the Fire also selected forward Lucky Mkosana of Dartmouth, with the 23rd pick, and defender Hunter Jumper of Virginia with the 28th pick.

Creighton defender Andrew Duran — who is from Mokena and played for the Fire’s Premier Development League team last summer — went No. 15 to Seattle. He graduated from Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort and also played in the Chicago Magic youth soccer program.

At Lincoln-Way East, Duran, now 22, was the Illinois player of the year and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s national high school player of the year.

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