Sooooo...Atletico Madrid apparently likes the Chicago Fire's young defenders.
The Men in Red announced this morning that 2012 Rookie of the Year Austin Berry will spend two weeks training with Atletico Madrid from November 25 to December 9.
Berry will join second-year defender Jalil Anibaba, who is there until December 2.
A couple of thoughts:
- It's good to see the two clubs partnering on what appears to be a meaningful level. Occasionally these partnerships will only consist of vague links, such as "exchanging training techniques" or meeting up once a year. So this seems like more than that. Which is nice.
- I also wouldn't get too worried about the Spanish side looking to bring either player across the pond permanently quite yet. However, it is possible that if Berry or Anibaba continue to excel beyond an MLS level that Atletico could be a logical move. And hopefully it means some Spanish stars may be headed to Toyota Park sooner rather than later.
Here's the Club's full release:
CHICAGO, Ill. (Nov. 23, 2012) - The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Friday that defender and 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year award winner Austin Berry will train with Spanish La Liga side and 2012 Europa League Champions Atlético Madrid from Nov. 25 through Dec. 9.
"Austin has had a very productive first season and this trip allows him to continue to train and develop as we build toward the 2013 season," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "Our partnership with Atlético Madrid is invaluable to providing our players with these opportunities."
In 2011, the Fire formed a strategic alliance with Atlético Madrid, Club América and Sport Club Internacional and four others clubs on a total of five continents in an effort to bring clubs together in the spirit of creating synergy as it relates to the growth of soccer, on-the-field-and-off.
Berry is the second Fire player to train with Atlético Madrid this offseason. He will join fellow defender Jalil Anibaba, who is training with the Spanish side from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2.
In his rookie season, Berry started 28 consecutive MLS regular season games after making his debut May 4 against Chivas USA. The Cincinnati, Ohio native played every minute of every match in which he appeared, scoring three goals en route to 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year honors.
So what do y'all think about the announcement?