MLS forward Miguel Berry joins SD Loyal on loan


Clueless about goals this summer, SD Loyal football club have found a potential cure.

Miguel Berry, who amassed 17 goals for the University of San Diego last year, has joined the first-year club on loan from Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew.

Berry said he looks forward to helping out on Saturday night in Irvine, where SD Loyal takes on Orange County SC in a 7 p.m. game that airs on The CW San Diego and ESPN +.

For the forward, whose new team has scored one goal in the last four games, this will be his first official game in nine months with USD, but he said “intense” scrums and exhibition games with Columbus had prepared it.

“I’ve been playing forward my whole life,” he said. “It’s something that comes naturally. It doesn’t take long to get home, that’s what comes naturally to me.

Berry was born in Spain to American parents. Playing youth football in Barcelona has served him well, he said.

At 6 and 7, for example, he played for a coach who focused on developing skills rather than winning. The coach played all the forwards at the back and all the defenders play at the top for an entire season to better understand the sport.

“We’ve lost 14 draws once,” Berry, whose family moved to Poway at the age of 8, said last year. “Parents here, you couldn’t do that. They would go crazy. They want to win. But he taught us the game, to keep the ball, not to force it forward. I remember this game because it was such a special experience and you realize how much you learn from these experiences.

His development under the guidance of young San Diego coaches, Gene Morris of Poway High and Seamus McFadden and Brian Quinn of the USD, would draw the top men’s league in the US in January, when Columbus drafted him seventh overall.

In crew practices, according to the team’s website, Berry beat a second-year forward who was the club’s top signing in 2019 – but the rookie has not played seven MLS games this season, Columbus agreed to loan him to second-tier United Soccer League San Diego.

Berry called it “frustrating” not to participate in MLS games, but said he had “grown tremendously” with the crew, whose points total in seven games led MLS to 26 teams. . On the attack, Columbus has one of the best tandems in the league: Fanendo Adi, 29, owner of 55 goals in MLS; and Gyasi Zardes, 28, whose US national team record includes 12 goals. Reserve forward Jordan Hamilton, 24, totaled seven goals with the crew last year.

The return to San Diego rewarded Berry in a familiar way – “I’m excited about the return of my ‘Taco Tuesday’,” he said – but with family members having moved, it’s not. really a homecoming, even though the USD stadium home of SD Loyal matches.

“It’s about the chance to grow and to contribute,” Berry said.

He said he was lucky to learn from Donovan. In turn, the former MLS star said Berry “has all the tools to be a top striker in this country.”

SD Loyal’s only goal in the last four games, in a 3-1 loss on Saturday, was from another former MLS designated top midfielder Carlos Alvarez, 29.

With seven games to go, the club Donovan (3-4-2) is fourth in its five-team division, two places behind Orange County (4-1-2).

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