Standout defender led Sporting KC to one MLS Cup victory and three U.S. Open Cup titles; MLS honors include five All-Star and two Best XI inclusions; Besler appeared in 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and has earned 47 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team and won two CONCACAF Gold Cups
AUSTIN, Texas - - Austin FC, the 27th club in Major League Soccer (MLS), announced today that the Club has acquired free agent defender and former Sporting Kansas City Captain Matt Besler. Per League and Club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Besler, a five-time MLS All-Star and 2014 FIFA World Cup performer, becomes Austin FC’s 17th acquisition ahead of the Club’s inaugural season in 2021.
“We are pleased to add a proven defender to the squad that fits the profile we are looking for in a player. Matt’s unique blend of leadership and competitive experience is valuable combination of strengths, and we are excited to have him continue his career in Austin,” commented Austin FC Sporting Director, Claudio Reyna. “We welcome Matt to Austin and look forward to his many contributions to the Club.”
“I’m ecstatic about this opportunity,” said Besler. “After playing in MLS for so many years, I can’t help but feel excited to join an ambitious project with Austin FC. I’ve seen amazing things from Austin’s fanbase already, and I truly look forward to playing in front of them.”
Besler (pronounced BEEZ-ler) joins Austin FC after playing12 consecutive seasons with Sporting Kansas City (2009-20), where he led the club to one (1) MLS Cup championship (2013) and three (3) Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles (2012, 2015, 2017). The five-time MLS All-Star (2011, 2013-16) was appointed Captain of Sporting KC in 2014 and is the first player in Club history to record 348 appearances (337 starts) across all competitions, while leading the Club in regular-season appearances (294) and starts (285). Besler has made 18 appearances (18 starts) in the MLS postseason, 20 appearances (18 starts) in USOC play and 16 appearances (16 starts) across CONCACAF Champions League and SuperLiga competitions.
The native of Overland Park, Kansas, earned MLS Best XI honors twice (2012-13). Besler was also named MLS Defender of the Year and MLS Breakout Player of the Year in 2012 after being selected in the 1 st Round (#8) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft from the University of Notre Dame, where he received All-American and Academic All-American honors as a senior.
Internationally, Besler has represented the United States Men’s National Team 47 times (44 starts) since debuting in January 29, 2013. Besler was part of the U.S. squad that won the 2013 and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup titles. Besler, who becomes the first Austin FC rostered player to have featured in a FIFA World Cup, played in all four (4) USMNT matches (four (4) starts) at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, helping the U.S. advance to the Round of 16 in the tournament. Additionally, Besler represented the U.S. in the 2017 CONCACAF Confederations Cup and the 2016 CONMEBOL Copa América Centenario.